Leveraging the Power of Customer Reviews to Drive Traffic and Sales
A company’s reputation can make or break it. Whether you run an online or offline business, managing your brand’s reputation is a core business principle that needs focus and attention. As an ecommerce merchant, did you know you can leverage the power of “reviews” to help manage your brand? According to Kudzu.com, a whopping 86% of consumers read online business reviews before making purchasing decisions. By putting a focus on managing reviews you can not only help your reputation, you can also drive more sales!
Understand the Impact Of Positive Reviews
Let’s start discussing the impact of positive reviews with the following scenario. You moved to a new town and want to find a new dentist. You go to Google and search for ‘dentists in Denver, CO’. Take a look at the screen shot below. Which of the following are you going to call?
You are most likely going to click on the listing with 78 reviews, read through them, and then click on the listing with 73 reviews, and read through those. It is also very likely that one of those two dentists will be getting your business as you have seen validation from many of their customers that they are indeed 5 star dentists.
Now think about the impact that positive online reviews can have on your ecommerce business. As stated above, 86% of consumers read online business reviews before making purchasing decisions.
Emphasize the Positive?
When choosing the online review sites you want your existing customers to use, start with the ones seen by the most potential customers. When someone searches for your company name online, chances are they will do so on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. When you search for a company on each of these search engines the very first listing usually contains a map and your business information. With these listings being seen by so many of your potential customers, this is precisely where you need to start getting customers to post their reviews! Then you need them to post reviews on popular review sites which rank highly for your company name. The most popular review sites are Yelp, CitySearch, InsiderPages, MerchantCircle and RatePoint.
Now let’s discuss how you can solicit positive reviews and comments on these listings. According to Jupiter Research, 42% of customers provided feedback only after being prompted by a retailer to do so. An effective way to get your customers to post reviews on these sites is to email your customers directly and ask them. This should be done after they have received their order. Be sure to thank them for their order, and then request that they leave a review of your company on the most relevant sites mentioned above. You might also consider creating three different emails each of which contain links to your business listings on three of the above review sites. You could then rotate them evenly so that you are building up positive reviews on all of the most popular review sites.
Prevent and Remedy Negative Reviews
According to research by Convergys Corp, one negative review can cost a company up to 30 customers. If the review appears at the top of the list when a potential client Google’s your company name, that number can increase greatly.
Following are a few ways you prevent negative reviews from hurting your company’s online reputation:
- Set up an account with a third-party complaint site such as GetSatisfaction, RatePoint or Merchant Circle. These three companies offer review solutions where you can control which reviews, whether positive or negative, are displayed publicly.
- Launch an online review solicitation campaign as we discussed above.
- Hire a Search Engine Reputation Management company to help you manage your company’s online reputation.
If you have existing negative reviews there are a number of things you can do to correct them. Most review sites allow you to respond to the review either publicly or privately. Some even allow you to delete any reviews you don’t want shown. You can hide the review by getting your satisfied customers to post reviews on the same site, or you can use a search engine reputation management company to suppress the negative listing entirely. You may be tempted to post fake positive reviews online, especially when you see a negative review about your company; however, doing so is both illegal and consumers generally see right through it. Not to mention that Yelp, CitySearch and Insiderpages have intelligent review algorithms in place that can usually identify “astroturfing” reviews by merchants and will automatically remove them.
Dealing with online customer reviews can be quite frustrating at times. However, it is now more important than ever to ensure that your company implements a plan on managing your online reputation. The bottom line is that in order to succeed on the web today, merchants need an effective strategy for dealing with customer reviews. If you don’t control what people read about you online, you risk tarnishing your company’s reputation which is certain to impact your bottom line.
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