Do all and sundry in your family, even your grandmom, check and re-check online reviews on Amazon before making their online orders?
You bet they are!
The fact is, the entire world is maddeningly crazy about online reviews to the point that 97% of online customers read reviews before they make any kind of online purchases. In fact, it has become a kind of homework for customers to religiously check out reviews before they make any crucial purchase decisions.
Sure, if you’re already convinced of the importance of online reviews, skip this section and quickly jump on to 5 Unique Ways To Mine More Online Reviews for your business.
Here’s more for the Naysayers and Doubting Thomases
As you know, reviews are not all about customers and customers alone. Even businesses are desperate to mine as many online reviews as possible given the fact that positive online reviews help businesses send out positive feelers to Google that everything is well with your business. In other words, positive reviews have a positive impact on your local SEO rankings.
In fact, according to an article by Moz, Google and other search engines take into account 10% of your site’s online reviews to determine your website’s rank.
Moz also figured out that search engines factored in 3 critical signals such as Review Quantity, Review Velocity and Review Diversity to determine the search rankings of your site.
Sure enough, if Google wants to, it can easily help searchers find what they are looking for without taking into account online reviews. But then, Google also wants to ensure the products the searchers are looking for are worth their time and money, and so the best tool to help customers gauge a product’s worth are online reviews.
Why Are Businesses Betting on Online Reviews Like Never Before
Tell me something: When you type something into Google search and the results appear, where do you prefer to click first? Is it the one with zero reviews and no-star ratings or the one with 50 reviews and a 4.8-star rating? You know the answer, right?
Almost all industries out there, including hotels, restaurants, car rental businesses among many others, benefit from online reviews, which in turn help them attract potential customers.
Online reviews benefit local businesses regardless of the industry they belong to.
Let’s say you are looking for cake shops in California. So, you boot up your computer and start looking for “best cake shops in California,” and at once names of top shops offering the finest cakes pop up.
What can you make out from these results? As searchers, the first thing that draws our attention is Google’s orange stars. So, the more reviews a business receives or generates the better the star ratings, the more success they are likely to see.
Even Google wants business owners to get in touch with customers for online reviews.
There’s is just one problem, though: Generation of Positive Reviews.
Actually, it’s not so much about generation as it’s about convincing customers to leave their thoughts on your website, review sites and more.
So, how do convince your customers to leave positive online reviews?
Simple. Ask them.
Here are some 5 unique ways to request more positive online reviews from your customers:
#1. Track down Superfans from your own Customer Database
You knew it all along, right? That superfans or micro-influencers could prove to be the actual movers and shakers of your brand. That they are the ones who’d help you push all the right buttons. However, tracking down the right micro-influencers is not easy.
Okay. Before we dive deep into how to track down micro-influencers for product promotion, first we’ll take a sneak-peek into Tom’s of Maine case study – a brand that successfully harnessed the power of its superfans and Mavrck – a micro-influencer marketing platform – to boost its organic ratings and reviews.
To start with, Tom’s of Maine is a manufacturer of personal care products that are made from natural ingredients. Though the company tried its best to get the word out about its natural line of products through some amazing blogging programs such as Goodness Circle and all, things did not work out as planned for the company. Eventually, they decided to try out the micro-influencer model in association with Mavrck.
Of course, the model worked like magic.
Within a 4-week period Tom’s of Maine micro-influencers managed to garner 438 organic product reviews across 7 products in 3 top categories: oral care, body care and baby care. The endeavor resulted in a 4.64 average product rating and projected 30% sales lift for each product.
Today, Top’s of Maine has over 20,000 micro-influencers. The total reach of this community is 19 million.
Coming back to actual thing now:
Tips to track down the right micro-influencers from your customer data:
- Sketch out your Micro-influencer Persona: Yes, it’s the first and foremost thing that you need occupy yourself with because you need to be sure of the behavioral traits of your micro-influencer. Some of the basic things that you need to take into account, no matter what, are demographic data, motivations, content standards, social profiles and more.
- Track down your Micro-influencer from your Follower Folks: Once your demographic data is ready, compare it with your existing customer database to track down the right influencers. The customer database could include your social media following, email subscription list, CRM database and so on.
- Identify their Activation Areas: Once you have tracked down micro-influencers, the real work begins. That is to determine the action areas where micro influencers are really engaging with their fans and followers. This is critical because you’d want to connect with them via the channels they are accustomed to.
- Shoot an invite to the hired micro-influencers: Once you identified the right influencers, shoot them an invite saying that they are the chosen ones. Simply put, speak highly about them and their celebrity status as a micro-influencer and how their feedback could move heaven and earth for your brand. Sign it with an in-message survey or a link to the activation landing page.
- Verify their purchase history: Verify your micro-influencers’ purchase history to know whether they have purchased your most recent product, their favorite social media hang-out places, and their best medium/channels to communicate with them.
- Segment by Purchase History: If the influencers have purchased your target product(s), push them toward the next step, which is the product review. If they haven’t, send them a sample or a promo code or something similar that prompts them to check your product.
Once the micro influencers have used your product, request him or her to leave reviews on relevant sites and touchpoints all the same with a link to a review submission form at a distribution site.
Your promotional stuff should also include the relevant Instagram hashtags, which’ll help the influencers share the product images on popular social media channels.
Additionally, you could try sending some creative prompts that could help get their mind wheels churning. For instance, say “let your guards down for a sec folks and tell us right in our face – How did you feel about our product.” This could trigger a kind of excitement in the users and could get their brains racking.
However, it’s important to verify that your reviews and ratings are completed by the micro influencers. So don’t forget to put in a request to them saying that you’d want a screenshot of their postings.
As per human psychology, praise and feedback are proven motivators. So, without much ado, confirm the review completion process by shooting some positive emails in the form of:
- Thank You Notes: It could simply mean that their efforts have been noticed.
- First-knower advantage: Share with them some insider secrets in terms of a new product launch or insights about a new design. Also, use them as a sounding board for ideas.
- Shower rewards: Nope. You don’t have to make this into a pricey affair. A pro code or a sample of a new product will work.
#2. Short Case Study Videos – Straight from your Happy Customers’ Mouth
I know what you are thinking. Aren’t case studies supposed to be long, lengthy, lifeless pieces that drag on for pages and pages? No more. With video content being the new black, it’s best to direct your resources towards developing shorter case study videos on your happy customers.
In fact, several companies have come up with a dedicated section on video case studies. Just take a look at the HubSpot case study page. You will find several case studies in the video format.
In fact, the company has even experimented with shorter video versions dubbed “I HubSpot Because.” The company, via way of videos, has been raking in positive reviews by speaking informally to customers as to why they are using HubSpot. Is it to generate additional leads? To earn more? And things like that.
If developing videos around your customers seems to be a difficult thing for you, then just request your customers to speak 30 seconds straight or so, on how your product or service has influenced their personal lifestyle or business on their iPhones. Just one or two good things about your product and ask them to email it to you.
Tips to develop effective short video case studies
- Start by introducing your company via signage, logo, storefront, and personnel.
- Introduce the client to the next step. She could just start by saying, “I am so and so and running a company called so and so.” Then she could talk about her earlier life and how your business has helped turnaround her company.”
- Once she has finished speaking about the turnaround thing, the next best thing she could do is recommend your product to other people and how it could benefit them. And, how your company is over and above the competition in terms of quality and delivery.
If a client is genuinely happy with your product, then she could talk from her experience without a script. Such videos would be lot more fluid and loaded with unique details.
However, having an outline helps:
- Prior situation and the turnaround the product has
- Recommending the products to others
- Thank special people who were there with you throughout the entire product development cycle.
Capturing casual shots of your service-based personnel could make the testimonials really powerful.
#3. Set Up Google My Business Page
As it turns out, GMB ratings could get you more visitors on board than any other medium. How, you may ask? It’s because it helps build credibility in the eyes of Google, which in turn draws in more users. So, it goes without saying: motivate users to leave reviews. In fact, that should be your first step.
If you are still to figure out your GMB, don’t worry. Your business may already have a listing, so you might as well claim it. You can claim it here.
But then, ensure the information you enter here is 100% accurate and is in keeping with the information available on your site. Why? Because it helps Google connect your GMB profile with your website.
Additionally, you will need to verify your business account by email. For this, Google will send you a code via Gmail to make sure that it could access your email at this address.
Tips to GMB your business
- Complete your GMB profile as users will be interacting with it before leaving a review
- Include a good number of images, a long description and add keywords to the content and titles. Find your PlaceID and add it to this address:
- Incorporate this URL into your communications where your customers are likely to leave a review.
#4. Focus on Point-of-Sale
Your sales and customer support team are in constant touch with your customers more than anyone else in the company. Isn’t it? That makes the task of mining reviews from customers much, much easier, especially at the point of sale, because the customers are all piqued up at this point-in-time.
Your sales or the customer support team should intervene at this moment with a request for a review. According to Ted Paff, CEO of CustomerLobby, a review service, while speaking to Search Engine Land informed, “Comment card reviews solicited at the time of service see completion rates of 80-90%” vs. much lower rates for other forms of review solicitation.”
Tips to mine reviews during Point-of-Sale
- Attach comment card or customer feedback form with your contract form or receipt directing them to the online profile.
- Incentivize your sales and customer team
- Be candid while requesting reviews. Shyness doesn’t pay.
#5. Turn Negative Reviews into Positive Experiences
Sure, negative reviews sting. But then, you can’t ignore them right away, can you? For it might just snowball into a huge bonfire and get your online store razed to the ground, in no time.
So, by no means should you ignore negative reviews. Two most important reasons being:
- 51.7 percent of customers expect a response to their reviews in seven days or less
- 78 percent of consumers feel that a business responding to their reviews makes them believe that a business cares about them.
So, how should one respond to negative reviews? Simple – by acting positively. It might just win you one more crucial positive review, not to mention positive word-of-mouth publicity.
Tips to convert negative reviews into positive experiences
- Don’t ignore them. If possible, keep your ego aside and make things right even if it is not your mistake.
- A few negative reviews might help your review page look natural, not doctored.
- If the reviewer is just trying to stir things up for the heck of it by writing a negative review, just ignore him or her. They’ll get the message.
- In some cases, offer to discuss the complaint in private.
Customers are and were always the boss. But present day customers are more vocal and more cynical than ever before. If you are a smart marketer, you should know how to keep them happy without losing your stand altogether. Leverage the above-mentioned steps, in addition to the traditional steps to rake in more and more positive reviews.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.