As content marketers, we all know the value of what our former and current customers have to say about our product. In fact, we would all love to hear that our new customers reached us simply by word of mouth. However, in this digital age, the power of online reviews is often the first step in creating a relationship between the product and the potential buyer.
In fact, the extent to which these reviews are powerful is astonishing. According to a leading review survey conducted in 2014, “88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business”, “85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews”, “72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more”, and quite interestingly, “88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations“.
Therefore, determining how to best leverage customer reviews in order to drive new business is a critical topic in terms of on boarding new customers and maintaining positive ties with current loyal users.
Here are a few of our tips on how to best tackle this challenge:
Be active (think CTAs) on main review sites and forums
When it comes to online reviews, there is no better alternative than staying informed. You must be constantly engaged in the discussions surrounding your product or service to best address any issues and of course, to be able to effectively respond. For instance, if someone asks a specific question related to your product offering on Quora that then leads to a detailed thread with answers and customer reviews, you can respond appropriately with a quick answer that sums up the main benefits and include a recent external article that backs up your comment. This will provide you with two main benefits: credibility from a third party as well as an optimal opportunity to display a Call-to-Action. To get notified when your brand is discussed, there are plenty of services available that will readily send you alerts. These include Mention, IFTTT, and Google Alerts among many others.
Proudly display customer feedback on your website
You can use tolls like Qualaroo and empower customers to become your product ambassadors by providing space on your site to prominently display their testimonials. As this is often the first thing users notice when they visit your website, it is up to you to test out different positioning strategies for optimal exposure. For example, some websites choose to highlight these testimonials right on the homepage, usually in the form of short quotes. Meanwhile, others create a separate webpage to collectively list their reviews.
To give you some specific insights and some inspiration, take a look at how WordPress theme builder Themefuse displays their customer testimonials as you scroll mid-way down the page. Desk.com is another great example of how a company can prominently showcase testimonials on their website.
Turn a great review into a highlighted case study
With so many customers eager to write about products and share their knowledge and experience with other potential users, there are often opportune times to take advantage of such reviews and turn them into highlight case studies. These can then be featured on your company blog for increased exposure and to generate further credibility. In general, there are two ways to best execute this strategy: (1) Take a few customer quotes from a review and write out the case study from your point of view; (2) Let the customer become a guest offer and write his/her first-hand experience using your product/service. This latter option has become quite popular among content marketers, as a happy user can become a great product champion. To get you inspired, take a look at how event-tech startup Bizzabo teamed up with Marketo to create a winning post.
Share reviews on social media channels
Reviews can only drive new business if they are visible across various platforms. This visibility should extend well beyond general review sites, lists, and forums. In fact, a great content marketing strategy should include leveraging these reviews by prominently sharing them across leading social media channels. Not only will this strategy generate more exposure among your page followers, but can also become a campaign that will demonstrate that you truly care about what your customers have to say – as you should. To help drive new business, add a relevant call-to-action following the respective review/quote/testimonial in order to direct readers to your specific product webpage.
Ask your clients to post reviews on review sites
We know that our current customers can easily become our most trusted advocates and brand ambassadors, especially with the influence of social media and online reviews. Therefore, it’s quite natural to turn to happy customers and ask for them to submit online reviews. This strategy can be quite valuable, as it has significant potential to further help drive new business given that a third party you have already worked with and impressed, is positively discussing your brand and engaging with other users. Considering pointing current clients to well-respected sites such as TrustRadius and ProductHunt and don’t forget, these sites have plug ins/ add-ons / buttons that you can add to your site and seamlessly link to the review site, thus ensuring that people will know to go there to read a review.