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How to Use Customer Reviews to Your Business Advantage

Written by on August 28, 2017

It cannot be overstated how important customer reviews are for your small business. If you don’t believe me, check out BrightLocal’s 2014 survey results: 88% of customers treat online reviews the same as personal recommendations.

Eighty-eight percent!

That’s not a fluke either. According to a Dimensional Research study sponsored by Zendesk, 66% of all respondents reported reading online reviews before buying anything.

Those are big numbers, and that’s the difference between your business getting sales or not.

So to the question of whether or not you should be getting customer reviews for your business is easy to answer: yes!

Now, we’ll look at how you can use these reviews so that your small business will benefit the most.

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Just ask customers for reviews

The first thing to tackle is to make sure that you can get some quality reviews from your current customers.

That may sound difficult, but in fact it is not. BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey showed that 70% of consumers would be willing to leave a review if they were asked.

Therefore, in order to get your customer reviews, all you have to do is ask your customers for reviews. Easy, right?

Well, of course not. You just have to find the way to get the question to them. It can be on your website or blog. It can be in your brick-and-mortar store.

You can even put it on an invoice. As long as you get the question out to them, you should be able to get a good amount customer reviews.

One of the biggest secrets of getting customer reviews is to just ask
One of the biggest secrets of getting customer reviews is to just ask

And you don’t really need that many reviews. According to the same BrightLocal survey, 90% of consumers make up their mind to purchase after reading only 10 reviews or fewer.

Put customer reviews on your website and social media

Now that you’ve got your customer reviews, you need to display it proudly so that others may see them.

The others who you want to show the reviews to are your potential customers, so you should be putting up the reviews in places that they’re looking for reviews.

In this day and age there are two places: your Facebook page and your website.

Potential customers will either type your business name followed by “review” into Google or they’ll check out your Facebook page to see what the interactions are there. If they see negative comments or incidents, they will be turned off.

However, if they see a customer who’s had a problem and your business responding politely and professionally (and effectively), then that interaction will help convince them to buy.

That’s why you should ask your customers to leave reviews on your Facebook page so that others will easily see it.

You also need to put the reviews on your website, normally in the lower part (below the fold) of your homepage.

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Use social reviews to boost sales

Another reason to use social reviews (besides what’s mentioned above) has to do with trust.

I’m not the first person in the world to realize that customer reviews are crucial for increasing sales.

Many businesses have caught on to this fact, and those business owners can either be ethical or unethical.

By ethical I mean simply following the steps I’ve outlined so far. Get honest reviews from customers (without offering payment or reward) and use them in your marketing.

Unethical reviews are when business owners (or their marketers) decide to fabricate reviews.

These reviews have the same goal—to get customers to buy. However, they are often easy to spot, having normally low-quality English or stock photography when they include the picture.

Because of that, many customers have grown wary of reviews. Having the picture of the reviewer helps with that, but even then they can be skeptical.

That’s where social reviews come in handy. A review on your Facebook page (or on your website with a Facebook plugin) can help alleviate that distrust by attaching a real person to that review.

Make sure your customer reviews appear on your social pages as well
Make sure your customer reviews appear on your social pages as well

The potential customer can quickly visit that person’s Facebook profile and see that the reviewer is a real, full human being.

With this increased trust, you’ll set your business apart from the many unethical businesses out there.

Use reviews in your marketing materials

You don’t only need to market to those people who haven’t yet interacted with your business.

It can be even better for your sales to nurture those people who’ve read your blog, subscribed to one of your free offerings, or in some way gave you their emails.

With that, you need to start sending out newsletters and other marketing materials with the reviews attached at the bottom of your post.

The reviews shouldn’t be the main purpose of the communication. For example, if you’re sending out email newsletters, you should discuss the topic (new blog posts, updates, etc.) but make sure to include the reviews near the end of the newsletter.

That way, the subscribers will become primed to buy from you. After all, by subscribing they’ve taken the first steps towards becoming a customer.

Your job is to remove any friction and get them to the purchase. Customer reviews will be a tremendous help with that.

With the right customer reviews strategy, you’ll be able to reel in those potential customers lurking close by but not yet buying. With increased sales, you can spend more time and energy into getting even more customers for your growing business.

Good luck!

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