Why You Should Encourage Customer Reviews in Your Marketing Strategy (And How To Do It)
One of the most exciting things about being in marketing is the amount of change that occurs in the marketing world. Marketers are constantly in need of pivoting to match the latest trends, tools, and platforms.
One of the more recent trends in marketing that comes with the rise of social media and increases in user-generated content is brand authenticity. With tons of competition in most fields, brands are finding it more and more important to be authentic in their messaging. Brands are also finding that part of their authentic strategy must include user research, great customer service, and a focus on consumer engagement.
Customer service and consumer engagement teams have been involved in combing through reviews and user-generated content before, but not always in the best way. In the past, customer success teams would weed through reviews to try to resolve the bad ones or find a way to bury them. The focus was more on how the brand appeared rather than how customers actually felt.
As a company, you should be focusing some of your efforts on encouraging your customers to leave reviews. These reviews will help you show off the benefits of your product or service to potential customers, and they will also help you show off how you are addressing the negative associations with your product.
First, we’ll go over why you should be encouraging customer reviews, then we’ll explain a few simple ways to encourage them.
Buyers Use Reviews at Multiple Stages
Whether you like it or not, your potential customers are going to turn to reviews when they’re making their buying decisions.
As shown in the chart above, 76% of buyers use reviews for discovery and learning more about a variety of tools within a specific category.
These buyers may be new to the field and are looking at the different features of tools, and are often interested in the most popular options. These users will appreciate completed product profiles, a large number of reviews, and highlighted reviews on your website.
69% of customers use reviews for evaluation and building a shortlist of products. These buyers are looking for ways to differentiate between the products on their shortlist. These buyers will appreciate quotes from reviews on landing pages–especially quotes that directly compare you to your competitors. They will also appreciate comments on negative reviews with solutions for product limitations or current timelines for value-adds.
43% of buyers use reviews for selection and finalizing their decision. These buyers are often comparing just two different options and want one final look before making their decision. At this stage, buyers will appreciate quotes from reviews that discredit common negative feedback and direct quotes about your product versus the competitor.
The best way to get all of these different review sources that will help buyers discover, evaluate, and select your product is to have a lot of different reviews for different use cases, which means encouraging your customers to leave reviews at various points in your marketing efforts.
Buyers Want Negatives in Reviews
Yes, you read that right–buyers want negative reviews. It sounds weird, but with so many reviews out there and the ability for anyone to write a review, it’s uncommon, and concerning when a product has no constructive feedback in any of its reviews.
The lack of negatives in reviews makes consumers feel as if they are not getting the whole truth and often causes them to steer away from a product. So encouraging reviews is important, it’s important to also encourage them from all of your customers, and not only the ones who have been with you since the beginning or who gave you five stars in your annual survey.
In the chart below, you can see how buyers use cons in reviews to inform their decision.
On the flip-side, you can use negative reviews as well. Make sure to respond to negative feedback sincerely, and offer solutions when you can. Make sure you are also citing any product enhancements that you have scheduled that may address the cons in a review.
Finally, use reviews to understand what your customers want to change about your product, and make those changes. Coming back to comment on a new feature addressing a con in a review later may bring that customer back, and may also have a positive effect on attracting new customers. Consumers will always appreciate customer voices being heard.
Tactics for Encouraging Reviews
You can use a review aggregation site like TrustRadius to help you get more reviews quicker. Put time into building a custom landing page on the site, and make sure to fill out all of the details for your product. You can look at your competitors on the site to see what types of features they’ve listed.
Once you have your review landing page set up, it’s time to ask for reviews. The most common way to ask for reviews is to send out an email to an existing customer base and ask them to leave a review. You may want to offer some incentive for doing so in order to get a better response rate. Some companies give a discount to everyone who submits a review, and some companies offer one big prize for a randomly selected reviewer. Whatever your prize is, make sure your customers know about it, and make sure to follow up once or twice to make sure you get as many reviews as you can.
While email is the most common way to reach out for reviews, other companies will use social media platforms and website pop-ups to encourage customer reviews. Keep in mind that you want to target a broad set of customers to get a representative and fair sample of responses. Therefore, whatever your method, make sure that you aren’t cherry picking reviewers.
Finally, ensure that you have your customer service team checking your reviews and responding and engaging with reviewers. Your review strategy should be authentic in order to really boost your marketing efforts.