How to Use Reviews to Turn Your Clients’ Local Searchers Into Customers
Online reviews matter and if you’re not helping your clients get them for their business, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Don’t believe me? According to an article published by Inc:
- 91% of people read online reviews
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends
- 68% percent of people form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews
These days, you not only have to get your business to rank on page one of Google, you need to fully optimize your total online presence, and this includes building your clients’ reviews.
Reviews are a great way for your clients to separate themselves from the competition (especially if they’re all showing up on page one). People who see positive reviews associated with a company will be more likely to trust your client’s business, and in turn, be more likely to convert into customers.
But first, they need those reviews. Below are a few pointers I have for boosting your clients’ review activity.
Start with the customer experience
It should come as no surprise that your client’s customer service has a huge impact on their success as a company. If customers have a bad experience with a company, they’ll likely share it with others (and it will speak volumes). They’ll also likely share an extremely positive experience with a company. Which story do you want them sharing?
The answer should be a no-brainer. You want to make sure your clients are providing such a great experience that people will want to share it with the world. They need to make it memorable. A happy customer is one of your clients biggest marketing tools and the only way they’re going to get the reviews they’re looking for is by starting with a stellar customer experience. That’s step one, and the most important step, in the review generation process.
Make the ask
Want to know why so many businesses don’t have a plethora of positive reviews online? They simply aren’t asking for them! Your clients would be amazed at the response they’d get if they simply reached out to their existing customers for reviews.
I get it, this can be an intimidating process but the more your client does it, the more comfortable they’ll feel.
Have them create a process around this to make things easier. For example, plan on sending an email with a satisfaction survey after a customer makes a purchase. This routine will make it easy to remember because they’ll do it each time somebody buys from them.
Sending a personal email a few days after a purchase can go a long way as well. Now, I often hear that a big barrier to doing this is that it’s tedious and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are tools available for you to recommend to your clients to help automate the process, such as Grade.us. This platform has a lot of capabilities, including review management and the ability to set up personalized automated emails that get sent to past customers, allowing your clients to save time, while still getting the reviews.
When it comes to reviews online you need to have your client respond to them, yes, all of them. This applies to both positive and negative reviews. Responding to positive reviews shows that you are engaged with your customers and acknowledge and appreciate their feedback.
Responding to negative reviews is also super important and is a great way to turn a poor situation into a positive one (more on that in the next section). Keep in mind, there are right and wrong ways to respond to negative reviews, and a few best practices are to:
- Blame or verbally attack the reviewer
- Accuse the reviewer of being a liar
- Refuse to apologize
- Use bad language
- Acknowledge that their message has been heard
- Take responsibility
- Sincerely apologize
- Show empathy and validate the customer’s feelings
- Offer something to make things right
- Be honest and transparent
If you feel the need to take the conversation offline, you can kindly put that in your response as well. At the end of the day, how you handle these situations can speak volumes about your company and its personality. Keep your tone and voice in mind to ensure a good reputation stays intact.
Turn negative reviews into happy customers
To piggyback off my comments above with negative reviews, there is a silver lining with them. By responding to these negative reviews directly, your clients are giving themselves the opportunity to show how amazing their customer experience is and how they run their company, which will actually help to attract others to their brand. It shows how much they value their customers.
These reviews can also give your clients great insight into what isn’t working for their company so that they can improve it moving forward. It could be an issue they may have never known about if it wasn’t for the negative review, so they can actually be blessings in disguise. Fix the problem and let people know you’ve solved it.
If you feel that the customer is now happy, you can politely ask them to edit their negative review, but only do this once you are certain you’ve changed their mind about the company.
Use reviews in your marketing efforts
Once your client has reviews, make sure people see them. Post them on their website. Share a few on social media sporadically. Have them include one in their email signatures. The list goes on, but you get the idea. The point of reviews is to build trust with an audience, so use it in the customer journey wherever it makes sense.
Reviews and local SEO
If a positive image and reputation aren’t incentive enough to help your clients get those reviews, you should know that it can also assist with your local SEO efforts.
There is growing evidence that online reviews on popular sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, are becoming more and more important for ranking in search engine results pages.
We’re now seeing that reviews are starting to influence search algorithms and can be a primary local search factor moving forward (it’s been said that online reviews make up 13% of what gets you in Google’s Local 3-Pack). In addition to the 3-pack, reviews are also starting to impact local search rankings as well. Google has actually verified this information.
As you can see, the voice of the customer is strong and loud and can heavily impact the conversion of future customers. If you’re not currently helping your clients build reviews as part of your marketing efforts, add this to your list of recommendations ASAP. Your client will thank you for it.