The True Impact of Online Reviews and 3 Ways Your Brand Can Get More of Them! (Updated December 2021)

online reviews

Every minute, Yelp users leave 26,380 reviews. And that’s just on one platform.

Factor in Facebook, Amazon, Google and even your own personal website and that’s hundreds of thousands of reviews being left every hour. Those reviews carry weight.

People trust online reviews from third parties more than they trust a brand’s marketing message; in fact, 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions. It doesn’t stop with digital shoppers either. Reviews influence up to 10% of the search engine rankings for local searches. For B2B corporations, they can expect to see a 5-9% boost in revenue with every 1-star increase in their review rating.

Like it or not, your brand is either thriving or dying because of reviews. So, what can brands do to earn more (and better) reviews? We’ve updated this post for 2022 to give you the advice you need to succeed in the new year. 

Getting Online Reviews 101: The Basics

Before we begin, let’s review the basic 101 advice that you’ll hear from every marketing blog:

  • Deliver a quality experience or build a good product
  • Deliver what you promise
  • Deliver great customer service
  • Smile

Sure, these might cut back on the number of disappointed customers – and hence bad reviews – but these tactics by themselves aren’t going to give you MORE reviews in terms of quantity. These tips only address how to manage customer expectations…and there’s only so much a brand can do here. You can do all of the above and still be left with a handful of reviews, some negative. You can’t anticipate every client expectation.

Need an example?

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Think Leonardo DiCaprio had this as a possible concern when he made this movie?

Controlling negative reviews is important, but not nearly as important as increasing the number of total reviews you receive. To do that, start by understanding why people leave reviews.

Why Do People Leave Reviews?

First let’s take a second to understand the motivation behind people that leave reviews. Most commonly, the reviewer wants to:

  • Build status in their community (whether it’s Yelp, Google or Trip Advisor)
  • Be seen by their peers as smart / impressive / a brilliant writer, etc.
  • Leverage their review status into perks and “freebies”
  • Do “something nice” for a brand that gives them a great experience
  • Act as the “voice of truth”; they want other people to know “the truth” about a brand
  • Actively voice a negative experience
  • Educate the business on ways they can improve their experience
  • Be helpful to other potential customers

Brands should understand that while there are different motives for leaving reviews, most people don’t do it without some sort of self-serving motive. Even the feel good “dopamine” vibe from helping out a company with a 5-star reward is a form of self-gratification.

Once you know why people leave reviews, you can start to focus on driving additional reviews.

3 Ways To Get People To Leave A Review For You1) Ask Them

Tip 1: Ask Them

Plain and simple. ASK THEM! 70% of consumers will leave a business review if you ask. 70%.

70% of your customer base is more than enough to make a noticeable difference in your online reviews.

What’s more, the people that leave a review without being promoted to tend to be those that are actively airing grievances about your brand. Every brand is going to have a bad day and give a customer an experience that didn’t align with their expectations. It’s just going to happen.

Brands should ensure they have enough positive reviews to offset the occasional negative sentiment, so they don’t immediately drop down a rating a star or two.

Side Note: Whatever you do, don’t get too aggressive with removing negative reviews. Instead, answer the reviews in a positive manner. Most consumers value a commitment to making good on a bad experience and will see your actions as being positive.

3 Key User Groups to Ask for Reviews

1) Utilize your Brand Advocates

Always keep your brand advocates in mind! Your advocates have self-selected to become a part of your advocacy marketing campaign. That means they’re already fans of your brand. The bigger their fandom, the more likely they are to leave those coveted 4-and 5-star reviews

Don’t ask advocates to leave reviews on every platform at once! Ask for reviews on each specific platform separately (i.e Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.) to make it easy for them to opt-in.

For product review sites on your own website, segment your advocates by purchase history (either through a quiz or by known purchases) to ensure that they’re able to speak about the benefits of your product or service.

2) Email your Current Customers

While you can’t send marketing emails to individuals unless they opt-in to receive them (CAN-SPAM yo!), you can send transactional emails to customers. Be sure your transactional emails include a call-to-action and an “ask” that outlines where and how a user can leave a review.

3) Ping your Social Followers

Be sure your social media content mix includes the occasional review solicitation. Remember: there’s no rule against having the same people leave reviews across several different review sites. Just because someone left you a 5-star review on Facebook doesn’t mean they won’t also write you a 5-star review on Google if you ask them to.

Again, make it easy on your followers. When asking for reviews on social media, remember to be specific – ask for a review on a specific platform and link to your page on that platform. Also, be sure to let them know why you’re asking for the review. And for fans who do leave a review, be sure to thank them to let them know you appreciate the time they took to write their reviews.

Tip 2: Make it Simple

Remember, your customers are buz-ay! They don’t have time to figure out where and how to leave you a review. If you want to increase your review count then it’s up to you to simplify the process and remove any friction points.

To get started, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, literally, After all, it’s not a reach to assume that you’ve been on the receiving end of review requests. Take a look back at your review solicitation history and take note of the different ways brands asked you to leave reviews. 

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we’ll take a wager that the best experience has the following elements in common. 

3 Ways To Keep It Simple

1) They Send You Where You Need to Go

Chances are the brands that stand out are the ones that give you a link to the specific platforms they want reviews left on – Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Do the same to your users. Pick the platforms that matter to you. Then send your customers to those specific platforms to leave their review. 

2) Offer a Prompt

They may also help get your creative juices flowing by providing you with a template or prompt to help guide your review creation efforts. The blank page can be intimidating to any consumer. A prompt or guide can help keep them on track and give them a starting point for leaving an honest review. 

3) Automate & Personalize The Ask

Alright, this is more of a tip to you, but it still simplifies the process. Where you can, automate the review requests. This will help to ensure that ALL of your customers are asked to leave a review (versus only the ones you remember to ask). When you make the request, be sure to personalize the automated email with specific details – name, purchased items, etc. No one wants to be bugged by a robot that doesn’t know who they are. 

Tip 3: Engage With Your Reviewers

Social proof and social pressure are powerful catalysts for building an audience of raving reviewers. If your review landscape is a one-sided conversation, then it can leave some potential reviewers wondering why they should trouble themselves. 

On the other hand, if they see you actively responding and thanking your top reviewers (and addressing the concerns of any 1-star reviewers), it reinforces to the consumer that you DO actually care about their opinions.

Here are three elements of the perfect review response. 

3 Elements of A Strong Review Response

 1) Thank Them

First and foremost, show some appreciation for their review! Give them a shout-out. A little thank you can go a long way to building an engaged community. It does

2) Get Specific

Be specific in your response back, mention their purchased item or make a recommendation on a new item that will compliment their purchase. 

3) Address Any Criticism

Don’t argue or stick your head in the sand. Sometimes the customer will make a point that can help improve your business or point out an area of friction that they experienced. In those instances, be sure to show empathy and share with them how their feedback will be relayed to the larger team. 

Advocacy Marketing Done Right

3rd party reviews carry almost as much weight in a purchase decision as a friends and family recommendations. Potential customers rely on these reviews to reinforce the “right” decision to go with your brand. Be sure you’re driving reviews on an ongoing basis to support this need and drive sales.

Want to learn more about how an advocacy marketing program can help you garner more reviews?

Call or email us today and one of our advocacy strategists can help create a UGC-driving program that is customized to suit your needs.

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