Consumers demand the highest quality customer experiences (CX), and companies failing to respond stand to lose revenue. Reviews give consumers a quick and easy way to share their thoughts (and read the thoughts of others) regarding a specific product or service offering.
Shoppers depend on this information to help them make informed purchasing decisions. This guide outlines why focusing review efforts is critical for a brand’s content strategy and how to set targets. This strategy ensures you give your target audience as much information as possible during the buying journey.
Why Review Efforts are Important to a Content Marketing Strategy
Encouraging consumer reviews helps businesses – especially those operating only in a digital environment – provide “real-life” examples of how consumers use their products or services. We learn from BrightLocal that “More consumers are reading online reviews than before. In 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020).”
Let’s look at why review efforts are essential for your brand’s content strategy:
Reviews allow target audiences to see how brands perform in the consumer market – and hear this information directly from the consumer. What better social proof than a consumer talking about their experience with a brand’s products or services?
Looking again at BrightLocal’s survey, it also tells us that “67% will consider leaving a review for a positive experience, while 40% will consider leaving a review for a negative experience.”
Take these reviews further by showcasing them on your site and social media channels. Taking that step shows your target audience what others think about your offerings. This social proof also shows prospects how your offerings could potentially solve their pain points.
Increasing your brand’s visibility is critical because your target audience is more likely to purchase from companies they recognize – and trust. An excellent way of ensuring people walk through your door or visit your site is by ensuring your brand has plenty of high-quality reviews.
Businesses can use reviews to increase their brand’s visibility in several ways:
- Social media postings: Along with posting reviews on your company’s social channels, ask everyone on the team to reshare with some color commentary.
- Communication: Reviews open the door for communication between you and your audience and between customers.
- Rankings: The more customer reviews your brand has, the more likely it could appear in a web search.
Building Brand Trust
Reviews are a powerful way of building brand trust because they’re not part of a sales pitch – they’re experiences coming directly from the consumer. They’re using your offerings and talking about whether they solved their pain points or not. That’s far more valuable than hearing a pitch from a salesperson.
Consumers also want to trust that what they’re reading is authentic. Another interesting statistic from BrightLocal’s survey is that “62% believe they’ve seen a fake review for a local business in the past year.” If consumers believe what they’re reading is fake, they won’t trust the brand. It’s that simple.
We live in a competitive market where consumers demand authentic buying experiences that meet their needs and expectations. They want to hear about others’ experiences – negative and positive – about a brand’s offerings.
Here’s an example:
Lisa searches for a new computer monitor but doesn’t know which one to choose. After looking at the specifications and pricing to see if they align with her needs and budget, she looks at the customer reviews. She’s narrowed her choices down to three:
- This monitor doesn’t have any reviews
- This monitor has three positive reviews and four negative reviews
- This monitor has sixty-two positive reviews and one negative review
When seeing selections like that, it’s easier for your target audience to see which one works best for consumers. She can also see questions consumers might ask and pictures or videos depicting the product while it’s in use.
Targets for Review Efforts
If your brand doesn’t have many reviews, the simple solution is to – you guessed it – ask for them. Consumers are busy and leaving reviews often slip their minds. We’re all human – think about the last time you left a review for a company. You’ve likely purchased products or services since that review, but you might not have left a review because things have come up.
That’s why it’s your responsibility to remember this for your customers and make that a step in content strategies. Keep in mind, though, that your customers are more likely to leave a review on a trusted review site. Here are some examples of where you can ask your customers to post a review:
Amazon Customer Reviews
Businesses that use Amazon as a selling platform have it easy – the customer review option is an element of every purchase. Start by setting up an automated email system that sends a message to buyers as soon as they complete their purchase. Add a link to where they can post a review and ask them to submit their feedback.
If your company sells software or operates on a digital platform, having a presence on G2 is beneficial. With over 60 million visitors annually, it’s no wonder companies love it when their customers share reviews here. Operating similarly to Yelp, consumers can post reviews about specific businesses to help consumers decide which to choose.
If you use the “Google My Business” tool, your target audience can see specific data about your business, including where it is on the map, its operating hours, address, phone number, and more. This listing also gives consumers opportunities to post reviews – and read what others say about your offerings.
This site might not seem like an obvious choice when asking customers for reviews. For example, you might not automatically think that consumers typically search for reviews here. However, if someone tweets about your business, it could pop up in results if someone does a web search for your company’s name.
Local businesses benefit from Yelp reviews, especially if operating a small business. When someone posts on Yelp, they become a “Yelper.” These individuals post information that details their experience with a local business and, in turn, that helps others who are on the fence about visiting this business or not.
When brands prioritize their review efforts in their content strategies, it’s easier to increase social proof, trust, and visibility. Create an automated workflow, ensure your reviews are authentic and repurpose this content creatively. That could mean creating a graphic featuring a five-star review for social media or adding a snippet to an infographic or case study.