Increasing Sales with Customer Testimonials and Online Reviews
People influence people. When shopping for a service or product, most consumers are influenced by a personal recommendation. And, if they can’t get one from colleagues, family or friends, then it’s the customer testimonials and online reviews they rely upon most. According to several studies, Internet shoppers make reading online reviews a top priority before making any final purchase decision.
For Jim Hobart, “Reviews help build that initial trust … They are key to the long-term success of our company.”
If that’s not enough to ease the mind, it is also worth noting that most consumers are compelled to leave reviews from a sense of goodwill. In fact, according to market research performed by Keller Fay Group, an impressive 87 percent of consumers tend to write reviews when they have something positive to say.
“Ninety percent of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70 percent trust opinions of unknown users.” (Econsultancy, July 2009)
Positive Online Reviews Affect Your SERPs
Did you know that search engines, like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, factor in a company’s positive reviews when calculating their rankings? Google says they have now developed a new algorithm into the searching ranks, making reviews tremendously influential in your online marketing strategies.
Recently, a small business began soliciting satisfied clients for good reviews on many of the online directories, creating a link to his site. He printed that URL on his business card to make it easier for clients to post reviews. Within several months, his reviews had doubled. He now found himself appearing near the top of search engine results for his niche. This top ranking translated to an influx of many new Internet shoppers, substantially increasing his sales and profits.
As many Internet shoppers look for the best buys and the most trusted name brands, a positive review may be the single, strongest determining factor when making that ultimate purchase.
How Are You Doing — Really?
Are you reaching out to your clients? Are you implementing any social media marketing into your Internet marketing campaigns?
Nothing takes the place of a pledge to offer the best services to clients and standing behind that promise. Customers will be unhappy if the problems they experience are unresolved or ignored. And, if they are totally satisfied, wouldn’t that be a great way to start a simple viral campaign? Word of mouth is still very powerful, especially when it is accompanied by a Tweet and Facebook comment. The world is at your fingertips, literally, so the question becomes: how do you get customer referrals and online reviews?
Here are 5 easy ways to encourage more customer feedback:
- Ask for it. It really is that simple. When you go the extra mile and deliver beyond expectations, it makes a lasting impression. Have you solved a client problem lately? Offered a timely solution? Then ask those clients to write about their experiences. Let people know that your word has integrity.
- Offer incentives. Sweeten the deal with something in exchange. A coupon or discount towards a valuable purchase is always appreciated, especially in hard economic times. You are not bribing anyone, but showing your appreciation if they have something honest and positive to say about you.
- Facilitate. Encourage a comment, testimonial, or review in your documentation or website link. Ask for candid feedback, with authorized permission to print their comments and names on your website. Don’t forget to have a testimonial website link. You’d be surprised at how many prospects will read the testimonials first, before even discovering who you are and what you do.
- Get social. Sign up for Facebook and Twitter and leverage the latest social media marketing to your advantage. These are the hottest social media tools on the Internet today. Hire someone to create a professional business page on Facebook, where your clients can write to you directly with questions and comments. Commit to keeping up with all the resulting digital chatter. This is critical. Your clients want to communicate with a real person, not a department or brand name. How can you improve your services if you don’t know what people are saying about you?
- Turn negatives into positives. Using Google Alerts, Facebook, and Twitter to monitor what people are saying about your niche or your company can help you zero in on any negative comments being posted about you. Engage those former clients. Be open and listen to their feelings and observations. If compensation is needed, do it! Letting your customers know that they are valuable is powerful. You can never know where that might lead. Let criticism be your greatest friend.
The Internet makes it possible to connect with a global marketplace filled with people of every gender, age, and culture. Know your target market: understand their needs and offer the solutions they are looking for. The world may be spinning on a fast track of technology, but people have not changed. They want quality products, coupled with good customer service. Nothing takes the place of that — absolutely nothing.
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