Online reviews are an essential tool for businesses of all sizes to drive engagement with their audience, increase trust, and ultimately, grow their business. While some online reviews are legitimate and helpful, many are simply spam or propaganda put out by competitors looking to earn free advertising.
If you’re looking to gain a competitive advantage over your competition by increasing the discoverability and trustworthiness of your products or services, then you should worry about online reviews. They can help you build a more trusted brand and receive better customer feedback than your competitors.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s take look at how they work, why they matter, and how they can change the way you market your business.
What Are Online Customer Reviews?
Online customer reviews are user reviews written and submitted by fellow customers on various online review sites. These sites automatically rank these reviews based on a variety of factors, including the number of reviews and the average rating given by other customers. You can see a detailed breakdown of these factors and more in each site’s review section.
While overall ratings can help you understand the sentiment of your customers, user reviews are the heart of online marketing. User reviews are free and easy to get, and they typically only take a few minutes to write and submit.
Because user reviews are so easy to write and submission is free, it’s easy to gain a large and positive audience through online reviews. You can also look for opportunities to include user reviews in your emails and other content that you create for your customers.
History of Online Reviews
Online customer reviews have been around for a long time, but they have only recently been implemented as a marketing strategy. The first genuinely widespread use of the internet to interact with customers was in the early 80’s when catalog businesses started to use them to sell products.
Since then, technology has advanced and evolved, enabling businesses to now use the power of the internet to engage with their customers in a more personal way.
Nowadays, businesses can use social media, email marketing, and other digital channels to communicate with their customers. By using these newer digital channels, companies can now reach customers more effectively.
A review website is a great way to send these newer digital channels to customers. When someone visits your website and clicks a button, the button sends a clickstream to the review website.
How Do Online Customer Reviews Work?
When someone clicks on an online review, the site’s software sends a request to the customer’s computer to pull down the review. That review is then indexed by the site’s algorithms and included in search results. For sites that don’t require you to sign a contract or commit to writing a review before you get access to the product or service, this is known as free review.
Free reviews can be a great way to get customer feedback and gain insights into your brand’s personality and offerings. You can also choose to pay for reviews to increase your brand’s visibility and increase the number of people who will notify you when they search for products or services by your name.
Types of Online Customer Reviews
There are many different types of online reviews you can use. The most common are verified and unverified reviews. Some companies may also use product reviews, which are typically written as stars with “rating” and “review” tags attached.
These tags indicate the importance of the rating and review, respectively. When someone bookmarks a page on which you have reviews, it’s called “bookmarking” the page. You can also leave “recommendations” for other users, which are also shown on the page as blue ticks.
1. Verified Reviews
Verified reviews are the most professional form of online reviews. They are written by someone who has used the product or service and is giving it an honest review based on their experience. Verified reviews are often written against the grain, as in they are often very detailed and specific about the product or service.
They also tend to be longer and more involved, as in they go into more detail about the service or product. Verified reviews are written by employees who have used the product or service for some time. They are an excellent indicator of whether a product or service works for your business.
2. Unverified Reviews
Unverified reviews are shorter and less detailed than verified reviews and are often written by customers who have no connection to your company. They often indicate a lack of confidence in the product or service, especially since the reviews are “unverified”.
Unverified reviews are still an excellent way to get feedback from your customers, as they are not influenced by negative experiences people might have had with other products or services.
3. Positive Reviews
Positive reviews are written by people who love your product or service. They are usually very detailed, with tags such as “love it!” “amazing”, or “I can’t believe it’s not cheaper”.
Having positive reviews from customers is an excellent sign and gives your brand more credibility. When someone posts a positive review, it means a lot and it gives your business a boost.
4. Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are also an excellent indication of whether a product or service works for your business. They indicate what the person’s experience was like, even if it was not positive.
Getting negative reviews from people who have never used your product or service is a good thing because it tells you that people are not finding your services or products helpful.
5. Product Reviews
Product reviews are written by people who have used the product or service for some time. They are often detailed and filled with helpful information. Having product reviews from past customers can help you build trust with future customers.
This is especially important when your industry is highly technical. Having product reviews from past customers also allows you to compare products and find the one that fits your needs best.
6. Service Reviews
Service reviews are similar to product reviews, with one big difference. Instead of making a purchase, your customers can leave a product review after they have been served.
Sending a product review after receiving service from you is a great way to let your customers know how the service was related to their purchase. It also functions as a great way to let other businesses know how you employ their products or services.
How to Achieve Organic Brand Awareness
Many marketers are familiar with the concept of brand awareness, but may not realize the full potential of these types of reviews. You can gain organic brand awareness through online reviews by focusing your efforts on the top reviews.
When you have the most popular review sites to your advantage, you can start using them to your advantage by piggybacking off their popularity. By writing and submitting a few positive user reviews for top-ranking reviews, you can begin to establish your brand as an expert in your field and gain a reputation as a trustworthy source for information and reviews.
By piggybacking off of popular review sites, you can acquire a large, organic audience of followers and customers who will find your brand invaluable for valuable brand awareness and feedback.
How to Achieve Great Customer Service?
As mentioned above, you can also piggyback off of popular review sites to get customer service. If you have a specific issue or concern, you can always submit a question or request to the customer service department of the site.
You can also contact the customer service department of a review site if you’d like answers to specific questions about a product or service. You can also send personalized emails to the customers who have left reviews for you if you’d like them to know a little more about you and what you have to offer.
An online review is simply a word-of-mouth review of your products or services written by other customers. You can gain a large amount of exposure for your brand and receive valuable feedback from your customers by writing and submitting a few positive user reviews for popular review sites.
By piggybacking off of popular review sites, you can gain a large, organic audience of followers and customers who will find your brand invaluable for valuable brand awareness and feedback.
However, take note also that there may be disadvantages in engaging in this kind of strategy so make sure to have more detailed research first. Not all online reviews are valid and authentic, and not all negative reviews are valid.
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