When you own your own business, online review sites can feel like a blessing and a curse. Considering that 92 percent of consumers now read online customer reviews and they’re basically the word of mouth marketing of today, you know you need to be well-reviewed. And you know that reviews can provide a microscope into what your customers are thinking, whether positive or negative, which is always useful.
But, review sites can also be frustrating. Should you aim for more reviews? Or should you focus on getting quality reviews? And if it should be quality you zero in on, what does that even mean in the context of reviews? Here, we’ll break it down for you, so you can hit your sweet spot of reviewing bliss.
Painting a Realistic Picture
First of all, let’s talk about reality. Yes, you want the majority of your reviews to be glowing, but don’t shy away from negative reviews altogether. Not only can the Debbie Downers who leave you scathing or dissatisfied comments provide insight about your business you need to see, but they also give others confidence that your reviews are real. In fact, 30 percent of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews present. Yikes.
So, first make sure you’re getting a healthy mix of positive and negative feedback. If it’s all skewed too far on the positive end of the spectrum (and kudos to you if that’s your ‘problem’), send a review request to a customer you know wasn’t too thrilled about you. It might sound weird, but you don’t want a lack of any critical feedback to throw off the believability of your positive reviews.
Specificity Trumps Quantity
Once you know you have a realistic picture of your business’ strengths and weaknesses painted on review sites, consider the quality of the reviews you get. The first component of this is timing. If all your greatest reviews are from two years back, you’re not going to seem all that relevant today - and other buyers might question if you’re even still in business. Make sure you have recent customer reviews, within the past quarter ideally or the past year worst case.
The next component of quality is the level of specificity given. Think about if a customer were to write a review that went like this: “Great job! I loved working out at Jennifer’s Health Club!” Uh… thanks, but this type of review gets you nowhere. Instead, invite your customers to leave detailed reviews. Ask them to include things like the duration of the engagement with your brand, which precise goals you helped them accomplish and specific feedback about a team member or two.
Consider the difference between the review above, and one like this: “I started working with Jennifer’s Health Club six months ago, and I can’t say enough about how their team has helped me transform my health! I brought my body fat percentage down from an unhealthy range into a healthy range, and my blood pressure has been drastically reduced too. Marty and Melanie showed me how being healthy doesn’t have to be hard, and were in my corner the whole time. I’ll always be grateful for my experiences here!” Powerful, right?
Oh, and specific, quality reviews don’t have to be this long either. One or two descriptive, emotionally-driven sentences are all you need to make your reviews resonate with others reading them. Pro tip: Offer a few sentences or the outline of a review you’d like to get as a suggested starting point to your customers, so they can quickly make it their own if they don’t like writing or don’t know where to start!
...But you still need a mix
So the answer to the question we initially posted about quality vs. quantity is: quality matters more, but you still need quantity. Case in point: One study found that products with 50 reviews or more saw a 4.6 percent increase in conversion rates. That’s not too shabby!
As you work to craft your own business’ review strategy, make sure you get a good amount of reviews that are well-written, specific and offer a mix of positive and negative feedback. That’s the best way to get the most from customer review sites, which really are the modern day word of mouth marketing machines.
Still, need some help? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you encourage your customers to leave you reviews.