You’ve probably deleted emails asking for them in the past. Maybe you’ve left a couple of star ratings but not thought much of it. As inconsequential as a single customer review can feel, together they can make or break a digital company.
Whether it’s eCommerce or SaaS, the insight and opinions of your consumers play a huge role in how your business is run. The customer has always been right, but their opinion is now amplified to a degree never before seen.
If you’re still not sold on the idea of digital reviews, here is why they’re an essential asset and how you can use them effectively.
They improve SEO
Whatever industry you’re in, it’s important as a business owner or website manager that you understand the basic fundamentals of SEO.
Without going into too much detail, SEO helps you improve your position in search engine results. This can massively increase the amount of traffic to your website, allowing your business to grow quickly.
Customer reviews play a significant role in determining your results on these searches, as Google wants to show it’s users the highest quality findings to its customers. If someone searches for the best restaurant in London, they don’t want to see something with an average 2-star review.
Improving your Google review score, in particular, can help you move up the rankings quickly. Integrating a star rating into your search result snippet can further help you stand out amongst lesser competitors.
Social proof is real
Across numerous different industries, social proof has proven itself to be one of the most interesting and effective phenomenons.
The idea of buying something on a recommendation is nothing new, but in the digital world, it takes a more visual form that follows the brand around for the remainder of its existence. You’re not just getting advice from friends, you’re getting it from the whole world.
The implied trust from a set of excellent reviews can have a huge effect on the basics of your business. If your reviews consistently complain about poor delivery a customer may think twice before ordering. Likewise, a poor star rating can cause the average shopper to not even give you a chance, as you don’t pass the first step of their internal trust and quality check.
Customers want to make their voices heard and provide reviews. They also want to see these reviews presented clearly and given a prominent position on your website.
Digital mortgage broker Breezeful uses reviews very effectively. They not only feature star ratings prominently on their homepage but also include testimonials from very satisfied customers and clients, complete with pictures of them for an added visual touch. This adds value and authenticity to the reviews, making them resonate more with prospective leads as a result.
The testimonial pages for online accounting software Xero take a slightly different approach, allowing significant space for customer stories that build up the importance of the customer’s relationship with the brand. This type of content can be incredibly convincing and make your business seem immediately more legitimate.
While not strictly a review, giving visitors an indication of just how many people use your platform is an effective form of social proof that’s easy to implement. Take blogging and journalist tool HARO for example, who clearly list how many users the platform has and the high profile publications it services on its front page. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but the use of strong numbers and visuals affects the average visitor.
Customers do your marketing for you
A great average rating is a brilliant marketing asset for any business to have, and more importantly, it doesn’t require that much effort.
Look at positive feedback as the best promotion you could ever have. Think about what a positive review says. It says your products are of high quality. It says you’re attentive and care about who you work with. It says your business is the best at what it does.
If you were to say that about yourself you could be accused of being braggadocious and people may even question the legitimacy of your claims. When it’s coming from other customers, the material is met with less caution.
Getting the review ball rolling can be a bit difficult if you don’t have much in the way of customer feedback. Sometimes just a couple of reviews can be as bad as having none, as a below-par experience can bring your entire average crashing down. Thankfully, the presence of other reviews can often be the catalyst that makes users feel comfortable leaving their feedback, helping your efforts to grow naturally.
Great way to stand out on social
Catching the eye of users on the big social media channels is easier said than done these days.
These platforms are incredibly popular, with hundreds of thousands of brands, influencers and social groups vying for the user’s attention. If a user is on the hunt for a particular brand or business to work with or shop from then they’ll be judging every element of their social profile.
One of the most striking features on a profile can be customer reviews. The visual of star ratings is attention-grabbing, and thousands of positive reviews from users just like them can make the average person want to learn more, even if they’d never come across the brand before.
Hopefully, this guide has shown you the effectiveness and importance of customer reviews and the part they play on successful websites across numerous industries. These measures are easy to apply to your website, and you should try and use a trusted review website wherever possible.
Also published on Medium.