How Startups Can Get Reviews and Attract New Customers
In this digital age, consumer opinion travels faster than ever. We all know how important reviews can be for your startup. They help improve rankings, search results, and word-of-mouth referrals, too. Consumers have access to massive amounts of information and online reviews or opinions on for-profit and nonprofit organizations, public figures, and companies that offer products and services.
John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, says, “With reviews, more is more. The trick is to make sure your happy customers know you value reviews and encourage them to create them.”
According to the latest research conducted by Nielson, “70% of consumers trust online reviews from people they don’t know”, and 92% percent of global consumers say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations over any other kind of advertising, regardless of whether those recommendations come from strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members.
Marketers sometimes refer to this as “electronic word-of-mouth” or eWOM. The acronym refers to any kind of online review, regardless of whether it appears on a discussion forum, social media share, tweet or post, or review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, CitySearch, Angie’s List, Trustpilot, or Epinions.
As publishing reviews becomes more widespread, the value of them becomes more evident. Startups must take a more proactive role in the process of obtaining opinions from clients and customers on their products and services.
Today, only about 15% of small businesses and new startups actively invest time, energy and resources into procuring and utilizing online reviews. In order to stay on track with consumer demand, startups must increase their efforts in this area both in terms of requesting reviews and responding to them. To help you get started, here are a few tips:
Do a good job.
When you truly “wow” your customers, they are often compelled to share their good experience with friends and family. It may seem obvious, but providing a great product, and then backing it up with an over-deliverance of good customer service is the number one way to generate positive online reviews.
Let’s face it. We are all extremely busy, whether it’s with school, our businesses or careers, our families, our relationships, or our own self-care. Usually, the last thing we are thinking about is writing company reviews.
However, if we receive a gentle, non-intrusive request to leave a review, we are often likely to respond, especially if we had a pleasant consumer experience. This is even truer if it is easy and convenient to do so.
Make it easy
Your customers likely won’t be thrilled about being made to jump through a number of hoops to leave you a review, regardless of how great the service was that you provided. On the other hand, disgruntled clients will often go to great lengths to find a way to slam you on the web, so be sure to take heed of best practice #1: Do a good job!
Make it easy for customers to leave a review by sending SMS or email requests with clickable links to review sites or applications that don’t require them to register for an account or sign in. Many review sites are now social media login-enabled; meaning, the reviewer can simply click the Facebook or Twitter icon and he or she will be automatically be signed in with their social account.
Give a timely incentive
Check-in applications like Foursquare make it easy for customers to “check in” and create on the spot reviews, but these apps are typically more geared towards the hospitality industry and establishments with physical locations.
Other companies might send an email or text message to ask for a review during the course of a service extension or purchase, or immediately thereafter. They could also offer bonuses or discounts for timely reviews.
So, why is it so difficult to get reviews?
It isn’t always easy for customers to create reviews, let alone for startups to leverage them to boost business or to improve performance.
In a survey of people who “rarely or never” write reviews, LocalViewPoints discovered two fundamental reasons:
- The task was too tedious
- The customer forgot
There are a number of terrific tools out there that make it simple for your customers to review your product or services.
The key is to make it easy, convenient, and perhaps even beneficial for consumers to say what they think. The following are some tools that startups and organizations can use to obtain and highlight client testimonials; some are more suited to particular industries than others, though there are certainly plenty of solutions available for every kind of business.
GradeUs provides an easy and non-invasive way to ask and remind customers to review companies on the sites that are relevant.
BirdEye enables startups to monitor, manage, and strengthen their online reputation through an automated platform. They offer the ability to aggregate reviews, generate new ones, and manage negative reviews, then automatically distribute the best testimonials to social media, search engines and consumer sites. Thus, startups are able to harness their reputation to get more referrals, leads, and repeat customers.
BrighLocal is a toolbox that contains 7 tools for local SEO and reputation management. The platform works in four countries: The United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, but they are quickly expanding with a goal to reach global coverage.
Spectoos provides a platform for managing and displaying LinkedIn recommendations and socially-proofed testimonials on websites, including performance stats and much more. It is very simple to use and with just a few clicks you can create a beautiful widget that can be embedded on any web page within your site (see an example here: https://kristihines.com/).
Get Five Stars
With Get Five Stars, startups can easily get online reviews, testimonials and referrals. Plus, they can monitor their online reputation and help improve relationships with customer