Do’s And Don’ts For Promoting Customer Reviews
Not too long ago, every company was jumping on the customer review bandwagon as part of its SEO and/or social media marketing campaign. For a lot of reasons, the push for customer reviews has eased a bit, although positive online reviews remain important for lead generation and branding. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of your online review opportunities.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. A robust marketing campaign to solicit customer reviews takes a lot of ongoing work. You have to monitor review sites carefully, respond to negative reviews if you can, and make sure you’re keeping up with changes in review site policies and marketing best practices.
- Do make sure you have your products and services house in order before encouraging reviews. People are far more likely to share negative business experiences than positive ones. So, if you encourage a customer to write a review and that customer had problems, you’ll do far more harm than good to your lead generation and branding.
- Do give your customers options for where to post reviews. It might be advantageous to your SEO to have positive reviews posted on, say, Google My Business. But, if you force customers to use that site and that site only, you’ll undercut your efforts. Not everybody uses or understands Google My Business. Some people are superstars on Yelp. Let customers post reviews where they are comfortable, and you’ll get more cooperation.
- Do give your customers clear and accurate instructions about how to post reviews on specific sites. If you want to promote Google My Business or some other site(s) as a review option, you’ve got to make it easy for customers to write and post them. This is not as easy as you think. Review sites change their processes frequently; if your instructions are out of date, customers will get frustrated. Test your instructions quarterly or even monthly to make sure anyone can follow them. Otherwise you may turn a positive customer experience into a negative one.
- Don’t violate review site policies. Most of these sites have strict policies about how to solicit reviews. Authenticity has become a major issue for review sites because of all the fake reviews and other manipulations that have undermined user confidence. If you violate the rules, you may get your company penalized or even banned from a site — and that will be very bad for business.
- Do use common sense in deciding how aggressively to pursue reviews. If you have a restaurant or an HVAC company, it’s pretty likely prospects will check and put weight on customer reviews. On the other hand, if you specialize in contract law or manufacture precision medical devices, a prospect is likely to look a little deeper than Yelp before making a decision to buy.
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