Have you ever checked what fellow travelers have to say on TripAdvisor before booking a holiday, or giggled over some of the funnier customer reviews on Amazon? You're not alone. According to Brightlocal.com, around 88% of people have read reviews before making a purchase from a local business, with 33% doing this on a regular basis.
Customer feedback isn't just useful for businesses to improve themselves these days, it's a vital marketing tool. If you're not integrating it into your content marketing strategy, you're missing a trick. Here are some ideas that can help you turn your customer feedback into a great content marketing strategy:
1. Feature positive reviews on your website
Obviously, this depends on you providing a great product or service – but you should be doing that anyway! Once you've got some good positive customer reviews, you can turn them into content and bring in more conversions to your website.
One of the best ways to feature positive reviews is to create a separate page for them on your website. Make sure you show unedited reviews, just as the customers wrote them – if they're too edited and perfect, they'll look fake. Ask the customer's permission to share their name and picture on your website as that will add legitimacy to the reviews. Authenticity is key here!
2. Make the review process easy
It doesn't matter how impressed people were with your product or service; if your review process is too complicated and doesn't allow people to submit their feedback easily, your customers won't bother and you won't reap the benefit of word-of-mouth advertising.
Make sure the review process is easy. Allow people to leave guest reviews so that they don't have to share personal information like their name and email address. This will encourage more people to submit reviews and help you showcase the more positive feedback. Keep the review forms short and user-friendly, send emails with links to review forms to recent clients, and encourage them to review on multiple platforms of their choice.
3. Check the review websites regularly
Customers often visit review websites when they want more information about a particular business or product. An average customer will read at least 6 reviews and look at the ratio of star ratings and the number of reviews before they make a purchase decision. You can create an account and a business listing on these review websites to stay updated with customer feedback. The websites will provide alerts every time you receive a review or comment from your customers. You can also set up Google Alerts with your company's or product's name. This will alert you every time your company name or product name is mentioned.
These actions will help you monitor your business reputation and source positive customer feedback. It's a good idea to stay informed when it comes to customer opinion and comments.
4. Respond to customer comments quickly
It's never good business practice to ignore what the customer is saying, even if the feedback in negative. In fact, you should view negative feedback as an opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one. Customers can forgive mistakes and accidents if you respond quickly and handle the concern efficiently. In the long run, that will help you build a better business reputation and help you earn the customer's trust.
New customers who read your quick response and efficient handling of the problem will be impressed by your customer service and will be more inclined to purchase your product. You can turn negative reviews into positive experiences, because how companies respond to bad situations has a significant impact on customer perception.
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5. Share the reviews in your email campaigns
You can draw your customers' attention to positive reviews by sharing these in your email marketing campaigns. You can mention the best unedited reviews in your emails and provide links to other reviews to encourage customers. You could even feature a satisfied customer as a case study. People who receive the emails are less likely to ignore them if it comes with an honest positive review, featuring a real person – as mentioned earlier, authenticity is vital for building trust in your brand. If your emails are attractive, interesting, and provide proof that other customers are satisfied with your products and services, you'll see more conversions through that campaign.
6. Share reviews on social media
Social media is an excellent platform to communicate with your customers and engage them in conversations. It's also the perfect platform for sharing user generated content. You can provide links to review websites on Facebook, tweet about the reviews and tag the reviewer on Twitter, post a picture of the reviews on Instagram, etc. You can also address reviews and comments made on social media platforms.
For example, it's not uncommon for customers to post their complaints and reviews on Twitter and tag the company in them. You can respond quickly to these comments and resolve the problem. Social media can be used to spread awareness of your brand by engaging in conversations with customers and followers.
7. Turn customers into your brand ambassadors
Loyal customers establish a connection with brands and become personally invested. They won't hesitate to voice their support for the brands on social media and encourage their connections to try the brand's products. These customers can easily become brand ambassadors with very little incentive.
If they genuinely love your products and services, they'll be pleased to see your brand flourish – and delighted to get involved. You can encourage them by asking them to run a blog on your website, or by re-tweeting or quoting their comments on social media. Personal engagement from the brand will keep them invested.
The final word
Word-of-mouth is still a very powerful influence on a customer's purchase decisions, which is why you should leverage it for your marketing campaigns. Reviews and testimonials are customer generated content won't just bring in more traffic to your website and increase your conversion, but they'll save you time and money by creating your content for you! It's win-win all round!
Sam Carr is a content specialist for UK digital marketing agency Two Digital. She’s passionate about social media and marketing, and can be found writing about this on the Two Digital blog. In another life, she’d have liked to be a stand-up comedian!