When potential customers are searching for what you’re offering, they want to know more than how much you charge. They’re interested in knowing the kind of service you offer, and they want to know the experience they’ll have with your business.
They don’t want to find out the hard way that you offer terrible service or terrible products. Therefore, they look at what other customers have to say about your service or products.
There are two primary sources of this information online: testimonials and reviews.
So, what previous customers say about your brand matters… a lot!
How Customers Feel about Testimonials
Testimonials are one of the most valuable assets your website can have. Having many of them, especially those with photos or videos, makes your brand feel more personable, credible and established.
However, no matter how brilliant the testimonials are, customers won’t see them until they land on your website.
Many companies love testimonials because they showcase what their customers have said about their products or services. However, they are less popular with customers.
Testimonials are easy to host on a website, and you have control of the information that appears on them. Therefore, customers don’t like testimonials; many customers know that many companies control what appears on testimonials. Also, customers know that no company will put negative comments on their page, even if many customers have had negative experiences.
Some customers even suspect companies of editing the testimonials or making them up.
Even if you’re honest and include both positive and negative comments, some customers will still think there’s more you aren’t including. Thus, even if you have a bunch of negative and neutral comments on your site, customers will still think you’re hiding much worse.
Have Reviews That Help Boost Leads and Sales
Reviews trump testimonials and will always do so because:
- 97% of potential customers read online reviews for local businesses and 12% of these customers search for local businesses daily.
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues.
- Positive reviews make 73% of potential customers trust a brand even more.
- Nearly 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a brand.
So, online reviews are the golden fleece of online marketing. Having more 4- or 5-star reviews than your competitors do will elevate your brand. A good review tally sends the message that your brand is reputable; this puts you into automatic consideration.
Customers love and trust reviews more than testimonials because reviews are unbiased. Also, customers have total control over the information that appears in reviews. Since reviews are hosted on third-party sites that have no intention of changing the content, consumers trust reviews more than they trust testimonials.
Reviews are among the only information that appears in Google Plus listings of your business. So, customers will see your business name, contact details, and your reviews. And if you have negative reviews, they’ll appear instantly and influence a potential customer’s decision. So will positive reviews.
Thus, it’s crucial to offer the best service or product possible so you can get as many positive reviews as possible.
7 out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business when asked to. The last point is crucial; don’t assume that reviews will automatically trickle in if your service or product is great. That’s not how things work!
The reality is: if you offer great service, you’ll get 5-star reviews if you ask customers to leave reviews. And if you don’t ask, you won’t get even a 1-star rating.
Are All Reviews Equal?
In March 2022, 92% of all online searches were made through Google. Bing was second with only 2.96% online searches.
It’s crucial to ask your customers to leave a review on Google. And you can do this by asking every customer to do so.
Having more Google reviews than your competitors, makes your brand look appealing in search results. This also boosts your online visibility, which drives more traffic to your sites – ultimately leading to more conversions.
However, don’t focus solely on Google reviews. Consider where your most valuable customers came from and ask them to leave a review on those sites.
What about Negative Reviews?
Believe it or not, these are good too because they lend credibility to good reviews. If you only have 5-star reviews, consumers will question their authenticity.
If you have loads of 5-star reviews and a few bad reviews, customers will read the bad ones first. This is because they’ll want to see if the issues other customers experience apply to them too. However, if the issue is unusual or circumstantial, this won’t put customers off.
Turn bad reviews into something more valuable than a 5-star review by responding quickly and appropriately.
Ask Your Customers for Reviews not Testimonials
To boost web traffic and sales, replace your testimonial page with a page that links to your off-site reviews.
Ask your current and previous customers to leave reviews. To get better reviews, offer exceptional products or services. Also, you’ll get better reviews by targeting the right audience. For ultimate customer satisfaction, target customers for whom your products or services will provide a solution or a benefit.
Remember, great reviews will generate more leads and convert more sales. And the happier your customers are, the more likely they are to leave great reviews.
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