It’s almost 2018, and you know what that means: all anyone can talk about is the new year.
It also means that your old marketing strategies could probably use an overhaul. If you’re ready to make 2018 your best year for digital marketing, read on! We’ve got a review marketing strategy that will help you build trust with consumers and drive sales.
Why do you need a review marketing strategy in 2018?
- Reviews are important - 92 percent of consumers read reviews. That means that almost everyone who uses (or considers using) your business is reading reviews to try to find the most trustworthy business for their needs.
- Star rating matters - in search results, 56 percent of consumers chose a business because it had positive reviews and a good star rating; 58 percent of consumers say star rating is the most important factor of an online review.
- Consumers care about quantity - if star rating is the most important factor in a review, quantity is the second most important factor. And depending on the consumer, people want to read anywhere between 2-21 reviews. That means that you’ll need to have enough to satisfy these curious consumers.
- They shouldn't be too old - reviews need to be written, at the very oldest, within the last six months for customers to take them seriously. You’ll need to consistently get new reviews so that you don’t end up only having old, obsolete reviews that consumers don’t trust anymore.
- Negative reviews happen - people leave negative reviews for many reasons, including issues with products, services or business practices; they want an apology or in some cases, they want to save other customers from having a similar experience.
Your 2018 Review Marketing Goals
Now that we know why reviews are important and what people want to see in a review, let’s build a set of goals that help you build your best review strategy in 2018.
Goal #1: Improve Your Star Rating
The best way to improve your star rating is to begin asking happy customers for feedback since new positive reviews will beef up your review star rating.
Getting new, positive reviews from happy customers will both bury any negative reviews and improve your star rating over time. That brings us to the second goal, which will help you achieve your first goal.
Goal #2: Get More Reviews
Here are a few ways to get more online reviews:
- If you have a physical storefront, post signage that lets customers know that your business is present on review sites
- Mention to customers that you are trying to get more reviews – tell them you need their help and they will probably be happy to help you
- Start finding a way to collect customer information (for example, email addresses)
- Once you have this information, start asking for reviews
- Try to ask for new reviews every week (or if you work on mainly larger projects, after each project)
Goal #3: Start Monitoring Your Business’s Online Reputation
Reviews are part of your greater online reputation management strategy, so while monitoring your reviews, you’ll want to keep a digital eye out for brand mentions.
Here are a few tools to help you get started monitoring your online reputation:
You can set up a Google alert for just about anything from your business name to your favorite TV shows. Google Alerts is also a great way to monitor industry news! If something new is posted that matches the alert you set up, you’ll receive an email with a link to the website that mentions it.
Renown by RevLocal
Renown is our review marketing platform, and while you can check your Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Facebook, etc daily for new reviews, Renown will help you get more reviews while alerting you to any new negative reviews. It’s pretty cool. Check out Renown here.
Social Media Monitoring Tools
While you’re at it, you might as well use a social media monitoring tool so you know when people mention your business on social media. We use something called Radiate for both corporate and client social media accounts, but if you don’t have the resources, you can search for free social monitoring tools.
Goal #4: Start Replying to Your Business’s Reviews
Customers expect a response to negative feedback, usually within a week.
And even if they don’t read your response, future customers who are researching your business will read the response and see that you care about your customers and their experiences.
If you’re just starting to monitor your business’s reviews, it might not be possible to go all the way back to your oldest reviews and reply to them. Besides, like we mentioned before, people probably don’t read reviews that are more than six months old anyway.
So, replying to any reviews that have come in in the last couple of months is a good place to start. Always reply to any negative and neutral reviews to try and fix the problem.
Don’t forget to reply to some of your positive reviews as well, again, just to show that you care about your customers and their experiences. Even if the person who wrote the review doesn’t see it, future customers will.
To sum it all up, your business needs reviews. Ninety-two percent of consumers read them, and reviews can make people want to purchase from (or even spend more on) your business!
The most important aspects of an online review are:
- Star rating
Your review marketing goals for 2018 should include:
- Improving your business’s star rating
- Getting more online reviews on a regular basis
- Monitoring your business’s online reputation
- Replying to your business’s online reviews
Now is the time to start planning your 2018 digital marketing strategy, so don’t wait! Start thinking about your review strategy for next year right now.
For more 2018 planning, check out our post about 2018 marketing trends and predictions here.