And the reality is that when your customers have 24/7 internet access in their pockets, online reviews can make or break your brand reputation.
If your business is just entering the world of online reviews, it’s a great time to take stock of your company’s online reputation — because everyday, someone searches for your business online. What’s the first thing a potential customer sees when they type the name of your business into Google?
If you don’t have any customer reviews yet, consider how the absence of reviews might come off to those searching for your business online.
And if you already have some reviews, you might want to ask yourself, what is my business known for?
And how many customer reviews have been published about my business or products altogether?
Why every business benefits from collecting more reviews
Simply put, collecting reviews is mutually beneficial to both businesses and consumers. Today, customers all but require some form of social proof to help them make a confident purchasing decision. And for businesses, creating a feedback loop with customer reviews is like stepping on the fast track to getting better in the key areas your customers care about.
Because of this symbiotic relationship within the purchasing ecosystem, the power of reviews is only picking up speed.
And unlike some other business tactics, you won’t face diminishing returns when it comes to customer reviews. The beauty of them is that you can never have too many — and in fact, the more customer reviews you have, the better.
Although there are many, let’s unpack three key reasons why collecting more reviews results in a positive ripple effect for your business.
1. Social proof: showing off your reviews is the best way to build credibility with new and existing customers
Customers today are more knowledgeable than ever, and that means it can be more challenging for businesses to win them over. In fact, skepticism around businesses is on the rise, with 54% of consumers stating that they feel little trust towards brands.
Enter social proof, a phenomenon as old as marketing itself — and if you’ve ever uttered the phrase “safety in numbers”, you already get it. Defined by BigCommerce as any form of proof (such as verified customer reviews) that other people have made a choice to partake in a product or service, social proof encourages other consumers to follow suit with the knowledge that they’re not alone in their decision.
Showcasing social proof like positive reviews (along with any negative reviews that you promptly and graciously responded to) quickly builds confidence in any new customer who lands on your site. Whether or not every single review of your business is glowing, simply knowing that other consumers have tried out your business can be enough to turn an online browser into a repeat customer.
So, what should this look like in practice? For best results, we recommend displaying customer reviews across the entire customer journey, because...
2. Growing your bottom line: online reviews boost conversions throughout the entire marketing funnel
As far as most consumers are concerned, companies’ advertising claims aren’t as compelling as they once were. This makes it challenging to get through to your customers at the early stages of their journey towards checkout, when they might still be considering other brands.
Fortunately, your business’ star rating can cut through the noise as a highly trusted advertising claim, and print and digital media are the perfect vehicle for showing off that trust symbol. The more reviews you have, the stronger the effect of the social proof at play, so focus on collecting reviews as creative fodder for your next campaign.
Here are a few great ways you can lead with trust at different stages of the marketing funnel:
Or showing off a Trustscore at the end of a TV spot like Smarty, a super simple mobile phone service provider in the UK.
Or as the hero image in a promotional email, like Mindful Chef, a healthy meal subscription service.
But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve seen companies like Dashlane, an online password management service, use customer testimonials to instill trust on targeted landing pages.
And Canvas Factory, a custom photo printing site, works reviews right into the design of their homepage, product pages, and checkout pages.
Canvas Factory's homepage
One of Canvas Factory's product pages
Customer reviews front and center on Canvas Factory's checkout page
Adding reviews and testimonials to the final step in the customer journey is perhaps the most critical for overall conversion rate optimization, because third party trust indicators are the last line of defense for removing any shadow of a doubt about your customers' purchase.
3. Standing out in search with user generated content
User generated content is a great way to stand out from the competition, because it organically creates fresh and relevant content about your brand, products, or services. Imagine that you’ve signed up on a third party review platform and can passively gather 20 reviews per week. Then consider how difficult it would be to update your site with fresh content 20 times each week to get an equally positive effect.
Sharing what your customers are saying on site is a scalable way to keep your online presence fresh without draining your internal resources.
Better yet, customer reviews provide a window into the exact language your customers are actively using to describe your products or services, and these words also reflect how they search for your business online. Including user generated content on your site helps your business naturally rank for these kinds of long tail keywords, capturing warm search intent for customers seeking out the exact characteristics of your products or services.
The growing importance of customer reviews
The reasons why businesses should prioritize getting more reviews go on and on, but perhaps most importantly, reviews give customers a direct line of communication with businesses, and businesses a chance to get better where it matters.
If you’re ready to get closer to your customers, download Trustpilot's free Complete Guide to reviews below, and learn how review marketing can help you grow your business.