Blog post by: Drew Rhodes, Baer Performance Marketing Intern
Relationships in business mean everything, and today, technology can further build and strengthen those relationships. Consumers are placing an increasing amount of trust in what they read online. First impressions are being made through profile pictures and social media advertising, and after a quick peek at a rating, we’re climbing into strangers’ cars and staying in other people’s homes while on vacation.
And while face-to-face recommendations and referrals will always be a part of bringing in new business, today, the battle is also won through positive online reviews. By inserting social proof online for potential customers to see and including it as part of your marketing strategy, you will build confidence with prospective clients and draw them into your business.
There are a few things any business can do when trying to build relationships with a faceless online customer:
Establish an Easy System
The first step in building positive reviews online is “establishing a system” that allows your previous customers to conveniently write a review about your company. Unless the customer has had a terribly upsetting or negative experience with your business, they probably aren’t going to go out of their way to leave a review. You must encourage them to do so while making the process as easy as possible for them. Consider placing links to your review profiles in other marketing channels, including email marketing, printed newsletters and your website.
Once you start collecting positive reviews from customers, be sure to have a plan in place with how you will promote them! Reviews can be incorporated into graphics and shared through social media or paid online advertising campaigns. They can also be displayed on your website to help build trust.
The best PR is a personal recommendation. In today’s technology-driven world, there are countless ways to generate referrals, but the most successful programs typically present some sort of value to both the customer providing the referral as well as the potential customer receiving the referral. UBER, for example, incentivizes referrals by offering current customers $5 off for every new rider they refer. The new customers are then given their first ride for free. UBER also makes it easy for riders to invite new customers through social media.
If your online marketing strategy relies on driving search traffic to your business’ website, then it also relies, to a major extent, on online reviews. And while you can’t expect every customer to take the extra time to leave a review or pass along a referral—even when you ask—if you develop a process or routine that can be followed consistently by your sales and marketing staff, you’ll see them accumulate.
If you have any questions or experiences you’d like to share regarding online reviews and referrals, please connect with us in the comment section!