What are ratings and reviews and what can they do for your brand?
If you've been paying attention to marketing trends lately, you will have surely come across this term more than once. "Ratings and reviews" sounds like a magical spell that has become unavoidable whenever you look at reports for the future (and present) of marketing.
Indeed, ratings and reviews can be a magical spell for your business, as they can benefit it in multiple ways. And even though this notion sounds new for most of us, it's in fact tried and true and has been around for quite some time now.
Here's why customer reviews are vital for your brand, and how you can use them to promote your business effectively.
Consumer reviews either make or break the deal
Consumers that are considering wether or not to go through with a purchase, and even those that are sure of making it, will in general look at the reviews left by other customers to be sure of themselves before finalising it. This is especially true of consumers that are trying out a brand for the first time and thus have no previous experience or opinion of their own. Indeed, 90% of shoppers read at least one review before consuming a product/service. What's even more interesting is that 94% of consumers agree that a negative review makes them much less likely to purchase, and 85% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.
Customer opinion matters, and this isn't news to us. Before there was Internet, hotels would leave blank books in their reception area where satisfied guests could write down their impressions and experiences for the next travellers. Nowadays, hotels, restaurants and bars proudly display TripAdvisor badges of quality, an insignia earned by amassing thousands of positive comments and reviews on the app.
Seeing the importance that potential customers give to the opinions left by others, brands are left at the mercy of consumers, that may or may not want to leave a review and can be very capricious when doing so. Smaller brands that are just starting out are especially depending on this kind of feedback, as it can quickly boost their offer or on the contrary, make it stall.
So what can you do as a brand to make sure you're getting an effective feedback for your desired exposure?
Ratings and reviews campaigns, a must-do for any business
In the simplest of terms, a ratings and reviews campaign is a transaction wherein a brand provides a faithful consumer with a product and he, in exchange, gives the brand his detailed feedback an opinion of it. Allowing your clients to test your products in exchange for their feedback will result in many advantages for you and your brand:
- First and foremost, earning your customer's loyalty: you're giving them the privilege of trying out a product and giving direct feedback on it. This gives value to their opinion as consumers and proves that you, the brand, care about your customer's experience and feedback.
- You'll be able to massively test your product/service at a reduced cost and make changes wherever you perceive a recurring issue.
- You may ask for your reviews/feedback through any channel of your choice. This means you can ask your consumer to leave their opinion on a retailer website, directly on your own website, on your Facebook page, on Instagram comments... the possibilities are endless! This will provide your potential clients with plenty of reading material that will reassure them and make them trust your brand from the get-go.
- Having a good amount of reviews ranging from social media, to blogs, to retailer pages will have a big impact on your SEO, greatly improving your brand's positioning.
- Your sales and conversion rate will also be impacted as consumer's will be able to trust your brand thanks to the previous experience of their peers.
Every one of your clients has an area of influence - be it their friends and family, a moderate following on social media, or a broader internet audience when they decide to post a review. The power of these opinions isn't to be taken lightly. On the contrary, they're something you can build on and measure its effectiveness.
One step further with multimedia reviews
What's the traditional approach to collecting your customer's reviews? Typically, brands will send a follow-up email asking for a star rating or comment on how the purchasing experience went. Most customer's aren't immediately inclined to leave a review, and when doing so they're often short sentences or even single words: "Great product!" "Love it!" "Would buy again!".
Nowadays, potential clients are looking for more detailed reviews and information. When they're looking at beauty companies, they want to know if the product worked for someone with their skin type, or if they have options for darker skin tones, how well it lasts, how it smells... When it's a restaurant or café, they want to know wether the workers were nice, if they have good gluten free options, if it's a date-type environment or not... The short sentences, single word reviews definitely won't satisfy your customer's need for information and may push them to not go through with the purchase!
Multimedia reviews, on the other hand, are detailed reviews in the form of video, audio or very detailed text. However, the only way to ensure effective multimedia reviews is through ratings and reviews campaigns. These campaigns are addressed at experienced shoppers or nano influencers (less than 5k followers) that will test the product and provide the brand with a very detailed review. As a brand carrying out a collaboration, you can precise the kind of information you wish to receive from your testers, the format and the channel. These kind of reviews are the ones that will attract and reassure your consumers as they'll provide them with very specific information without having to test the products themselves. If you have a wide variety of products, this will help direct your consumer to the offer that's most suitable to him within your range.
Reviews and customer's opinions are the most honest way in which a brand can communicate its qualities. It's a direct endorsement of your product by satisfied consumers. All your clients have valuable insights and opinions, so why not give value to them and profit from their experience?