Some customers are reluctant to leave reviews after making a purchase. The reasons for this could range from apathy to impatience.
But these reviews are invaluable. They’re customers’ testimony that your products and services meet their expectations. Even negative feedback can help improve your company’s products and services.
Potential customers are also more likely to trust reviews from other customers. That’s why 49 percent of consumers trust online reviews as they do personal recommendations from friends and family.
In other words, online reviews help shape your brand’s reputation. This, in turn, can help you increase brand reach and sales.
In this article, you’ll learn how to turn reviews into brilliant and potent PR tools. But first:
There are several ways you can generate online reviews you can turn into PR tools. Let’s look at some ways:
Most of the time, happy customers are willing to leave reviews if they are provided with an easy way to do so.
What would be easier than a direct link to their inbox at the right time? If you combine a well-timed request with an alluring headline and message, you have good chances of getting glowing reviews.
Asking for reviews can be a tedious task if you do it manually. Luckily, there are tools like Trustmary that allow you to even automate the process.
With Trustmary, you can collect text and video reviews directly for your own use, or request online reviews for different platforms, such as Google or Facebook.
After you have collected reviews, you can add them to your website.
Here’s a hypothetical scenario: Burger King offers you two free large soft drinks with every customer review you submit. McDonalds merely encourages you to submit a review.
Where are you more likely to take action? Of course, exceptions exist, but the answer is most probably Burger King. After all, people are more likely to act if they’re rewarded for it.
In short, you should reward and incentivize your customers for their reviews. Consider leveraging the following:
Discounts: Many customers are reluctant to buy a product they haven’t tried before. But if you offer them a discount on their first purchase provided they leave a review, they’re more likely to oblige.
Customer VIP treatments: Offer loyal customers the opportunity to try new products not in the market yet in exchange for a review. Vogue does this:
It’s an effective strategy. Who doesn’t love a freebie after all?
Exclusive club membership: Here, you offer an exclusive club membership to customers who provide a steady stream of reviews, thoughts, and opinions on your product or service. That’s exactly what InStyle Magazine does:
InStyle also enters members into a quarterly raffle for a chance to win prizes each time they complete a review or survey.
Monitor what people–customers, influencers, and journalists—are saying about you. You can just use tools like Mention and Iconosquare to access feedback. Iconosquare, for instance, identifies where your audience tagged you on Instagram.
It then gives you an organized list of your brand mentions.
Polls can help you generate online reviews effectively. Polls on social media posts, in particular, generate an engagement rate of between 6% to 22%.
Check out this sample poll from Denny’s Diner:
You can use your poll results as they are or ask your audience to explain their vote in the comments section. You can use these instead as your PR tools.
With all three strategies, you have to make sure you ask your audience for permission to use their written reviews as PR tools.
Now that you know some strategies to generate online reviews, let’s look at how you can turn reviews into PR tools.
You don’t have to implement all these strategies at once. Just choose the ones you think you can work with given your available resources.
Once you have more resources, you can implement the others as you see fit.
Place outstanding reviews in notable spots, so they’re one of the first things visitors see when they reach your page. The more good reviews people see about you, the higher the likelihood they’ll form a positive perception of your brand.
See how Prince Men’s Wear, a clothing store, does this:
The store features customer reviews imported from Google and other sources next to the product categories. It’s done with Trustmary’s review widget.
Displaying positive reviews offers your potential customers a glimpse into the experience of satisfied customers. They essentially tell your website visitors they’ll have a great experience if they use your services, too.
In this example, the visitor can rest assured that the staff at the store is helpful and the selection is good. A place worth visiting!
Responding to negative reviews shows you care about your customers and want to improve your products and services. Customers will know you value their opinions.
Endeavor to reply quickly, though. When you reply immediately, you don’t just show your customers you’re always on hand to provide solutions and are, therefore, trustworthy. You also air your side immediately and erase any negative conclusion consumers might have made about your brand after reading the negative review.
If you think about it, this is also why you need to seek assistance from a PR crisis agency immediately if you find yourself in trouble. The longer you wait to address an issue, the more people will believe the other party hurling the allegations against you. For them it’s simple: if you’re not addressing the issue pointblank, then it must be true, right?
Sympathize with your customers. Don’t make excuses and take responsibility if it’s your fault. Reassure customers that the problem won’t happen again. If you think you need to issue a press release, do so. You can use a press release template to increase efficiency when addressing people’s concerns.
Here’s how Starbucks reassured this customer below and sought to help her out immediately:
Your response to negative comments doesn’t always have to be in written form. Post videos if you want to give your replies a more personal touch. You could even host a Q&A session to engage with your audience. It’s a direct line of communication which strengthens your relationship with them.
User reviews are crucial to your company’s social media marketing strategy. Positive online reviews can enhance your brand reputation and increase engagement on social channels. This can also help increase brand visibility.
Earlier, we talked about how you can create polls to generate customer reviews on social media. You can also use social media as a platform to repost your online reviews from other platforms.
For instance, if a satisfied customer left you a good review on a review site like Yelp, you can repurpose that review into either an organic social media post or a paid ad.
Check out this great ad from LifeBEAM, a company that produces artificial intelligence wearables:
Like all social media copy, keep your message short. You don’t necessarily have to post an entire customer review. Take the essential parts and use them as a catchy headline. Use visuals to capture the attention of social media users. Words alone won’t do the job.
Case studies demonstrate the positive effects your products have had on previous customers. As a result, they’re an effective way of enhancing your brand reputation.
You can write the review-based case studies yourself or let your satisfied customers write them for you. Of the two, the second option is probably the better one since they give the case studies a touch of authenticity.
Whichever option you choose, you should know that, unlike regular testimonials, case studies should be longer and contain specific data. They should be written as relatable stories with flow.
Patagonia, a clothing company, did a great job of leveraging review-based case studies written by customers themselves:
Patagonia’s Worn To Wear stories page also includes pictures of the customers who wrote the case studies. So website visitors assume what they’re reading was written by real people like them, too.
Your online reviews don’t always have to be from your regular customers. They can come from influencers or journalists, too. If an influencer or a journalist makes a good review of your product, you can amplify how your reputation is enhanced.
After all, that positive review won’t just reach one or two people. It can reach the thousands and even millions of followers the influencer or journalist has.
So, reach out to influencers and ask them to review your products. Use tools like Upfluence to find influencers in your niche:
You can use an email finder tool to search for your chosen influencer’s email addresses. Then craft your pitch for the collaboration.
When looking for journalists who can try out your products, make sure you do a search of their existing body of work first. You want to make sure they actually make reviews of the products you sell. Remember that journalists have their own beats or specializations.
As a final tip, never influence the evaluations of your chosen influencer or journalist. They should always give honest and authentic endorsements. So, if you want them to write positive things about your brand, just make sure your product and services are really high-quality in the first place.
Online reviews are powerful. They can ensure customers have a good perception of your brand. This, in turn, can lead to conversions.
But telling customers your products can solve their problems can only do so much. If you want to be more effective, turn reviews into PR tools.
You can do this by providing great products and services. Then you can ask people–customers, influencers, and journalists—to leave reviews.
Enhance the good PR effect of reviews by highlighting them on your website or leveraging influencer marketing or traditional media. You can also respond to negative reviews, if any. Repurpose your reviews for social media or create review-based case studies.
Follow these tips, and your brand reputation will reap maximum benefits.
Written in collaboration with Chris Norton, the founder of B2B PR agency Prohibition.
The best tactic is to ask. With tools like Trustmary, you can request reviews from your customers on a regularl basis. You can get online reviews by offering rewards for customer or conducting polls. You can also monitor brand mentions from customers, influencers, and the media, and use them as reviews, as long as you have permission to do so.
What are the benefits of online reviews?
Online reviews have several benefits but the most notable is increased customer confidence in your brand, giving you an edge over competitors. In other words, good online reviews give you good PR. Moreover, consistent positive reviews on social and your website can also increase your search engine visibility.
This then translates to increased conversion rates.
What are the best ways to turn reviews into PR tools?
Highlight the positive reviews on your website and leverage influencers and traditional media. These can help you amplify the PR effect of positive reviews.
You can also repurpose reviews for social media and create review-based case studies. Responding to negative reviews also helps, since it shows customers you care about what they think.
Trustmary is the most effective way to convert more sales by improving digital trust.