The Power of Online Reviews and How They Can Be Used To Boost ROI

Over the past few years, online product and service reviews have become more powerful than ever. Not only do they help consumers determine whether to use a particular company or not; online reviews can even be used to boost ROI substantially.

Benefits of Using Online Reviews

One of the main benefits associated with online reviews is that of purchase conversion. Research has revealed that consumers trust other consumers when it comes to performing research and obtaining input on services or products that they might want to purchase. This can range from as little as 5% to as much as 40%, depending on the category.

Another area where ROI is most noticed is in search - fresh and original content is what drives Google after all. There is however a tremendous difference in cost between paid search and driving organic search. Although review content has the ability to drive organic search anywhere between 10% and 20%, this will depend on how dense the content actually is and on the amount of relevant keywords manage to find their way into those search algorithms. It does have a significant impact on where people end up in search algorithm rankings.

Determining Where the Best Place is to Host Reviews

Sites such as Yelp or Angie's List are great places to have product and service reviews listed. Experts usually recommend that companies place review content directly on their websites and product pages as well because of the fact that it drives search. Clients who are working with services like Bazaarvoice can rest assured that all reviews are carefully moderated and digital authenticity checks are also performed. This ensures that all content coming through is 100% authentic. In cases where users simply don't have the means to do their own content generation, using content from a site like Yelp will be better than having nothing at all.

Best Practices for Handling Negative Reviews

In many cases, a brand or company will be judged more by the way it responds to negative feedback or reviews than that fact that there is any negative feedback. Regardless of how good a product or service is, it's bound to receive a little negative feedback at some point or other.

The first step that should be taken when responding to negative feedback is to apologize to the client regarding the fact that they have had a negative experience. Clients simply want to be acknowledged that they've had a bad experience. It is essential that action be taken to rectify the issue as well. In most cases, customers who have been acknowledged after posting negative feedback will be willing to let everyone know that their issues have been successfully resolved.

How Brands and Companies Can Obtain More Reviews from Clients

A highly effective way for companies to obtain more reviews from clients is to send an email asking them for reviews. Response rates to these mails tend to be high, meaning that they should obtain quite a few reviews in this manner.

Another effective method to obtain more reviews is for companies or brands to set up a lucky draw or sweepstakes. For example, "Send us your review and qualify for a free assessment/product."

A third option that can be used to obtain as many reviews as possible is to make use of product sampling. If you're launching a new product, consider sending samples out to anyone who is interested in trying your products. It's a good idea to obtain the reviews from this exercise before launching so that you can provide them to potential clients.

More important than anything else though, it's all in how a company or brand engages with consumers. Figuring out the best way to open two-way lines of communication with them is what will ensure that a company is successful over the long-term.