As we enter the year 2023, statistics reveal that consumers continue to be less and less likely to trust traditional marketing. According to BrightLocal, 84% of consumers report that they no longer trust advertisements, and millennials, in particular, are really turned off by them (unless the advertising is coming from one of their favourite digital stars). Not only that, but the global COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the decline of traditional advertising and foregrounded alternative digital marketing strategies, including authentic consumer reviews.
Since the advent of the internet, online reviews have been steadily gaining significance as an integral element of digital marketing. They can dramatically impact your business's ability to attract and retain customers as well as your conversion rates (for better or for worse). Online reviews also contribute to search engine optimization (SEO).
Did you know that 93% of consumers report that they consult online reviews before making a purchase and that 94% have avoided a business based purely on its online reviews? These are powerful statistics that drive home the vital importance of review generation and online reputation management for your business.
Positive and negative reviews alike can both drive sales but must be handled differently. In this post, we're going to focus on positive reviews. Many business owners wonder if a response to a positive review is even necessary. Here, we're going to see that it most definitely is and, furthermore, how you can turn a good review into an outstanding opportunity to grow your business further.
Let's spend some time considering the elements that make a good review and how to maximize your response to one, as well as exploring some popular online review platforms. Stick with us until the end of this post, and you'll gain some important industry wisdom on how to make the absolute most of the positive reviews your business receives.
Plain and simple, a review is public feedback provided by a customer who has had firsthand experience with a particular business. A review might be the result of customer feedback specifically elicited by a business (e.g., a survey or review request) or could be left spontaneously by a customer on any number of dedicated review platforms. Excellent customer reviews are often featured on business websites but can also be found via a simple search engine query.
Reviews usually include a numerical rating (often a star rating out of five) as well as a written component. Depending on the platform, different elements of a business may be rated separately (e.g., customer service, product, price). In other cases, the business may get just one overall rating from reviewers.
In a review, customers often provide details about their experience with a business and tell other potential customers whether or not they'd recommend it.
While getting a positive review is something to celebrate no matter what, there’s definitely a hierarchy within the world of positive reviews. Indeed, some positive reviews are more positive than others for a variety of reasons. Learning to recognize the standout positive reviews your business receives can help you highlight them and give them the attention they merit.
Let's take a look at some of the factors that set certain reviews apart:
A five-star rating is a beautiful thing, but stars only tell you so much. Have you ever scrolled straight past a five-star review (or a one-star review, for that matter) that had no words to accompany it? Us too. There's not much else to do. Without some details, the number of stars is pretty void of meaning.
Numerical ratings are subjective. Even when there are words to accompany a five-star rating, they can vary drastically. One reviewer reserves their five-star rating for the top 1% of all experiences, while another includes quite a bit of criticism in theirs.
The point is that an impactful positive review goes beyond the number of stars. Look at reviews holistically, and you'll see the bigger picture.
A really great review describes the customer's experience in detail. While hearing that your restaurant is "good" is certainly not a bad thing, you'd much rather hear about the friendly staff, prompt service, trendy decor, and tasty appetizers.
And so would your potential customers.
Capitalize on reviews that are both positive and filled with specifics.
Speaking of specifics, there's hardly anything more annoying or frustrating than a review that states that a customer had a "great experience" or a "poor experience" without elaboration. The best types of positive reviews tell you (and potential future customers) exactly what the customer loved and appreciated.
For example: "I loved the classic red leather booths and ‘50s style decor. Our waiter, Henry, was witty and helpful, and the cheeseburger was moist and out of this world!"
Now there's some specific feedback you can really sink your teeth into—metaphorically speaking, of course!
Good reviews are important because they attract customers. When customers are searching for a product or service, they want to see what other unbiased consumers have to say. 94% of consumers report that a negative review has made them change their mind about a business. Not only that, but customers are also 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience. Yikes!
These statistics are a bit unnerving, but they also really underscore the counteractive potential of positive reviews and the importance of nurturing them.
Besides being a standalone testament to your business's positive attributes, good reviews are also a wonderful opportunity to engage your target audience. When you respond to an online review, you're not just responding to the reviewer. Rather, you're putting a human face on your business for all the potential customers out there.
A well-written response to a positive review develops a rapport with your customer base and can also be a great opportunity to further highlight the strengths of your business.
For example, if a customer loved your special of the day, expand on their comment by listing your upcoming specials and inviting them to return and try another one. Now the cat's out of the bag and you've hopefully piqued other potential customers' interest as well. Boom!
There are lots of review platforms out there, but statistics show that 88% of all reviews come from just 4 review sites. They are: Google (73%), Yelp (6%), Facebook (3%), and Tripadvisor (3%). Of course, many other niche review platforms may be extremely relevant for your specific business as well.
Let's take a closer look.
Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in the world and millions of people worldwide turn to Facebook for business reviews every day. Your business should definitely be getting a slice of that pie, so be sure to foreground Facebook as part of your review generation strategy.
Yelp is an American company that publishes crowd-sourced business reviews. With more than 4.5 million reviews and 46 thousand annual visitors to its desktop webpages alone, it's a formidable platform and one that you want to see studded with great reviews of your business.
Formerly Google My Business, your Google Business Profile is what shows up when people search for your business on Google (by far the world's foremost search engine). Setting up your Google Business Profile is simple. It only takes a few minutes and opens the door to online reviews from anyone with a Google account. That's a whole lot of potential reviews and a lot of potential customers looking at them.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is not one of the top four global review platforms, but we've included it because it's a bit unique. In order to be approved by the BBB, your business has to be vetted and meet specific ethical and business standards. When people find your business through the BBB, they’ll automatically know that you've put in the effort to ensure it stands out from the crowd. Definitely something to consider.
We've established why positive reviews are important for your business and identified some features that make a positive review really stand out. Now it's time to consider how to respond to positive reviews.
Why respond to positive reviews?
First off, it's just the right thing to do. Someone took the time to pay your business a compliment—the least you can do is acknowledge it. If that person were standing in front of you in the real world, you'd certainly say thanks. Your courtesy on the internet should be no different. Besides, it will make that customer feel heard and appreciated—and more likely to bring their business back again.
As we mentioned earlier, responding to online reviews gives you a platform for speaking to a wider audience. You may not be able to control what a reviewer puts out into the universe, but you can certainly control your response. And that's worth a lot, so take the reins with confidence, and don't miss your opportunity to shine!
Consider how your response to a positive review can further enhance your humanity and draw in even more customers. This is an important practice and not something to overlook as a business owner. Also, don't put responding to positive reviews on your to-do list and forget about it. Customers (and potential customers) appreciate a prompt response. If you wait too long, your response will no longer be relevant.
Of course, there are many ways to respond to positive reviews, but here are three possible ideas to get you started:
A thank you is better than nothing, and may be appropriate in response to a very minimal review. That being said, we don't recommend simple thank-yous overall. Generic responses are boring and lackluster. They won't garner the kind of punchy reactions you're probably hoping for.
Our advice? Respond to every positive review with a thorough and personal message that further highlights your business's strengths rather than relying on standard platitudes.
Try this on for size: Respond to positive feedback with more positive feedback and see your consumer base and future positive reviews grow. Someone left you a fantastic review? Respond by offering them something extra-special in return. Discount codes and coupons are just two examples. You could also invite them back for a free product, unique experience, or personal visit. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
This one is perfect for building trust and setting the stage for a long-term relationship with a valued client. While a personal thank-you note may not impress the masses, it will build trust and loyalty. This may be an optimal choice if you operate a business that relies on retaining customers over time. Consider sending an exclusive invitation (or invitations) to a special event or experience connected with your business.
A textbook response to a positive online review should include a few key elements. Aside from responding personally and in a timely manner, these are:
"Hi, Jane. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us such positive feedback. Our team always strives for excellence, and it means a lot to us to hear when we've hit the mark. Did you know that we've recently opened a new location to serve clients like you even more conveniently? Please find a link to a coupon included for the next time you require our services."
"Hello, Joe. What a pleasure to read your kind words about your experience with our business. As you have noted, we are committed to outstanding customer service, but it's always great to know we've gotten it right. Did you know that we are now reachable 24/7 to serve you even better? Please ask for me personally next time you're in the office so I can say hello to you myself. All the best until then!"
"Jane, thanks a million for your five-star review of The Breakfast Nook. We always strive to create a cheerful atmosphere, so it sure is nice to hear that we put a smile on your face all day long. Yes, our chef's pancakes are light and fluffy indeed. But next time, you'll have to also sample his delectable Belgian waffles with fresh fruit (one of our house classics). Next time you visit The Breakfast Nook, show this discount code for a free coffee on us."
"Hi, Joe. What a pleasure to hear that our fish and chips were the best you've ever had! Thanks for motivating us by taking the time to let us know. Next month, we're having a local beer-tasting event, and we hope you'll come back for it! Bring a friend, and we'll provide a pint on the house for both of you."
"Dear Jane, It was a pleasure to hear that your business has benefited from our services and that our marketing team exceeded your expectations. While we always try to go above and beyond, it's really great to know when we succeed! Our team continues to provide a high level of service each and every day, and we look forward to working with you again in the future."
"Dear Joe, Thanks for your positive review and for highlighting the excellent job that Chris did in helping your business reach its goals. We’ll pass your feedback directly to him. We are fortunate to have a whole team of equally dedicated digital marketers and can't wait to serve you again."
As we've seen in this post, online reviews are a critical part of digital marketing in today's world, and positive reviews, in particular, must be treated with special attention.
Feeling a little daunted by the task of eliciting, reading, and responding to all your business's online reviews? Rep.co's proprietary review management software can help. For more information, contact us directly at Rep.co today!