The typical sales funnel has changed a lot over the last decade, thanks to the emergence of digital marketing as a major influencer. The consideration stage is no longer just carried out by potential customers visiting showrooms or brand dealers, or browsing through a few catalogues or brochures. Consideration is now a deeply intense process that involves watching YouTube videos about the product and its uses, reading online articles and blogs that talk about practicality and show comparisons, but most importantly, the consideration process is dominated by online reviews.
Online reviews are the physical equivalent of asking your friends and family for their opinion before making a purchase decision. It is also the number one decision-making tool for most online buyers. Potential customers look for these reviews on eCommerce websites or find similar opinions through influencer channels. As a company with a presence online, it, therefore, becomes crucial for you to handle your online reputation consistently and efficiently since more often than not, these days, the average customer is more likely to trust an online review almost as much they would trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.
Reviews determine your business
Whether you’re selling a product or a service, or whether you’re a small business owner or a multinational corporation, your online reputation is everything. The online reviews that former clients and customers leave on your social media accounts or other review platforms can literally make or break your business, which is why online reputation management is of the utmost importance. It is crucial that you a business owner pay close attention to what is being said about your business, with all reviews – negative or positive, being responded to. While this can be done yourself if you are a single or small business owner, as you grow, it may be prudent to outsource this to a dedicated digital marketing team.
Good reviews are crucial for remote businesses
If there’s one thing that the COVID19 pandemic has taught us, it is that a business needs to be able to adapt swiftly in order to survive. Companies like Nordic Intent who is based in Norway with offshore offices in Goa, India, know this better than anyone. Apart from just adopting a remote working environment that increases productivity, due to the pandemic, Nordic Intent had to change their sales model entirely.
Remote or virtual companies will find that even though some of them may have extremely professional office spaces and a sought after work culture, these pros are irrelevant when trying to sell services remotely. Potential clients will instead rely on current or former client feedback, online reviews, and recommendations to make a decision, which is why the need for a positive online reputation is more relevant now than before.
Using trusted platforms and making reviews simple
If by this point you’re thinking that all this is pretty obvious, but that getting ‘good reviews’ is easier said than done, then chances are that you’re probably not doing everything you can do to secure that opportunity. Getting a review, especially a positive review, is usually uncommon since customers are more likely to share negative experiences over positive ones. This means that we as companies need to reach out to our clients and ask for them.
If you are a B2B company, you can reach out to current or former clients and request reviews and recommendations for use on your website, or through platforms like LinkedIn or UpWork. Alternatively, if you are a B2C company, you can encourage end-users to leave positive reviews by offering discount vouchers. Another great way to solicit online reviews is by sending a short survey as soon as a job or project has been completed. Whichever route you choose, it is important to acknowledge good reviews with an appreciative response. In the event of a negative review, however, you will want to address the concern immediately and with empathy, and by assuring a positive resolution.
Use reviews to increase your visibility online
By now we have seen how important a genuinely positive response to your product or service is online. These ‘good reviews’ are only effective when they reach the right people at the right time, so it is important to be where your customers are. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Social Media: The majority of end-users and even businesses use social media as a reference point. Since platforms like Facebook and Twitter inevitably become sounding boards for user experience, it is important to constantly monitor and engage with your customers through these platforms – especially if this is where your target audience resides.
- Industry-specific sites: There are a number of different platforms geared towards specific industries. Websites like TripAdvisor are essential to hotels, while sites like Zomato are crucial for restaurant reputation. In the same way, you will need to find out what forums and platforms host reviews and discussions about your industry so that you can manage your reputation there.
- Reviews should be authentic: Do not fall prey to underhand tactics that include creating fake profiles to write reviews, or buying positive reviews. Customers and clients these days know better, which means you could be doing more harm than good.
Adapting to the changes in the consideration phase of the customer journey is imperative for a successful business. This includes reputation management, and the potential of customer reviews to make or break a business. What are your views on this? Have you worked with Nordic Intent and would like to leave a review for us? Then feel free to visit us on all our social media handles.