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  • Dr. Ipshita Basu Guha

How to use a proven method and watch your sales skyrocket

The Lesser-known world of Product Reviews


Image Credit: Photo by Shotkit from Pexels



INTRODUCTION

If you want your business to grow you have to increase your sales volume either in the same segment or by targeting new segments. Either way, you need to sell more units. Period.

Your marketing efforts will be effective only to an extent. You need to do more than produce, package and market a rock star product.

There is a famous quote: Caesar’s wife should not only be above suspicion but she should appear to be so.

Your target audience, prospects, should believe that your product is valuable. Customers nowadays lean on product reviews to help them through the second stage of Dewey’s buying process – information search. 72% of customers won’t take any buying actions until they’ve read reviews. 73% of customers place more value on the written review, rather than the star rating.


It does not matter if you are in the B2B or B2C segment, your online reputation hinges on the kind of reviews you receive. And they affect your top-line. Product reviews are deal-breakers. According to research by Spiegel, verified reviews improve the likelihood of purchases by 15%.


I can share from my experience that checking product reviews for everything that I intend to buy is now muscle memory. Technology is an enabler in amplifying customer views. It has led to increased customer engagement in refining the purchase process making it reciprocal. This creates a significant opportunity for small business owners to gather actionable feedback.


If you glance through the customer reviews on Amazon, you will observe many customers take the effort to post pictures of unboxing the product and comment on its performance, ease of buying, the efficiency of the delivery. They are vocal about any gaps between expectation and reality which enable the company to identify the areas for improvement. But only some customers are enthusiastic enough to write reviews.

Companies should develop a specific strategy to capture customer data and engage with them to seek their feedback.

Online review research by Womply states that businesses with 25 or more current reviews may earn 108% more revenue. (Womply)

What are you doing to leverage this option?

In this post, we will discuss the value of product reviews in boosting your sales and how can you involve your customers in writing informative reviews to improve your offering.

Customers want implicit assurance that the product performs the way it is communicated and claimed by the company. They want to be confident about their decision to purchase your product.


HOW PRODUCT REVIEWS REFINE INFORMATION SEARCH

B2B and B2C businesses are betting on content marketing to guide their prospects with functional information to move ahead in the buying process. They are not pulling any stops when it comes to exquisitely crafted videos, images, blog posts, eBooks, and infographics at every touchpoint. You are probably doing the same for your product.

There’s only one issue. All these are push forms of content which means it talks about the product from your company’s marketing perspective. Naturally, such type of content suffers from bias.


Product reviews fit in beautifully when blended with push content to moderate the bias. It also works at a subconscious level while persuading your audience. Product reviews are paths to get inside your customer’s head and see the world through their eyes and gain perspective.


Your customers want honest evidence of the performance of your product. The questions they have are - Will it do the job that it is supposed to do? Will it make my life easier? These are the information that your customer wants to solve a problem.


When you get user-generated feedback on your product in the form of reviews, you come to know what concerns them, what’s important, and what are they ready to pay for. It gives you the input to craft conversion-driven content because you will be answering the prospect’s questions.


In-depth product reviews give small businesses the opening to establish an intimate connection with the audience, hear their experience/ feedback, and respond to address their issues. 41% of customers say that when brands reply to their online reviews, it makes them feel the company really cares about their customers. (Bazaarvoice)


PRODUCT REVIEWS BOOSTS YOUR CONTENT CREDIBILITY

Every product website has a section on customer testimonials but a skeptic would always question them. Companies seek out happy customers to give positive testimonials. Ask yourselves - is it possible that a product does not have drawbacks? It is unblemished and flawless.


You should explore the option to link up to product reviews on third-party sites as a source of information instead of testimonials. Customers anyway check for reviews on forums and independent sites before making a decision. If you provide the same on your website, it increases your credibility.

You might be wondering – what about all the negative reviews? 67% of B2B buyers want to see a mix of both positive and negative reviews when checking out a business. (G2 and Heinz Marketing) 72% of B2B buyers say negative reviews give depth and insight into a product. (G2 and Heinz Marketing)


Negative reviews or severe comments are the reality of digital media. You cannot sidestep them. But with the right strategy, you can use them to your company’s benefit. They are customer magnets. If your customer knows your capabilities, they will be ready to accept you even with your flaws and drawbacks.

Image Credit: Photo by Jon Tyson onUnsplash


A balanced product review pushes customers down the information search stage to the consideration phase. It has the power to convert prospects to customers. As a content marketer, I would say that product reviews are of great value because they are direct and low-cost.

The challenge is to extract good product reviews from your customers whether positive or negative.


PERSUADE CUSTOMERS TO WRITE YOUR PRODUCT’S REVIEW

Amazon tracks every sale and within a fixed period sends a reminder to the buyer asking for their review. We can reply simply by giving a star rating or write in details. Few people make the effort to write an in-depth review. Those who had a bad experience tend to write more.

We can encourage all buyers to share their reviews by helping them with a template or directional inputs. Everyone is not a wordsmith. The idea is to help them write reviews not just good reviews. They can share their reviews as videos while operating the product. It will make the review authentic and authoritative.


It is negative reviews that we are more interested in. Simply writing off the product does not help anyone – us or other customers. Viewers can only benefit from reading the product performance shortfall, or specifics of the problem area like packaging, delivery, installation, or operation. How it affected the buyer and what was the post-sales experience like?


One effective method is to motivate the customers to participate in surveys. Give a freebie like free service for the product as an incentive.

Pew Research has found that 38% of Americans never leave a review. That is probably because no one explicitly asked them to.

Are you asking your customers to leave reviews?


CONCLUSION

You might have observed the rise of influencers in social media. Companies pay a ton of money so the influencers push their product. It is nothing but a form of product review but more intimate and persuasive.


There is a difference though. An influencer is paid for the reviews and given the product to try out for free. A customer on the other hand buys the product and tries it. Therefore, a customer’s word holds more weight. (Well that’s how I see influencers) Now with the digital tools, a customer’s voice can be heard loud and clear. They are playing a critical role in influencing decisions in the buying process which impacts a company’s revenue numbers.


Data shows that customers bank on product reviews. Just hit “<brand name>+product+review” in a search engine and see what happens.


I will prod small business owners to doggedly go after their customers to secure product reviews. An insightful statement from your customer will help you acquire more.


Do not forget to ask your customers for reviews. Use the insights for your content marketing strategy and see how well you connect with your audience.

The customer is at the center of everything that we do. Content should be about what they want to know not what we want to say.

How do you intend to persuade your customers to share their reviews?


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