Online reviews have significant ROI with customers and prospects

This is a guest post from Adam Beeson, director of communications, G2 Crowd.

Online reviews matter, a lot. A 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey from SEO and citation building service BrightLocal found that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In one year, that number jumped up by four points.

With so many potential and current customers seeking information about your product or your company’s strengths and weaknesses, it is important to know how to engage with customer-generated reviews.

Online reviews are one of the most important and effective marketing techniques in your company’s toolbox.  As with any of your marketing efforts, it is equally important to know the benefits and costs. Here are few ways customer reviews can help you build your brand while providing a solid return on investment.

Customer Benchmark

Online reviews give your marketing, customer and product teams real-time, concrete feedback and data.  These reviews provide real insights into the customer experience that you cannot find anywhere else.

It’s been proven that online reviews lend credibility to a brand, particularly on third-party sites. And, while we all love those glowing, five-star reviews, potential customers know there is no way 100 percent of customers would rate a product five-stars. It is impossible to be perfect for everyone.  In fact, it’s those three- and four-star ratings that potential customers often feel are more authentic.

Think of it this way: as a potential customer, would you trust a company with 200 reviews—mostly positive, with a few negatives sprinkled in the mix? Or would you prefer a product that has only five or 10 stellar reviews?

A less than positive review offers multiple opportunities for your business. It shows your company is open to constructive feedback and helps you to identify rough spots you can improve on in your product.

A critical review also allows you to publicly solve a problem. This demonstrates to current and prospective clients that your business is invested in its customers, as well as creating a superior product and experience.

Customers Get a Sneak Peek

Say you’re in search of a better team collaboration tool for your company. You’ve heard good things about Slack, so you begin reading a mix of negative, positive and middle-of-the-road reviews on G2 Crowd. These reviews give you insight into how the tool works in various-sized organizations, as well as different roles within a company. You also learn what users find useful or cumbersome about the search function, and how the tool integrates with other platforms. You can see both the good and the bad about Slack.  Most importantly, you get to decide what is relevant to you as you go through the research and decision making process.

When a prospective client reads a blend of online reviews, it gives them insight into what they should expect from that product or service.

Customer Trust and Loyalty

Digital karma is alive and well and people generally trust online reviews.  When they are posted and verified on a third-party review site, they are seen as authentic and unbiased, allowing reviewers to say what they really think about a product or service.

The BrightLocal survey also found that nearly nine out of 10 consumers determine whether or not they can trust a business after reading just 10 reviews. Thus, the more reviews of your product, the more trust is built in the minds of prospective customers. And, once a customer has done business with you and trusts you, they’re more likely to do business with you again.

Customers Love Other Customers

For existing customers, online reviews are a good way to gauge their satisfaction with your product or service. A negative or lukewarm review is an opportunity for you to catch and improve on issues they may have—before renewal time. If you meet and/or exceed your customer’s’ expectations, then that’s one customer you’ve retained.

As you build the trust, boost your site traffic, and improve your product as a result of customer feedback, you’re in a position to directly impact your bottom line. The transparency and insights of your company’s reviews can set you apart from your competitors, allowing you to convert those prospective clients through your online presence.

And as you are looking to measure the ROI of a review, remember to track and determine the costs of doing the following things:

  1. Collect and report the average customer rating and reviews
  2. Collect and share the precise feedback you uncovered as part of the review then measure if changes were made; go back after 6 months to see if review scores improved, stayed the same or decreased
  3. Compare the number of new customers and total customer spend once you started leveraging reviews vs before reviews. Hint: both numbers are greater than before.

With a little time and a solid understanding of reviews as a viable marketing tool, you can significantly boost your company’s ROI, while increasing your brand reputation and attracting a wider audience. I think that’s a win-win.



This is a guest post from Adam Beeson, director of communications, G2 Crowd.

About Adam

Adam BeesonAdam Beeson serves as the director of communications for the world’s largest business solutions review site, G2 Crowd. Beeson built his career driving communications that demystify complex topics and differentiate organizations in the public eye. His more than fifteen-year career has its foundation in the chaotic world of Chicago politics, followed by more than eight-years in the rapidly changing health care industry. In his free time, Beeson is a husband and father of two. He also spends countless hours volunteering as an American football coach to athletes in their mid-teens.

Say Hi to Adam and the folks at G2 Crowd on Twitter @abeeson20 and @G2Crowd and connect with Adam on LinkedIn here.


Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

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