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September 2020

Online Reviews

WHY ONLINE REVIEWS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF BUSINESS GROWTH

WHY ONLINE REVIEWS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF BUSINESS GROWTH 900 600 Jen Hiltunen

Your online reputation plays a crucial role in attracting new customers. The look and functionality of your website, the content on your blog, and how active you are on social media all contribute to how you are seen online, but the biggest factor affecting your online reputation is customer reviews. Reviews on social media or sites like Google and Yelp can have a significant effect on whether a potential client chooses to work with your company. Let’s take a closer look at why reviews are such a powerful tool for business growth.

Social Proof

Online reviews are the biggest source of social proof your company can have — and an effective one at that. Direct customer feedback in the form of reviews creates social proof trust, encouraging others to buy. We are all much more likely to buy from or even engage with a company if others (even complete strangers) say the product or company is a good one.

Reviews have become so much a part of how we make our buying decisions that these days we’re more likely to consult online reviews when we’re checking out a new business than anything or anyone else — even our friends and family.

In case you think we’re overstating the importance of reviews for social proof, check out these statistics from Invespro:

  • 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Customers are likely to spend 31% more money on a business with “excellent” reviews

If people like what they see in your online reviews, they are much more likely to choose your company over others.

Stand Out Online

Stand Out OnlineHaving a steady stream of new reviews also makes your company more likely to show up when consumers are searching online. Google and other search engines all have their own algorithms and ways of indexing content, but every one of them values fresh, original content — and customer reviews fall into that category. Companies with many positive reviews rank higher with Google than those that have poor reviews or no reviews at all.

A consistent influx of fresh reviews from your customers will help your business rank higher with search engines, making you more visible online and easier for potential customers to find.

Build Trust

Build TrustA regular stream of positive reviews helps build trust and credibility with your audience, positioning you as an authority in your field. Positive reviews build consumer confidence in your company, which results in more sales. They bring legitimacy to your business and let potential customers know who you are, what you do, and why you are a better choice than your competitors.

According to Invespro:

  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 92% will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating
  • 56% of customers read 2-6 reviews before deciding to trust a business
  • 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review

In addition, a whopping 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews! But note that it says they will “hesitate to purchase”, not that they definitely won’t purchase. Even the way you respond to critical reviews can help build consumer trust — a timely and appropriate response shows that you care about the experience your customers have with your business. Taking the time to respond to criticism in a positive and helpful way will go a long way with potential customers.

Get Valuable Feedback

Customer reviews can help you discover where you excel…and where you don’t. Reviews can give you an idea of what’s working in your business, what’s not, and what your customers are actually experiencing when they work with you (including the things they won’t tell you in person). They can give you tangible ways to improve as well as successes to boast about in your marketing.

While no one wants negative reviews, if you take the opportunity to learn from them they can actually be quite valuable. Knowing what problems your customers are experiencing with your business gives you the chance to fix the problem, make amends with the customer, and invite them to try you again. And as we mentioned above, our response to critical reviews can build trust with current and future customers.

Make sure to respond to every review — positive and negative alike. Offering personalized responses to reviews gives a friendly face to your company and shows that you are open to feedback.

Generate Leads

Since people use websites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and LinkedIn to conduct research before they buy, these sites can be powerful lead generation sources. Ranking high on sites like these will help you stand out to potential clients, give them the information they’re looking for as they do their research, and show them that you are worth their time and money.

Make sure to completely fill out your profiles on these sites. If you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, set one up today (it’s free and easy). Claim your business on Yelp and complete your profile there. Fill out your profiles on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn as well. The more complete your profiles are on these sites, the more legitimate you look to potential clients. Once your profiles are complete, start asking past and current clients for reviews.

How to Ask Your Customers for Reviews

Asking For ReviewsWe know it can be difficult to know how to ask your customers for reviews. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. First, decide when to send your review requests. The ideal time to ask for a review is right after your customer experiences a success with your product or business. This is when they will be most excited about your business and have the most to say. But the end of the quarter or year can also be a great time to send out requests, since many companies are reviewing how their business has done over the past several months or year.
  2. Next, capture their attention by offering an incentive for submitting a review or testimonial — like a gift card for coffee or some company swag. Offering a little something in return for their time can convince people to take action and write a review. (Note: Some review sites may have policies against offering incentives for reviews, so check the site’s policy before offering these perks).
  3. Make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Include a link to the site you want them to leave a review on right in your email, so all they have to do is click and start writing.
  4. Prompt them with questions to answer in their review. Give them a list of simple questions to answer that will help them quickly get to the heart of why they are happy with your product or service. Use open-ended questions to avoid one-word responses.

Still feeling stuck? We’ve created a resource to help you get more reviews and recommendations from your clients. Click here to download a template you can use to write an effective review request email.

It can feel awkward asking your clients for reviews, but the benefits far outweigh those brief moments of discomfort. Plus, you might be surprised at how eager your clients are to sing your praises — if working with you has helped them or their business thrive, they will want to share that with the world.

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

HOW EBOOKS CAN GENERATE LEADS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

HOW EBOOKS CAN GENERATE LEADS FOR YOUR BUSINESS 900 600 Jamie Beebe

Lead generation: it’s a constant need for a growing business. Without quality leads, your growth will stagnate and you’ll go nowhere fast. For most businesses, lead generation is the number one goal for their marketing dollars — in fact, in 2016, 85% of B2B marketers put lead generation at the top of their content marketing goals.

You’ve probably heard us say before that content marketing is key to generating quality leads. Customers like when a business is willing to meet them halfway, providing something of value to win their business. Blog posts are the most common example of this, but their longer, more comprehensive cousin — the eBook — is rising in popularity and proving to be equally effective for generating quality leads. Let’s take a closer look at eBooks.

What is an eBook?

An eBook is a practical guide or analysis that addresses a concept or trend of interest to your audience and provides information that your prospects can apply to their own challenges. eBooks are conversational in tone (unlike the more scholarly whitepaper) and typically present an overall look at an issue, trend, or industry. An eBook can include original content, collect product reviews, case studies, or testimonials, or curate content that has appeared in other formats (such as blog posts).

eBooks are designed for skimming. They don’t need to be extremely long — generally anywhere from 12-40 pages or so will suffice. Content is usually broken into smaller sections, separated with visual components like bulleted lists, photos, icons, call-outs, or infographics. An eBook should be equally informative and entertaining, presenting information that is quickly absorbed and easily implemented in a visually stimulating format.

Different Types of eBooks

An eBook can be organized in dozens of ways, but the following are six of the most effective formats for businesses.

  • Step-by-Step Guide. A “how-to” eBook, used to answer the “how do i…” questions your clients have or highlight the ways that your products or services can aid in the process of doing something that is relevant to your audience.
  • Deep Dive. A highly educational eBook used to walk your readers more thoroughly through a step in a process or dig deeper into a particular topic.
  • The Roundup. An eBook made up of compiled resources or expertise either from other sources or from your own previously written content. This could be used to compile information from experts on a topic or gather old blogs together into one cohesive presentation.
  • Q&A. Pretty self-explanatory, this eBook is like a more extensive FAQ page. Use it to address the key questions you get from clients or questions that hold your audience back from connecting with you.
  • Tips, Tricks, and Lists. Use this type of eBook to focus on a popular question your readers have that is related to your business, offering a series of suggestions or resources.
  • Diagnostic Assessment. Similar to a troubleshooting tool, this style of eBook is ideal if your audience has different types of problems that can be solved with your method, services, or products.

Build Trust With Your Audience

There is one very important psychological element involved in the process of closing a sale that those of us in business should never forget — trust. A customer needs to trust you before they’ll buy what you’re selling. There’s a reason no one wants to buy from sleazy used car salesmen — we don’t trust people who are trying to push us into buying a product. One of the best ways to attract leads and close sales is by establishing your trustworthiness. Offering your audience a relevant eBook can help accomplish that.

eBooks are not brochures or sales pamphlets. Instead, the focus of an eBook is on educating your prospective customers. Giving potential clients information that helps them arrive at a meaningful decision is a soft-touch way of persuading them that you are the right choice. Customers go through three stages before purchasing: awareness, consideration, and decision. eBooks take the customer from the consideration stage to the decision stage by offering useful content and highlighting your credibility.

eBooks are informative and educational in nature. They raise important questions and concerns customers have and answer those questions with evidence, research, and logic without pushing a sale. Offering useful information in the form of an eBook can not only help you complete a sale, it can also establish your business as a thought leader in your field and convince customers that you are an expert in your domain.

How eBooks Generate Leads

An eBook offers valuable resources that website visitors will be willing to trade information about themselves to access. In fact, a recent report showed that 63 percent of users said they’d provide their email for an eBook.

An eBook offers a sort of “sample” of what you are selling (much like those pizza samples we all love at the grocery store). It shows your audience you have worthwhile products or services to offer and you’re willing to prove that. An eBook is attractive to consumers because it doesn’t seem like a marketing tool. Instead, it presents more like a way to provide expertise or entertainment. It shows off your knowledge and gives website visitors a way to engage with you that requires little commitment on their part. This opens a door for you to nurture and convert them into customers.

What’s more, eBooks are easy to promote on social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, as well as in email newsletters or by adding a link to your email signature. They provide the opportunity to start a conversation with your audience and drive them to your website. More website visits = more opportunities to generate leads and convert them into clients.

Want to see an example? A member of our team recently wrote an eBook for our website detailing some of the top reasons to outsource your marketing — check it out here!

If an eBook sounds like a good fit for your business, but you don’t have the time or skills to create one yourself, Wild Fig can help! We can write and design a relevant eBook that will help generate quality leads for your business. Contact us today to get started!