The last word: How to harness the powerful potential of online reviews

InsightFeatures Mon 8th Mar 2021 by Katrina Bell

The last word: How to harness the powerful potential of online reviews

The last word: How to harness the powerful potential of online reviews

Feature by Katrina Bell | Mon 8th Mar 2021

Katrina founded boutique digital agency Aardvark Multimedia in 2003, and has been a B2B journalist for over 25 years. She was the author of the Web Dr column for Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine focussing on online marketing strategies for KBB businesses. More

Reviews now form an integral part of a business’s online portfolio and are an effective way of mining new data and content to combat customer churn. Here our web expert Katrina Bell explains why it’s so important that you don’t neglect the powerful potential of online reviews. 

An October 2020 report suggested that 93% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, and also stated that 31% of consumers would spend more on a business with positive reviews. Andrew Small, MD of International Industry Solutions for Houzz UK has found similarly concrete evidence: “Houzz research found that 79% of homeowners said reviews are very important when deciding which professional to hire, winning out over cost or experience with a similar scope of work,” he says.

So how do you generate more rewarding reviews?

1. One idea is to thank customers with incentives such as entering a competition to win vouchers or a small appliance. To gain some positive optics, consider pledging to give a small donation to a charity you champion. 

2. Influencers are experts at encouraging users to hit the like button and subscribe, so learn how to be pleasantly pushy. If you have had a successful Zoom consultation, follow up with a quick note to show your customers where they can leave a review. When the process is complete, consider running a retargeting email campaign. 

3. Keeping requests simple increases conversion rates, which tend to go up if graphics are kept low key and you quickly get to the point when asking for feedback.   

4. Savvy marketers employ an NPS – or net promoter score survey – to increase the likelihood of a positive review. They measure on a 1-10 scale the likelihood they would recommend you to someone else. The beauty of NPS is their brevity – one question yields greater engagement. Those with a high score will then be incentivised to leave a review as customer satisfaction strongly correlates with sales potential. There are free templates for an NPS survey, like this one on SurveyMonkey, which can give you a guide. (

5. Use third party review sites such as Houzz or Trustpilot rather than harvesting directly from your website. They have the back-end technology to do a competent job without overloading your internal structures. The results can then be embedded into your site and your social channels. “Reviews offer an impartial view on the reality of working with you,” says Andrew. “They are your best tool for closing new business by showing that you met or exceeded the expectations of past clients. The more reviews you have, the more likely potential clients are to see your business as credible and trustworthy, giving them the confidence to contact you when they’re ready to start their project.” 

6. Embracing negative reviews with a personal touch is key. Copperplate responses will often be displayed clumped together on some social platforms, so your copy and pasted solutions could come off as disingenuous. Be specific about any suitable remedies, how to get in touch quickly with a named person in authority, and offer a sincere hope that any mis-steps can be learned from. 

7. Don’t feed the trolls. There are white-label marketing specialists out there who concentrate on reputation management when things become too toxic, especially in any scenario where online trolls are targeting you with malicious reviews. In the meantime, to help you write measured replies, imagine that person is in your showroom and that there are several hundred potential customers listening to the exchange. 

8. Above all make sure it is very simple and quick to leave a review – if they hit the link it should go straight to the review screen and make sure there is an acknowledgement afterwards that it has been received, and where it will appear once it has been verified. Ultimately, as well as potential new content for your site and socials, the latest reviews and scores are the mainstay of successful email marketing campaigns. 

Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

Tags: features, insight, online reviews, kitchens, bathrooms

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