Online Reviews

How to Make the Most of Online Reviews

Online ReviewsOnline product reviews have exploded in popularity in recent years, with more and more consumers relying on the opinions of others to make wise purchasing decisions. Giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart are incorporating reviews into their shopping sites and product pages, and bloggers are offering reviews to drive traffic to their sites.

If you are selling products online, reviews can be an extremely valuable tool. Including product reviews on your site and across your social networks can build trust among  your customer base, enhance the value of your brand and reduce costly returns.

As with every other aspect of online marketing, it is important to use product reviews properly. When used well, product reviews can increase your sales and turn occasional shoppers into loyal repeat customers. When used improperly, reviews can reduce profits and shatter shopper trust.

One big mistake retailers make is not identifying a goal before building product reviews into their site. If you are to be successful, you need to know what you are looking for from the reviews. Do you want to build your brand and help customers trust you? Do you want to move more products and help consumers make smarter decisions? Do you want to reduce returns and build loyalty? Identifying your goals ahead of time is a critical part of the process.

Knowing which sites to use is another important piece of the puzzle. Blogs are playing an increasingly important role in product reviewing, but retailers need to know which blog sites to use. Doing your homework and using the blogs that best fit your niche can improve your results substantially.

Once you have identified the blogs you plan to use, you need to provide the webmaster with complete information, including links to the site where the product is sold and anything else that will be of use to the reviewer.

It is important to encourage the reviewer to be completely honest, even if that results in a less than glowing endorsement. Modern shoppers have become quite savvy, and they can spot a fake review a mile away. Paying for positive reviews is a sure way to kill the trust your customers have in you and your products. It is much better to solicit honest feedback and use it to improve your products and your business.

You should look at your product reviewers as partners, not as adversaries. The goal is to build a long-term relationship with the best bloggers and product reviewers. Over the long term that strategy can get you more traffic and drive more sales. That is why it is so important to be generous with the product samples you give the reviewers. You want the reviewers to actually use the product and provide honest feedback, and they need samples to do that.

Once the review has been posted, you will want to read it carefully and take its advice to heart. That can be hard to do, especially if the review is a negative one. Keep in mind, however, that feedback is the goal. Even if that feedback is critical, it can be extremely valuable to your business. Take the time to thank the reviewers for their time, and respond to the feedback they have provided.  Do not become defensive or try to argue with the reviewer. Focus your attention instead of improving the product and responding to the needs of your customers.

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