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How do Authentic Reviews Grow Brand Trust and ROI?

  • Post category:Business
  • Reading time:7 mins read

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the modern-day digital economy doesn’t operate in a total vacuum. This is especially true when it comes to authentic customer reviews. With that in mind, you simply cannot release a product and expect a plethora of sales to happen overnight. Despite what you’ve heard, even if you build it, they may not come.

This should go without saying, but you’re not even in full control of what people say about your company. Your customers have a voice and it comes in the form of authentic customer reviews. While this might be tough to swallow, their voice is typically far louder and more powerful than yours. If that isn’t enough for you, your customers aren’t afraid to let their booming voice resonate for all to hear. In most cases, customers tend to share their opinions in the form of reviews. This is why it is essential that you learn to leverage this relationship. Furthermore, you need to ensure that your customers leave endless amounts of positive authentic reviews.

While they may seem scary, you have no reason to fear customer reviews. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Every business should embrace authentic customer reviews because these sorts of insights can genuinely boost your brand awareness. Authentic reviews also build brand trust and help improve your ROI, both in the short and long term. In this post, we’ll discuss a handful of ways that authentic customer reviews can benefit your business.

Gain an SEO Boost with Authentic Reviews

Whether we’re talking product reviews on Amazon or business reviews on Yelp, authentic reviews provide a hearty SEO boost. When all else is equal, listings with more reviews – specifically higher ratings and more in-depth reviews – typically rank higher than listings with fewer reviews. You may have even noticed that this rings true on Google when the powerhouse search engine gives preferential treatment to local listings when appropriate.

Social Proof

Countless surveys support the idea that a consumer is more likely to trust a peer review than they are to trust the marketing that comes directly from the company. As you build up a collection of authentic reviews, you also build up a stockpile of brand trust. When potential customers see that so many other current customers are pleased with your offerings, they’re more likely to trust your brand and purchase your products and/or services.

An excellent example of this is evident via the various online experts and marketing thought leaders. Not only do they have massive followings and social reach, but they also have plenty of reviews available for potential customers to scroll through. Social proof will only get you so far in the game today. It’s the actual reviews and recommendations found across the internet that really boost your legitimacy.

Furthermore, customer reviews provide an added bonus since they serve as customer testimonials. You can showcase these testimonials via social media or feature them directly on your website. This creates further social proof and helps bolster the credibility of your brand. However, this only works if your reviews are genuinely authentic.

Authentic Feedback via Authentic Reviews

Let’s be real here – not all of your reviews are going to be totally positive. Nor should they be! If you’re already perfect (which you’re not), then you don’t have any room for improvement.

Authentic reviews provide an excellent avenue for authentic feedback. This valuable information provides insight into where you’re coming up short and soft spots in your strategy. Take this feedback with humility, thank your customer for their input, and explore how you can incorporate their suggestions into your future offerings.

Customers sincerely appreciate when they feel as if their concerns are valid and you’re genuinely listening to them. This is also a great way to boost brand trust because they trust that you’re listening to them.

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Augmented Reach

It’s common these days for companies and PR firms to hand out review samples of products. Some of these go to regular users who sign up for review programs or beta testing. Other review samples typically go to professional reviewers. These professionals include individuals such as site owners, YouTubers, and online influencers who then share their thoughts with their readers, viewers, and followers.

This means that your product gets a review with which potential customers may engage. The beauty of this system is that many of the readers, viewers, and followers may have never known about what you had to offer.

However, it is essential that you don’t demand glowing reviews. You want raw, unfiltered, and authentic reviews with genuine impressions. If the influencer or reviewer starts to look a bit awkward, the value of their opinion drastically plummets.

Expert Endorsements Make for Great Authentic Reviews

Reviews from everyday people are great on platforms like Amazon, Yelp, and Google. However, what you’ll likely find is that when there are respected experts in your industry, their opinions can carry a lot more weight than your average Joe or Jane.

When these expert personalities review your offerings, this puts what you have to offer in front of a far wider, and very interested audience.

This audience is also far more likely to trust and believe the influencer they’re following than if you were to communicate directly with this pool of potential customers. If your press release or product description claims something and the expert verifies your claim, customers will typically come to trust your brand when you make future claims.

Demonstrated Care

Positive reviews are awesome. Negative reviews on the other hand feel, well…negative. However, here’s the thing. Users can become suspicious if all you ever get are over the top 5-star reviews. This screams a lack of authenticity.

It’s important to recognize that negative reviews represent a chance to demonstrate genuine care and concern…an opportunity to exercise transparency. It’s essential that you keep track of what people are saying about your brand and address negative reviews promptly. Furthermore, it’s critical that you don’t get defensive…this is just unappealing.

Acknowledge where you may not have met the customer’s needs and how this may have made them feel. Tell them that their feedback has been noted and that you will take it into account moving forward. Next, offer a way to make it up to them in some meaningful way. When you show that you genuinely care about your customers, they’ll learn to care about (and trust) you too. Lastly, it is equally important to respond to positive reviews.

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Encouraged Loyalty

A single customer review about one product on a singular website may not seem like a big deal and it may not seem like it would deliver much in terms of ROI. However, you seriously need to think about authentic customer reviews as more of a long game. Authentic customer reviews can help boost sales in the short term due to the reasons we’ve discussed above.

The more you encourage and share reviews over the long-term, however, the more you can encourage brand loyalty amongst your customer base. When a customer shares an authentic review about one of your products, they’re more likely to trust your brand when they look into one of your future products.

Closing Thoughts

The cumulative impact of reviews and feedback is surprisingly strong. If your brand or products consistently earn positive reviews and regularly rank near the top in the SERPs,  one-time customers will quickly convert into long-term brand loyalists…sometimes even brand advocates. How’s that for some impressive ROI?

Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is a Digital Consultant at Shift Digital. He is also pursuing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University

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