Are You Getting the Most Out of Your User-Generated Reviews?

by Andrew Maliwauki March 6, 2017

How much do user-generated reviews affect the average online shopper?

Well, when purchasing items online, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, and 72% of consumers say positive user reviews make them trust businesses more. In fact, 41% of shoppers need only 1 to 4 user-generated reviews to be influenced to buy.

That kind of power is impressive, but it can also hurt your brand if you’re not careful. Let’s go over the pros and cons of user-generated reviews and how to best implement them on your website and landing pages.

Why User-Generated Reviews are Great

Let’s start with the good news: what’s so great about user-generated reviews and how can they help your conversion rates?

For starters, user-generated reviews empower the individual consumer. Reviews that are written by other relatable (and real) people aren’t full of marketing speak and usually don’t come with an agenda—after all, the consumer doesn’t make any money for writing a nice review.

As a result, an relatively unbiased end-user review gives the consumer a feel for what it is like to actually experience what you’re selling, empowering them to make the purchasing decision that’s right for them.

For example, don’t these reviews make you hungry?

It’s almost like visiting the restaurant, except you’re denied the actual experience of eating the food. Guess you’d better try it yourself, right? Reviews like these can go a long ways towards convincing someone to buy what you’re selling.

Along these same lines, having a variety of stellar reviews and maybe a few that have some drawbacks can improve your credibility, since it’s highly unlikely that everyone will love your products unconditionally. However, this can quickly get out of hand, something we will discuss in a minute.

Another big plus of user-generated reviews is the SEO. Essentially, reviews create relevant content for search engines to sift through, thereby improving rankings for certain products. This extra content can also offset weak copy about the product or service.

Now, you shouldn’t rely on user-generated reviews to sell your product, but in general, most of your potential customers will trust reviews more than they trust your marketing pitch. And, the better the reviews, the more likely they are to buy.

The Dark Side of User-Generated Reviews

While there are many positive aspects to using user-generated reviews, they have a dark side. User-generated reviews can also negatively impact your business, so let’s highlight some areas to watch out for.

As we mentioned earlier, it is important to have a balance of good reviews, as well as critical ones. It’s easy to see how this can become a problem, especially if you start getting more negative reviews than you would like. Depending on the industry, these reviews could become very vocal and paint an unfair picture of your business.

Some people just have an axe to grind, and if it is without merit, it’s hard to convince potential buyers that this is the case. It might be helpful in situations like this to reach out publicly and address these unwarranted claims and quell any concerns from potential consumers.

Another issue that arises here is that people have the tendency to review what they personally think the product or service should be, and not what it is actually advertised as. These kind of reviews can be very misleading to your customer base and add confusion due to misinformation.

Lastly, avoid fake reviews at all cost. Not only is this unethical, but it can and will severely damage your brand and company reputation. Thanks to online searches such as Fakespot, it’s easier than ever to catch those using paid fake reviews in order to illegitimately boost their product or service.

Best Practices

When used right, user-generated reviews can act as a big social proof boost for your conversion rates. One of the first things you can do is be proactive about monitoring your social media outlets for feedback. You can aid this process by creating consistent, quality content across your various platforms.

In addition, don’t wait for the reviews to come to you. It may help to reach out to past and/or current clients and ask them to share their experience while working with you and using your product or service.

This can give you more variety when it comes to adding reviews to sites and landing pages, and gives you the power to choose the best ones that will impact your potential customers the best by addressing certain pain points and benefits.

Wrapping Up

While we would probably all love to have our business effectively driven by unbiased user-generated reviews, it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. What you can do, however, is know what people are saying about your brand, use the most impactful reviews that address critical concerns for potential customers.

By the way, if you’d like me to take a look at your current reviews and give you some recommendations on how to use them better (or just get better reviews), let me know here or in the comments. I’d love to help!

What are some of the best examples of user-generated reviews you’ve seen? Any advice on how to respond to negative reviews?

  • Marketing

Andrew Maliwauki

Andrew Maliwauki

Andrew is a graphic designer and CRO specialist who adamantly proclaims "There Will Be Blood" as the greatest movie ever made. He also loves pugs. A lot.

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