Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth marketing. Although it's not exactly new, it has become even more valuable as more consumers started writing and reading reviews in the past couple of years. As a result, what customers are saying about your business online has a far greater ripple effect than you might realise.
The good news? If you use this to your advantage, you can use reviews to boost your business strategy in 2023 like you won't believe.
The power of online reviews
You can market your business as much as you want, but nothing will compare to the unbiased opinion written publicly by a past customer. When you read a review, there's inherent trust, whereas any marketing material is always taken with a pinch of salt.
As a result, online reviews can boost sales conversions considerably because it adds confidence to the customer's decision-making and removes hesitation. Furthermore, with so many scams continually arising in South Africa, reviews help your customers to filter through fake businesses to get to real ones – like yours!
Collecting online reviews also boosts your online presence on search engines like Google, which means that more customers will find your business quicker when searching for words related to your business.
How to use reviews to boost your business in 2023
There are a couple of simple ways to leverage your business reviews to see growth in your business in 2023. What might seem like small steps will add up to show real tangible growth in your business next year.
Tip 1: Choose the right review platform
When choosing where customers should write their reviews, you should consider the reach of the website they're posting them to. Reputable online review platforms like Hellopeter are great because millions of South Africans use it to write reviews every day. In fact, in 2022, a review was posted almost every minute on hellopeter.com.
Furthermore, search engines like Google see the platform as a reliable source, prioritising its content and pushing it higher in search results.
"Consumers prefer to come to Hellopeter instead of social media because it's a well-known brand for the review space, whereas social media platforms are baked with a lot of noise. You might have adverts, reviews, brand mentions, consumers chatting, etc. It's not one defined place where you can go and understand the credibility of the business, whereas Hellopeter is exactly that," says Alon Rom, CEO of Hellopeter.
At the moment, Hellopeter Business is running an exclusive sale offering South African businesses up to 50% off their selected Premium Plans. Don’t miss out on these massive savings.
Tip 2: Be proactive about review collection
You should actively ask customers to write you online reviews to build an online reputation for your brand.
A review strategy should include sending a link to your customers via your preferred channel shortly after their experience, asking them how you did. With Hellopeter Business's software, you can set this up in a breeze and send it via SMS, email, or even WhatsApp.
By sending it as soon as possible and making it easy for them, you increase the chances that they'll end up writing a review for you.
Tip 3: Reply to all reviews
A big misconception is that you should only reply to negative reviews. However, it's not enough to just be reactive and address negative reviews only. If someone has taken the time out of their busy day to write you a review, they deserve a response – regardless of what they had to say.
"With Hellopeter Business, we've made it easy for you to sync your Facebook, Google and Hellopeter reviews into one inbox. This means that you can simply open one tab and see at a glance which new reviews came in, which ones you replied to, and which ones still need your attention. Furthermore, your team can make internal notes and sort reviews into categories. We've seen that this has been immensely valuable to businesses," says Rom.
Tip 4: Show off 5-Star reviews, deal with 1-Star reviews
Showing off top reviews on your website and social media pages can drastically increase your sales conversions. People follow other people's actions, which is a psychological phenomenon called social proof. This gives your customers extra confidence to check out their purchase or contact you for your service. Hellopeter Business offers tools to help you take your best reviews and turn them into social media posts to further extend your reach.
However, that does not mean that you should turn a blind eye or try to hide bad reviews. Customers generally understand that you're only human, and all they really want is to see that you're doing your part to give customers’ issues the attention it deserves.
"If reviews are only positive, it's too good to be true. If it's only negative, it's too one-sided. We want to balance and show what lengths a business will go to to make a wrong right and enable them to showcase their hard work and resulting positive experiences. That brings a very powerful brand presence for businesses," says Rom.
Tip 5: Keep an eye on your (and competitors') analytics
You should not only stay focused on your business and customers. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and how they're tracking in comparison. With Hellopeter Business, for example, you get access to tools to help you keep an eye on competitor ratings and reviews.
This not only shows you where they're overtaking you or lacking, but it can give you insight into what you can improve to stand out and potentially convert their customers to buy from you instead.
Start growing your business
"The success stories about how reviews helped South African businesses is our own form of social proof and show us that we're succeeding in our goal of helping businesses become more discoverable, and building a consistent online reputation. We want to empower them to do this without relying on huge expenses or being married to agencies to deliver this digital presence. Therefore, with Hellopeter Business, you just need to collect and reply to the reviews, and we'll do the heavy lifting in the background." explains Rom.
The Hellopeter Business Plans are designed to offer you an effortless way to do all this without costing you a lot of money, particularly if you're a smaller business.
“The most satisfying success stories have been the ones where the businesses were initially hesitant and negative about Hellopeter. However, they have become our biggest advocates after seeing first-hand what a positive effect our tools and strategies have had on their business," adds Rom.
You can read some of Hellopeter Business's success stories here.
Tap into growth this 2023
If you're ready to start taking your business to new heights, sign up for one of Hellopeter Business's plans, starting at free (no credit card required). Don’t forget about the special offer they’re running on their selected Hellopeter Business Plans too. Reach out to get your custom deal here.