Modern, informed consumers demand small business reviews and authentic customer testimonials. If you don’t have a strategy to get more reviews in 2023, then jump on it NOW!
Why? Well, 93% of customers will consult online reviews before making a purchase. Shoppers of all ages now expect to see around 112 reviews per product, and they’re much more likely to choose your products if you have a greater number of online reviews than your competitors.
Need more incentive? Research shows that consumers spend 31% more money with your business if you’ve earned great reviews. That means reviews increase sales! Hearing what real customers think of your products or services—NOT the biased info often given in advertising—is the trust boost needed to convince consumers to part with MORE of their hard-earned cash.
Want to learn how to use reviews to win more sales and leads? We’ll teach you our tried-and-tested reviews marketing strategy and even how you can use negative reviews to build trust and loyalty with your customers.
Ready? Let’s get started!
1. Make Sure Reviews and Star Rating Show Up in Google Search
Most small businesses know that customer reviews on product and service pages can boost sales. But are you getting the most out of your customer reviews? Odds are that you’re just like the hundreds of other small biz owners we talk to with sparkling customer reviews that are INVISIBLE in Google search results!
If you own an e-commerce product-based business, you MUST make sure product pages have the correct schema markup to return rich results in Google search. This is technical SEO work that might require professional help, but it’s SO worth it!
WTF is Schema Markup?
And what does it have to do with small business reviews? Well, when customers ask Google to help them find their dream product they will (obviously) get search results that include popular choices.
But did you know that you can tell Google what customers SHOULD see in your search result by adding schema markup or “structured data” to the back end of your website? Schema markup gives Google’s “bots” the info they need in the correct format to display information like pricing, top reviews, and star rating when your products show up in Google search.
😮 Example time!
Here’s a “Rich” Google Search Result 👇
This product page HAS schema markup. You’ll notice this rich Google search result displays complete product details, star rating, number of reviews, price, and current availability. Customers are much more likely to buy a product with 4.5 stars and thousands of customer reviews! But without appropriate schema markup, they won’t see this trust-building review information.
Here’s a Google Search Result WITHOUT Schema Markup 👇
If you go directly to the brand’s website, you’ll see that this product has earned dozens of 5-star product reviews—but consumers aren’t seeing that information because they haven’t invested in an SEO strategy to leverage their customer reviews. This makes our marketer hearts SO sad, y’all!
The lesson? While you may be using product reviews on your product sales pages, you need to invest in an SEO strategy to make sure your reviews are getting seen when it counts! Contact us at LoudBird if you need help with SEO! We specialize in small businesses and women-owned businesses with a sustainable mission!
2. Customer Reviews Aren’t JUST For Product Pages
One of the major customer reviews strategy mistakes we see small businesses make is ONLY spotlighting reviews on product sales pages. While you certainly need product-specific reviews, businesses should also make customer reviews front and center on other important website pages, like your Homepage!
There are two go-to website design elements that will draw more attention to your reviews.👇
Customer Reviews Slider
Sliders make it fast and easy for customers, clients, and patients to scan reviews, relate to common concerns from past customers, and trust that your business can help them achieve similar positive results. With the help of a professional website development and design team, your biz can customize your reviews slider to display the best positive reviews, the most recent reviews, or even the most relevant reviews based on customer browsing history.
We often use these WordPress and Shopify Plugins to add reviews to important pages for our clients.
- Google Reviews Business Plugin for WordPress
- Customer Reviews for WooCommerce
- WP Business Reviews
- AliReviews for Shopify
- Stamped.io for Shopify
Customer Review Spotlight
At LoudBird, we build beautiful WordPress and Shopify websites! We often use creative UX design to help small businesses get the benefits of customer and client reviews. Reviews sliders are great, but some businesses want a totally custom, branded testimonial content block for their website.
A customer reviews spotlight is a design element that highlights standout customer feedback. This review or testimonial could be from an important, trusted influencer or contain highly relevant and specific benefits of your product or service.
3. Get SEO Benefits with a “Reviews and Testimonials” Page
Odds are that future customers and clients will Google “your business + reviews” to see what others are saying about your brand. While Google, Yelp, and Amazon Reviews may pop up first, it’s also a great idea to add a dedicated “reviews and testimonials” page to your site so you can take up more valuable space in search results!
Another benefit of dedicating a page on your website to reviews and testimonials? You can control the narrative and structure the conversation! Many of the reviews you earn will be short, unspecific, and include tons of typos. While these reviews still help your business, they aren’t the cream of the crop. And they aren’t the most helpful when it comes to SELLING MORE!
We advise our clients (especially service-based businesses) to curate their reviews and testimonials page based on buyer personas and the biggest barriers to purchase for their business. If your catering business specializes in creating flavorful meals for clients with dietary restrictions, for instance, you might choose to highlight reviews that mention “certified organic”, “keto”, “vegan”, or “gluten-free”.
👉🏻 Our Clients Love LoudBird Testimonials and Reviews page is a great example. We specialize in small businesses, women-owned businesses, and green businesses. And it’s pretty dang obvious!
4. Turn BAD REVIEWS Into Sales
While it may be tempting to ONLY showcase flattering customer reviews and positive client experiences on your website, studies show that 85% of consumers look at negative reviews to help them make informed purchase decisions. Especially younger consumers—91% say negative reviews of a business make it seem more trustworthy and authentic.
Bad reviews give your business credibility, especially when it’s common practice to hide bad reviews and purchase fake positive reviews. Negative-to-positive reviews are truly priceless because they let customers know that even if the worst-case scenario happens after their purchase, your business will be there to make it right.
NEVER Ignore or Bury Unflattering Reviews
Instead, we recommend that small businesses flip negative reviews into positive reviews with amazing customer service!
Fifty-three percent of consumers expect a response to their negative review within a week. And 45% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a business that responds to negative reviews. So it pays to have a plan of attack for how you’ll deal with those negative reviews promptly and with respectful language.
Designate who will respond to negative reviews and provide employees with sample review responses that make customers feel heard, valued, and respected.
5. Share Reviews on Social Media
Featuring reviews and testimonials on social media makes customers feel heard and valued by your biz. It also has the added benefit of encouraging MORE customers to leave reviews! Share your best positive small business reviews or even a negative review that you remedied with awesome customer service to win sales on social media.
You can create a social post to highlight reviews or simply capture a screenshot for an authentic glimpse at customer satisfaction. Add it to your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn profiles to build trust!
One of our favorite ways to use reviews on social media is on Instagram! Your Instagram Highlights are the perfect place to drive more sales with reviews. Simply create a set of IG Stories that share your reviews, publish them, then create a “Reviews” Highlight that will live on your profile like a mini website to show reviews to potential customers!
6. Leverage Reviews in Email Campaigns
Do you send a monthly newsletter or weekly sales promotions to your customer’s email? If not, you absolutely should! Email campaigns that feature your small business reviews nurture new leads toward making a purchase. And remind existing customers why they should continue to buy your products.
We’ve helped many of our clients use reviews creatively in email campaigns with the tactics below!
Creative Ways to Use Reviews in Emails
- Feature a new review in each monthly or weekly newsletter you send to customers and clients.
- Develop a case study email campaign that helps new customers understand how to best use your products and services through featured reviews and customer case studies.
- Use a “5-stars on XYZ” icon badge in each email to build trust visually—link it to your Google, Facebook, Yelp, or Better Business Bureau reviews page.
- Drive traffic to your reviews website page through a “check out our reviews” link in your email header or footer.
- Turn reviews into influential statistics for use in email subject lines—95% of customers love our products. Four out of 5 reviewers give us 4.5 stars or above.
- Ask for MORE reviews via email! LoudBird clients have scored hundreds of additional customer reviews by sharing past reviews and tempting new reviewers to give their opinions through a link to Google, Yelp, or Facebook reviews platforms. The easiest way to get more reviews is to directly ask customers!
7. Build Strong Ads with Small Business Reviews
Want strong, profitable advertising campaigns? Whether you are investing in social media ads, PPC Google ads, or both, your ads will benefit from customer reviews! You only have about 3 seconds to capture their attention and start to make that sale, and reviews are an excellent way to do it.
We’ve helped many of our clients optimize their ad conversion rates by using customer reviews. Steal a few of the winning ideas below!
How to Use Reviews for Better Ad Campaigns
- Make a carousel ad for your most popular products using real customer images and small business reviews. Carousels are easy to click through and really help to nurture and educate your audience. Link to a strategic landing page with even more reviews!
- Add reviews statistics and customer satisfaction data to ads. We’ve found including concrete numbers and stats in ads drastically increases the conversion rate. Try “100% of customers rate 4.5+ stars on Yelp!” instead of “customers love our product!”
- Combine reviews data and video. Try adding a succinct text overlay like “5 Stars on Yelp” or “Rated 4.5+ on Amazon in 2022” to your video ads to reinforce customer satisfaction and build trust.
- Use before and after images and customer-generated images in combination with reviews. While fancy product photos are awesome for your website, sometimes authentic customer-captured images and video work better in ads. Some of our best-performing client advertising campaigns to date have used a combo of visual proof AND proof from customer reviews. This works especially well for nutritional supplements, health and fitness coaches, and medical doctors.
👋 👋 👋 OHHEEEEY! Need some help fixing unprofitable ads or making good ads GREAT for a higher conversion rate and a lower cost per acquisition? LoudBird can audit your existing ads, suggest improvements, create video, carousel, and display ads, and tackle monthly PPC and social media ads management! Our team of experienced advertising professionals is ready when you are! Woohoo! Get in touch to learn more and get started. 👋 👋 👋
8. Add Reviews To Promotional Materials
If your small business, e-commerce brand, or private practice uses promotional materials like flyers, pamphlets, e-books, free download offers, door hangers, or postcard mailers, make sure to incorporate your small business reviews in your marketing!
Promo materials often make their way to the consumer early in the sales funnel. Likely, before they know much about the reputation of your brand and what you sell. This is where reviews can help educate, excite, and evoke emotion in your target consumer group. And, most importantly, BUILD TRUST.
Think of your small business reviews like a warm introduction in a crowded room. Past customers are advocating for your brand FOR FREE! Why the heck would you NOT take advantage of that?!
How Do I GET MORE Online Reviews?
Now that you know why online reviews matter and how to use them, you’re probably pretty motivated to actually GET reviews! But it isn’t easy. Even if customers love your products and services, they’re busy, distracted, and (sometimes) too lazy to spend their time leaving a review.
You need to have a small business reviews strategy in place to score their valuable feedback. We talk you through that in our How Your Small Biz Can Get More Reviews in 2022.
Reach out to us if you need some help building your reviews strategy, improving SEO, or adding your reviews to your website and social media accounts.
This article was originally published in March of 2022 and has been given a 2023 makeover by the LoudBird team. We've revised it to include fresh images and reflect current small business customer reviews tactics, statistics, and recommendations. Enjoy!