Whether you’re new to the industry or you’ve been around for a while, you no doubt have heard of review websites like Yelp and Google Reviews. These are the online review king and queenpins of the modern era – and with good reason! Not only do they provide a wealth of useful information for customers who are searching for products and services in your niche, but they can also boost your visibility and bring in new customers.
What if I told you there was a way to harness the power of online reviews and use them to your advantage?
The review websites could be your best friend – or your worst enemy. It all depends on how you use them.
To help you navigate this tricky terrain, we’ll cover six ways in which you can use reviews to your advantage.
1. Measure The Quality Of User Feedback
Online reviews can be very useful, but they can also be rife with inaccuracies and biased opinions. While this may be fine if you’re just looking for a quick way to find out what’s going on, if you’re trying to improve your business, you should really be wary of these sorts of reviews. Even worse, there are numerous cases where bad reviews have led to offline bad acts.
Luckily, there are ways you can separate the good from the bad. You can use several tools and tactics to sift through user reviews and get to the good ones. Here are the top three.
1.1. Look For Reviews From Authorities
The first and most basic step in properly analyzing any type of review is trying to determine its source. Who wrote the review? Is it a regular contributor to the website or is it some unknown person posting on the site on the behalf of a brand? When you find out the review’s source, you can begin to determine its accuracy and merit. For example, if the review was posted by a well-known expert in the field who has a track record of being honest and neutral, you can be sure that the review is probably accurate and worth paying attention to.
Even better, sometimes companies will hire experts to post on their behalf about certain products. So while you’re at it, you might as well make sure you’re paying attention to these sorts of reviews as well.
1.2. Examine The Timing Of Reviews
The review websites get a bad rap for being “quick to judge” and “often wrong,” but they’re actually very good at what they do. The fact is, with a little bit of planning and research, you can use the review websites to your advantage. For example, you might want to examine when the review was posted in comparison to your most recent sales.
If you see that a lot of the reviews are posted within the last month or so and your sales have been steadily increasing, you might want to consider whether or not these types of reviews are bringing you new customers.
1.3. Look For The Reviews That Are Most Influential
The reviews that exist on review websites aren’t always going to be good, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. You can use several tools to find the most influential reviews and gain some valuable insights from them. For example, you can use the tool Juice to identify key influencers in your industry. The reviews that appear at the top of the list are the ones that are grabbing the most attention.
Once you have a few of these influential reviewers, you can begin to examine their strengths and weaknesses. Are they generally more positive or negative? What types of questions do they ask? What are their expertise levels? All of these answers can help you determine the value of these reviewers in your industry. Remember, not all influential reviews are created equal, so make sure you’re not putting too much weight on these types of rankings.
1.4. Look For The Reviews That Are Most Popular
The popularity of a review can vary from one website to the next, but for the most part, the more reviews a website has, the more popular it is. If you happen to visit a popular review site, you’ll see that the majority of the reviews are positive. While this may be a good thing, you should still be a little wary of these sorts of reviews as they aren’t always going to be accurate.
If you have a look at the reviews for the various clothing websites, you’ll see that the majority are positive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the clothing is good – it just means that the reviewers were generally happy with what they purchased. When you’re looking for quality clothing, make sure you examine the reviews for the various brands and designers so that you can get a good idea of what to expect.
1.5. Look For Reviews From Real Customers
One of the most important things you can do if you want to properly analyze reviews is to look for reviews from actual customers. While it’s great to get testimonials from people who have been given an amazing experience, you should still be wary of these sorts of reviews.
Even more importantly, you should look for reviews that include specific details about the customers’ experience. What problems did they encounter? What could have made their experience better? These sorts of questions can help you determine the quality of the service or product and whether or not it’s worth your time and money.
2. Use The Reviews To Identify Trends
Another important use for reviews is to examine them for trends. Let’s say you’re a designer and you notice there’s a lot of talk about shirt-tail threads on social media. You can use this to your advantage by paying attention to the trends and using this as a jumping off point to learn more about customer preferences.
You can contact the company that the product or service is rated by and ask them about the alleged trend. If it warrants further investigation, you can contact the manufacturer and get ahold of the technical specifications for the product. From there, you can put together a plan to find out more about the customer base for this type of shirt.
With enough research, you can use the reviews to your advantage. For example, if you notice a pattern of positive reviews, this may indicate that most customers are receiving good service or are satisfied with what they ordered.
3. Use The Reviews To Determine The Value Of A Product
As soon as you have enough information from the reviews, it’s time to put this information to use. This is particularly important if you’re in the process of purchasing a product or service for the first time. For example, let’s say you’re in the market for a new microwave and you see that many people are giving it good reviews. From there, you can learn a bit about what other customers think and whether or not it’s worth paying a bit more for a better quality product.
When it comes to pricing, manufacturers and retailers frequently use a tactic that’s been dubbed “halo pricing.” For example, let’s say you’re buying a microwave oven and the price is $250. On the heels of the $250 price tag, the retailer may tack on additional costs such as shipping and handling fees which bring the total to $350. In some instances, this can amount to a $100 or more profit for the retailer.
In general, when it comes to purchasing a product or service for the first time, it’s a good idea to look for reviews as this can help you get a better idea of what other customers think. Keep in mind though – not all good reviews are created equal and you should look for the source of the review as well as the content.
4. Use Reviews To Identify Areas Of Improvement
Finally, we have the good old fashioned method of just going through the reviews and identifying the good and the bad. While this may not sound very scientific, it’s actually very effective. When you have a large number of reviews, it’s easy for you to just go through them and flag the good and the bad. In cases where there’s a lot of similarity in the reviews, you can be sure that you’re looking at the same type of issue. This makes it much easier to pinpoint what needs to be changed.
Whether you agree with what they wrote or not, you can use reviews to find areas where the business or product in question can improve. For example, let’s say you’re a retail business and you notice that most of your reviews are coming in from outside of the state of Florida. You can use this to your advantage by expanding your horizons and considering opening up a store in another state. This would obviously be a big investment and it’s something you should only do if you’re sure that you’re going to profit from it.