Customers are driving the market these days, and businesses that don’t embrace this fact are at a distinct disadvantage. While many businesses have a physical presence, online platforms allow customers to discover, research, and book almost any service or product they desire, all from the comfort and convenience of their homes.
This convenience has driven the growth of online reviews and testimonials for goods and services, and if you’re not careful, you could end up with an avalanche of negative reviews that bury your company. In this article, we’ll identify five common mistakes businesses are making with online testimonials and reviews and how you can avoid them.
1. Not Testing The Product Or Service First
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that customer reviews and testimonials are extremely important in marketing. After all, a company’s product or service is usually the result of years of research and development, and it’s only fair that they get the opportunity to tell the world about their products and services through marketing material.
Despite this, many businesses are acting as if product reviews and testimonials don’t exist. Rather than focusing on testing their products and services first, they’ve jumped into the marketing game and are desperately trying to use every trick in the book to make it work. Even worse, some businesses are completely ignoring product reviews and testimonials altogether and focusing solely on search engine optimization (SEO).
The problem with this is that without actual customer feedback, you’re flying blind. Without testing the product or service thoroughly and gaining some customer feedback, you have no idea what works and what doesn’t. You could end up wasting a lot of time and money before you even get started.
2. Focusing On Quantity Over Quality
Another mistake businesses are making is focusing too much on the quantity of reviews and testimonials they can get rather than the quality. After all, if customers are driving the market these days, why not lean into that and get as many positive reviews as possible?
The problem with this is that customers aren’t always going to be kind to your business. Sometimes they’re going to have bad things to say, and rather than relying on the goodwill of your customers, you’re better off depending on the honesty of those searching for your product or service. When this is the case, you might end up with a large number of 1-star reviews that paint a less-than-stellar picture of your company. Fortunately, this is where things start going wrong for many businesses. Instead of having these few poor reviews that bring them down, businesses often see these few bad reviews as a fluke and continue to use the same approach, ignoring everything else.
3. Publishing Too Many Bad Reviews
Even worse, some businesses are going the extra mile and publishing one or two particularly bad reviews alongside their good reviews. The reasoning behind this is simple: the more reviews they have, the more chances they have of getting more reviews. While this might work for some businesses, in the long term, it’s not a good idea. If you have one or two bad reviews, you might be able to ride this out and keep your business afloat. However, as we mentioned before, sometimes customers aren’t going to be so kind, and this is when things can go wrong. When this happens, all those good reviews are going to appear to be a fluke and their one or two bad reviews are going to drown out everything else.
4. Not Storing Positive Reviews
Even worse, some businesses are actively deleting or hiding positive reviews. While this might make them feel better about themselves, in the long term, this is a really bad idea. If someone is searching for your product or service in the first place, it usually means they are looking for something particularly good, and if you hide these good reviews, you are doing your customer a disservice. They are going to continue searching for what they want, and when they find it, they aren’t going to be so kind as to leave you a review.
5. Publishing Reviews Without Context
Another major mistake businesses are making is failing to provide any context around their reviews and testimonials. Simply putting out there that a certain product or service is good or bad isn’t enough, you also need to provide the reasons why. Without this, your review or testimonial is essentially meaningless, and it’s best to avoid this as much as possible.
This is especially important if you’re going to put these reviews in some sort of compilation album or database. If you’re trying to sell a product, you might want to include some context around why your customers like or dislike it. If you’re trying to grow your business through organic search, you can include information about your industry and the kinds of products your customers expect to see. In cases like these, you will want to include as much information as possible so that your reviews and testimonials make sense in the context of the overall collection.
Include this information in your body copy, too, so that when a customer sees one or two bad reviews, it doesn’t scare them off from your company entirely. In the end, nobody wants to do business with a company they’re wary of, and by providing the necessary information around your reviews and testimonials, you can gain a customer’s trust and turn them into lifelong advocates for your brand.
How To Avoid These 5 Marketing Mistakes
Now that you know the damage that can be done by making these five common mistakes, how can you avoid them? First, make sure you test your product and service thoroughly before you buy or use it. Second, don’t be afraid to show your customers where you’re falling short — you’re better off being open and honest than hiding these flaws.
When these two things are in place, you can be sure that your online reviews and testimonials are going to be more beneficial to you and your company, rather than a potential pitfall.