Online Reviews

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Best Practices - Review Generation

Based on a pre-compiled list and from various tips from professional digital marketing companies, best practices for generating more reviews are the following: selecting the right platform to focus on, regularly asking for reviews, engaging with customers whenever possible, and optimizing sites to make it easy to leave reviews. Other cost-effective marketing tips for B2B companies and mattress manufacturers to get more users to visit and possibly leave reviews are the following: Sharing relevant and well-designed content to highlight their products, engaging and targeting the right customers in the platforms where they congregate, using mobile apps, using strategic platform for various content types, and involving social media influencers. Findings related to reviews from an award-winning online marketing company's survey shows that 92% of consumers now read online reviews, 68% feel that positive reviews increase trust in the company, and 50 or more reviews per product yield a 4.6% increase in the rate of conversion.

METHODOLOGY AND ASSUMPTIONS

There are no specific pre-compiled lists that directly state best practices for mattress manufacturers or B2B companies to get more reviews. After an extensive search, I used the most relevant report from an award-winning internet marketing company that includes a compilation of best practices to be able to gather more reviews, in general, that are applicable for all entities with an online presence. While the article is about proven ways to get more reviews in social media, there are several mentions on how this can be applied to other relevant sites like search engines and a company’s own website. Since this is an encompassing list, the assumption is that all manufacturers who have online activities can also benefit from following the recommendations in this best practice list. I also supplemented this with other general online best practices for B2B companies like mattress manufacturers. Tips and case studies shared came from the US and other countries. Information from other countries is nevertheless relevant since these products were meant to address the universal need for more comfortable sleeping conditions.

BEST PRACTICES IN gathering ONLINE REVIEWS

Before applying the best ways to get more online reviews, check first which sites are sending people to the company’s online sites. This way, the company can know which sites to prioritize first that can give the most return for reviews generated. These sites can be checked in Google Analytics. Typical top sources for a company’s online traffic are reviews on Facebook (FB) and Google. For B2B firms like manufacturing businesses, LinkedIn reviews typically have the most impact professionally. Other sites where reviews can contribute to the popularity of a firm’s online presence are Yelp, Angel’s List, local directories, and Yahoo.

Here are the proven ways to get more customer reviews as applicable in various social media platforms and other relevant sites based on an award-winning online marketing firm's compiled list:

Facebook

FB reviews are now shown during Google searches which can help propel a company’s page to the top of the search list. Users are also going to Facebook more to get more information and reviews about a product.
1. Ensure that the review section of the company’s FB page can be seen and activated. This can be enabled in the Facebook page’s setting configuration.
2. Keep the communication lines with potential customers open and flowing by promptly responding to reviews.

Google

As Google is still the top-ranked search engine employed by users to look for anything, having many reviews shown can convince customers to go to a site more.
1. Companies should work on having their businesses verified by Google. This way, they can respond to the reviews and get their sites to rank higher on Google’s hit list.
2. Get more online visitors by including the links to the websites in the company’s email signatures of the employees.
3. Boost comments in Google sites by marking them as helpful. This way, comments about the company can be seen first by more visitors. This can also reassure visitors that somebody is reading and responding to their comments.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn reviews can build trust and more professional connections especially for B2B companies like manufacturers.
1. Get your company’s social media teams and even employees to include the company’s LinkedIn profile in their emails. In doing this, there will be more chances of getting quality followers who are more likely to leave reviews.
2. Invite connections to review the company. This can be done offline as well. Usually, it is easier to respond rather than ignore the invitation to review.
3. Select the most positive reviews for the company and put those on top of the company page. 51% of consumers will choose a company if it has positive feedback.
4. Swap recommendations with people who are relevant to the business. By having many reviews on site, customers are more inclined to write a feedback.

Yelp

Yelp is still the go-to site for consumer-focused industries. Even if a company is a B2B, Yelp can still indirectly help. One way to get more reviews through Yelp is by putting Yelp badges on the company’s sites to make it easier for users to leave a review. Place Yelp signage in brick-and-mortar stores as well and indicate any positive reviews. This can be a good way to engage customers and ask them to leave reviews.

GENERAL TECHNIQUES TO GET MORE ONLINE REVIEWS

1. Personally ask for reviews from customers as it is difficult to refuse these individualized request.
2. Asking is still the simplest way to get reviews. Email requests to leave a review can be sent by the company and the messages can be tailored to each customer segments.
3. Give incentives in exchange for reviews. This need to be done thoughtfully as some platforms do not allow this. An example of this is offering discounts if users can show the restaurants their online reviews. Users can get motivated to write reviews on the spot to avail of the discount.
4. Boost existing reviews by featuring them often in the company’s online pages. Users are more enticed to give reviews to add to the conversation.
5. Place Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons in strategic points in the relevant websites that users can easily click to leave reviews.
6. Offer incentives to employees for actively soliciting reviews.
7. Ensure to request for reviews in a timely manner when the product experience is still fresh in their minds and they have already spent some time using the product.
8. Avoid removing negative reviews. Respond and manage them instead to show other customers that the company values transparency and is willing to correct the mistake. This will make the other reviews more believable. A survey shows that 95% of consumers think that reviews are censored or faked if there is no negative feedback.
9. Be specific when asking for reviews. Direct consumers to the exact place in the company’s pages where they can leave reviews. Encourage them to mention the names of employees who have helped them to encourage them to write about the experience.
10. Leverage available display plugins to automatically place reviews on the various social media sites. This will inspire users to put their own testimonials.
11. When running online competitions, ensure to make it a requirement for participants to leave an honest review first.
12. Make use of whitespaces on receipts by putting in requests for reviews. In the B2B industries, these receipts are often scanned into expense tracking platforms.
13. Do regular but gentle follow-ups with customers to remind them to give reviews.
14. Give customers some time after leaving their first review or after forgetting to give one before following up again.
Getting more reviews for a company’s sites will require some effort but the return is expected to be high especially when customers make purchases due to the reviews. Reviews usually result in an 18% surge in sales. Selecting the right platform will be a strategic move in order to focus the effort and cost on those sites that will yield the most results. Constantly asking for reviews, interacting with the reviewers, and making it easier to leave reviews can help elicit more response from customers.

MATTRESS-SPECIFIC ONLINE MARKETING TECHNIQUES

There also mattress-specific marketing tips that can invite more online consumers to visit mattress product sites which in turn can increase the probability of leaving reviews especially after a purchase. Based on a survey, 58% of online consumers are now more likely to leave reviews.
Selling mattresses online is challenging as consumers were already used to the fact that these products are better seen and experienced in large showrooms. However, with increasing variety in what is available online versus in the showrooms, more consumers are now flocking to online stores to buy their mattresses. Even if a business has no online shop, they can still benefit from the online traffic as one trend now is for consumers to check for mattress information online then visit physical stores.
1. Identify the consumers’ specific requirement. Companies can assign teams to go to online discussion sites that revolve around their products to get information on what people are talking about. Just being attuned to these discussions will not cost anything and can yield a wealth of information that will be useful to produce well-targeted low-cost advertisements.
2. Cultivate an online and offline presence. Businesses can benefit from having both an online and offline presence in order to reach more customers. Even if consumers prefer to visit physical stores to buy mattresses, it will still be hugely beneficial to have listings in online business directories in order to help consumers find some information about a company. Even if a company has no significant online presence like websites, online listings can help buyers find the company and visit their physical stores.
3. Invest effort in doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With many mattress firms competing for customers, employing strategies like SEO can help put a company on top of the list when buyers search for specific products online.
4. Leverage Adwords and email marketing. These campaigns are usually affordable and suitable for businesses who have cost limitations in launching flamboyant social media advertisements. Requesting for people’s email addresses during sale events can enable a business to promote their websites via regular email campaigns. This, in turn, can result in more visits to the company’s websites.
5. For Soaring Heart Natural Bed Company in Seattle, they advise companies to be patient and to keep testing new marketing ideas until they can find one that works. As digital platforms are highly dynamic, this will be a good strategy in order for companies to adapt continuously to their customer’s preferences.
6. In the case of Swedish bed company Hästens, their marketing strategy is to share stories that reflect the bed’s rich heritage that they want buyers to experience. Notable takeaways from their strategy involve featuring the product’s heritage and values, selling an experience, and showing how their brand evolved.
7. With Eve Mattress, their goal of taking some customers away from the pricier Tempur involve selling almost the same products at lower price points. Eve’s online persona is all about wittiness and fun that reflect on its Twitter messages to make them unforgettable to customers. They also want customers to visually remember their brand by showing high-quality images in their Instagram account that is reflective of their brand style in their social media posts. Eve also customizes their social media advertisements to target audiences who are most likely to buy. They also showcase their products through YouTube videos. Basically, they want their online advertisements to show authenticity and distinct characteristics of their brand.
8. Casper, another mattress company, is targeting millennials who prefer simple products. They heavily use email marketing techniques in order to promote their products. The company also use social media influencers with lots of followers to get users to visit their sites and get their sentiments on the products. Their online marketing tactics focus on building relationships with customers, using effective images, linking their online accounts, convincing customers of the urgency of a sale, and sending relevant promotional emails.
9. Silent Night mattress leverages blogs in order to gain more customers. Their blog contents are specifically customized for their target markets. They include interesting articles that cater to their customer’s hobbies to get them to visit the site more. This way, they have many opportunities to feature their brand.
10. Overall, good pricing strategies, free shipping, and returns can attract more customers to shop online. Mattress companies like Leesa, Casper, and Eve have also been utilizing mobile-ready apps that can make it easier to shop online while on the go. In essence, mattress companies are striving to distinguish themselves in order to get more customers to visit their sites through various online marketing techniques such as story-telling, online message personas and tones, email promotions, and brand personality.

GENERAL B2B MARKETING TIPS

Other company promotion tips to get more visits and possibly, reviews, in online sites, include promoting their company image and going to sites where the target customers are to tune in to their needs and engage with them effectively. Ensure also maximum audience reach by identifying the times on when relevant users are online. Useful contents relevant to a brand can then be posted around this time.

ONLINE REVIEWS STATISTICS

Online reviews are the effective equivalent of word-of-mouth promotions in the online space. Based on a survey of an award-winning sales and marketing company, 92% of consumers now read online reviews. Other relevant online review statistics from the survey that illustrate the importance of reviews are the following: (1) 68% mentioned that positive reviews improve trust in the business; (2) 50 or more reviews per product can lead to a 4.6% increase in conversion rates; (3) 63% are more inclined to purchase from sites that has user reviews; (4) 18% surge in sales typically result from reviews; (5) 51% will choose a local business with positive reviews; (6) More than half of 18 to 34-year-old consumers trust online reviews more than the recommendations from their family and friends; (7) 80% put equal weight on reviews and personal recommendations; (8) 88% of online buyers consider reviews in their shopping decisions; (9) 48% will go to a website once they have read positive reviews; and (10) 86% will be hesitant to buy from a business that has negative reviews.

GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA STATISTICS

Other relevant social media statistics that can help get perspective on user online visits are the following:
1. Most valued social media platforms for businesses are Facebook (89%), LinkedIn (83%), YouTube (81%), and Twitter (80%).
2. The most engaging content types are written articles (27%), videos (26%), and images (24%).
3. Key metrics for evaluating the success of social media are engagement (36%) and conversion rates (35%).
4. 46% of B2B companies think that investing time and money in social media is worth it.
5. The main challenges that companies encounter in social media marketing include the following: lack of human and financial resources (26%), no formal strategy (24%), and establishing communities of followers and influencers (24%).

CONCLUSION

Requesting for reviews through various methods, site optimization, content sharing, and using the right tools and platforms are the best practices for a manufacturer to get more users to visit and leave reviews in social media and other relevant websites. Key statistics from a survey indicate that 92% of consumers refer to online reviews, 68% find that positive reviews elicit trust in the business, and 50 or more reviews per product are expected to contribute to a 4.6% increase in customer conversion rates.
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