If you have recently been hit by a negative review or few, you may be wondering how it will impact on your ecommerce marketing results. The good news is that all reviews help – whether they are negative or positive. In this guide, we take a closer look at how negative reviews can be used within your ecommerce marketing strategies for online growth.
How Negative Reviews Help Your Ecommerce Marketing Efforts
While there is no doubt that good reviews are something that every online store likes to see, negative reviews don’t have to mean the death-knoll for your ecommerce marketing success. In fact, bad reviews can even offer a number of unique advantages. Here are some of the ways that negative reviews can help.
It is very rare to come across product pages that only ever have glowing reviews. When this does happen, it is not uncommon to wonder whether every review is authentic or whether some have been bought or faked. When there is a mixture of mostly positive reviews, along with one or two less-than-glowing reviews, it is far easier to build credibility. Hiding or removing bad reviews can end up doing your online reputation more harm than you realise, making you seem less authentic. If you have a rating system and the reviews do not seem to match the rating, it can also set off warning bells. Rather than trying to clear out any type of negative feedback, keep the poor reviews on your product pages and respond to them as quickly as possible. This will allow customers to get an honest, balanced overview that will increase your credibility and drive trust.
Bad reviews can even help you bring in more traffic. Reviews and other user-generated content can be great for ecommerce SEO, helping to bring in more traffic organically. Many customers want to get as much information as possible when searching for products and will search specifically for any potential issues or faults. This helps customers collect all the information they can before making a purchase. If you have mostly good reviews with a small number of reviews mentioning potential frustrations with a product or with customer service, and customers see that you have responded, they are likely to read additional reviews.
You will also have the chance to boost your sales when you do not remove every poor review. The more time that is spent on your online store, the more likely customers are to click on your calls to action, sign up for your newsletter (or that lead magnet you created), go back and view product pages multiple times – sometimes on multiple devices – and get closer to making an informed decision. When you censor your bad reviews, you are also losing out on the chance to drive conversions that result in sales.
Customers are not only interested in finding out all the good things about your products. They also want to know what others are saying about the products potential problems. For example, a customer looking to buy an external hard drive would want to know if the memory is limited or if the cable is a bit short. They may choose to find another product or they may simply be glad to know what to expect before they complete the purchase. No customer likes a nasty surprise. When customers have all the information they need, they are far more likely to be satisfied. They may then, in turn, leave positive reviews once they have made a purchase. Every review helps new customers make better purchasing decisions.
If negative reviews are handled correctly, they can end up creating an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal customer. Censoring bad reviews is never advised. Responding in anger or ignoring the review without response is never ideal, either. Instead of reacting instantly, take a moment to think about a response that actively engages customers. Find out what you can do to help. Show the customer that you are listening and provide helpful customer service that shows the customer and anyone reading the review that you take all reviews seriously.
Using Negative Reviews in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
Now that you have a better idea of how negative reviews can help your ecommerce marketing efforts, how do you go about using them as part of your broader strategy? For starters, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Invest in customer service right from the start
Without a customer service plan in place right from the beginning, it will be far harder to address and use negative reviews effectively. This is something that you cannot afford to overlook or treat as an after-thought. Customers today have more choice than ever and it only takes a few bad experiences for a customer to move to your competitor. If you have a customer that is complaining about a product or about your entire store or your customer service team, it is a good sign that you have not set a solid foundation in place. This is also why you need to respond to reviews as quickly as possible. That brings us to our next point…
Acknowledge every review – good or bad
Ignoring reviews is never a good idea. Instead, aim to respond as quickly as possible, whether the review is raving about how much they love your product or complaining that the product was not what they expected. All reviews are good for your SEO and for giving you feedback on your products. Acknowledge that reviews have been received, tell the reviewer that you are investigating and find out what you can do to make up for the unhappiness. Whether that means offering a discount or freebie or simply apologising, a humble response can turn a negative situation into a positive one. At the very least, it may give your store another chance.
Use bad reviews in your content strategy
You can even use bad reviews as part of your content strategy for your blog and social media posts. If certain complaints come up or you notice any complaints that should be addressed, you could use these for new content. You could offer solutions to the problems that are being shared by unhappy customers and open up communication by inviting customers who have faced similar problems to get in touch. Being proactive like this can be excellent for your customer reputation. It can also help you build trust and drive engagement.
Find ways to turn a bad situation into a good one
On a similar note, you can also look at ways of turning bad situations into good situations. Complaints can be used to create a frequently asked questions page on your website. If, for example, you get complaints from customers who have not fully understood how your products work, you have the chance to educate. You could also create how-to videos to share on your social media pages. You can reference poor reviews openly rather than hiding them or trying to brush them off, and show unhappy customers that you take their concerns seriously. You could also use bad reviews as part of your employee training. Understanding why customers are not happy with your products is important as a way to improve product manufacturing, design, and concept. But it’s also a way to improve service and selling, too.
Run paid ads for poorly rated products
If you have a product that has received a large number of reviews, you could use paid aids to help drive more traffic. You will also need to respond very carefully to reviews and also show that you are actively working to address any concerns made by customers. You could update your product, for instance, and invite those that have reviewed to try the new and improved version as a beta tester. The more people try the product, the more positive reviews you can get, which, in turn, will soon balance out your reviews.
Start putting more thought into how you can generate and use reviews – good or bad – and you will soon see how much value they add to your ecommerce marketing efforts.