Last week, digital marketing agency Go Fish Digital (via Moz.com) published findings that indicated 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews.
That shouldn’t really be a surprise, considering that people generally go through around 57% of their buyer’s journey before even getting in touch with a business – of course they’re going to be reading reviews.
Which got me thinking about how important it is to compare your competitors’ products or services on your own website or blog – something many companies shy away from.
It’s time to do what no-one else is doing and give your potential customers what they want, by talking about the competition.
I actually recommend this to all my own clients, and here’s why:
Why write reviews?
I recently attended The Content Marketing Academy 2015, which featured some fantastic speakers, including Marcus Sheridan (from The Sales Lion).
Marcus spoke about how important it is to address the ‘elephant in the room’ and discuss tricky subjects that other companies often shy away from – such as price, or what your competitors are offering.
Reviews are a great way of providing content which addresses your customers’ questions or fears – an essential aspect of the inbound marketing methodology.
In fact, a great, impartial review can often give them exactly what they’re looking for, and the fact that you’re taking the time to address these fears means that you’re establishing their trust early on, and doing what no-one else is prepared to do.
So, who do they come to when they’re ready to make a purchase decision? It’ll be you, every single time.
Tips to get started
Below are some quick tips to help you come up with the best online reviews your potential customers are going to love:
1. Keep it impartial
The first rule of writing reviews is that you should always try and be as impartial as possible. It doesn’t matter that you’re comparing your competitors’ products or services – you need stay objective and include all the benefits that they offer, along with any downsides that your customers might want to know about.
Why do this? Because potential customers will respect you more, as you’re willing to open up and tell them the truth. In the end, who are they likely to trust more? The company whose website is just full of self-promotion, or the one offering impartial content and honest comparisons? You guessed it.
2. Get your facts right
It’s great that you’re coming up with impartial reviews of the products or services you and your competitors offer, but only if you make sure you get the facts 100% right.
If you publish false information about your competitors, your readers will probably find out sooner or later, and you’ll lose any trust you’ve managed to establish. You’ll also get your competitors on your back pointing any errors out to you!
3. Stand out
One of my clients has just started putting together reviews for their blog. This is because they discovered a lot of people want very specific information on different models of boilers, as all the product names and specifications can seem very confusing.
Great idea, right? But what’s more is that they also managed to spot a gap online, which means they are now doing what hardly anyone else is doing – actually comparing specific models against each other, so that their readers can decide which one is right for their home.
The takeaway is this: if you can make your reviews stand out by going that extra mile, do it.
4. Be respectful
You’ve got to be particularly careful when reviewing products or services that are in direct competition to you – and this goes far beyond simply being impartial.
Always show a great deal of respect for those that are offering similar products or services to you, as you never know – you may be able to help each other out one day. This goes hand-in-hand with accepting that not every customer will be right for you; perhaps someone else can benefit from that lost business.
Remember, being disrespectful to your competitors in an online review will only make you seem petty, and there’s a good chance readers will in turn lose respect for you and take their business elsewhere.
5. Plan carefully
Before getting down to writing your review, plan out the areas you’re going to be focusing on, as this will help you to always stay on-point. After all, there’s nothing worse than reading a long, rambling review that goes off in various tangents without ever really getting down to the nitty gritty.
If you’re going to deliver a trusted online review, make sure to give readers what they really want – if you can’t do that yet, go back and research some more until you can.
As much as 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, and they can work well when incorporated as part of an overall inbound marketing strategy.
Providing informative online reviews could benefit your business, so if you’re not already posting reviews or comparisons with similar products/services/companies out there, you’ve got to ask yourself why.
Impartial, well thought-out reviews are a fantastic way of providing content which addresses your customers’ questions or fears about your competitors – an essential element of inbound marketing. It builds trust and makes it more likely they’ll come to you when they’re ready to buy.
Just remember the following tips:
- Keep it impartial
- Get your facts right
- Stand out
- Be respectful
- Plan carefully
Are you going to start writing online reviews?