Make Customer Reviews Part of Your Marketing Strategy in 2013

January 18, 2013

Why Customer Reviews Should be an Essential Part of a Business Marketing Strategy in 2013.

2013 promises to be a competitive year for businesses, especially when people are looking hard at the money they spend on goods and services. Having a good business marketing strategy is essential when it comes to gaining and retaining customers, and one area that is sometimes overlooked, is including customer reviews as part of that strategy.

Many consumers are searching for customer reviews before they commit to buy a product or a service, and they like to read them from a variety of sources. Whether a business is a manufacturer, a retailer or a service provider, good customer reviews can be an excellent way of drawing in additional customers. A genuine, positive customer review has a weight that other marketing efforts simply cannot match, and shows that other people in their position consider their money to have been well spent.

Before focusing on customer reviews though, it is essential to have the basics in place. The main factors here are an honest appraisal of the goods or services that are being provided. Are they good quality? Good value for money? Is the customer service of the highest standard? Are problems dealt with easily and efficiently? Once the answer to these questions is yes, you can focus on gaining customer reviews in places that will do the most good.

For retailers who sell through third parties such as Amazon or eBay, customer reviews have been a part of life for a long time. People who buy through these sites are encouraged to leave a review of their experience as a part of the buying experience. There are, however, a large number of other sites where reviews of products and services can be made, including price comparison sites and Google itself.

Asking customers to leave a review is sometimes a tricky subject. No one wants to appear pushy, as the review left may be the opposite of what you want! One idea is to follow up each sale with an email thanking a customer for their business, and then perhaps including a link to a website where a review can be left. If a customer leaves a review there, it has many benefits beyond just the review itself. It also means that the email is a genuine one and that the customer has become connected. Placing this email address in a newsletter database can be one way of ensuring further business from them. You might even want to offer them a discount coupon off their next purchase.

The benefits of customer reviews as part of a business marketing strategy do not end there, though. Once a positive review is online, the full force of the internet in the form of social media can be brought into play, and the review can be tweeted and placed on Facebook in order to gain more exposure. Some people have even used reviews as part of a YouTube campaign, and lifting segments of positive reviews and placing them in adverts has been common place for years.

Using customer reviews as part of a business marketing strategy makes a great deal of sense and is only limited by the inventiveness with which it is applied. It can be used as an opportunity not only to promote a business, but also as a way of gaining genuine customer feedback; thus helping companies to streamline and improve their goods and services on offer.

Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become the UK's leading career and recruitment specialist. For the last 7 years How2become has helped applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes and assessment centers in order to secure their dream job. You can also find How2become on Google Plus.