Consumers today take so much more time researching before making a decision to purchase. But because of the overwhelming amount of information available online, it’s clear that businesses have to keep their customers engaged at every stage of the buyer’s journey. The best way to do that is to curate the content you show them at each of the buying process steps to improve the likelihood of a conversion. But did you know you could also do that with reviews?
Today, we’ll show you how to use customer reviews throughout the consumer decision journey to lead them to purchase. But in order to do that, we must first answer the lingering question: What is the buyer’s journey?
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey, also known as an awareness consideration decision funnel, is a series of steps the consumer takes while interacting with a business before ultimately purchasing. The funnel is designed to convince consumers to move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage and eventually to the last stage, where they’ll ultimately make the decision to procure your services or product.
With more access to information through the internet, your buyers will also be looking at your competitors before deciding what to buy. This allows you to represent your business the right way at each stage of these buying cycles.
By knowing the buying process steps, businesses can visualize the entire consumer decision journey and understand how buyers think. This insight helps develop the right strategy and identify the questions they have in mind and the solutions to offer.
How Can Buyers Use Reviews at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey?
Curating different types of content at various stages of buying cycles keeps your audience engaged. This ensures that you keep their attention throughout the entire awareness consideration decision funnel. And customer online reviews are one of the most effective content types that you can leverage across different stages to make your marketing strategies more effective.
But how would this work? Let’s look through each stage one by one to see the buyer’s thinking process and see how they can be influenced by reviews.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness stage is all about discovery. At this stage, the buyer has just realized a need for a product or service and is only starting to consider the prospect of buying. And with no solid decision on what product or service to buy and from whom, the chances of landing a conversion at this stage are pretty low.
Customers who are at the awareness stage haven’t fully realized they have a problem yet. However, they will most likely be looking around for potential products that could fit a need. This is how online customer reviews could be that source of information.
Surveys and product reviews can provide essential information your potential customers might need at the awareness stage. By showing how satisfied users are with your product or service, they will see you more as a possible solution, bringing them closer to the next stage: consideration.
Stage 2: Consideration
At the consideration stage, customers have fully realized their problem and are now seriously considering options. At this point, they will start looking for specific information while considering many options, including yours. This allows you to showcase your product or service to set you apart from the competition.
While weighing their options, potential customers will start searching for specifics, such as product details and use cases. Once sufficient information is acquired, they will start creating a shortlist of products and look at customer online reviews to evaluate their choices. They look at these online customer reviews as a source of insider information not shared by the manufacturer or vendor.
Stage 3: Decision
The decision stage is where your buyers are about to make a purchase decision. At this stage, your buyer is probably excited about finally making a purchase and has narrowed down their list of prospective companies to do business with. But while that may be so, they will still need a lot of convincing to make sure they decide in your favor.
When buyers reach the decision stage, they will look for end-stage customer online reviews. Such information as onboarding, support and quality of service will be critical and will be the last pieces of information they’ll need before ultimately deciding what to buy. In this case, they will look for company reviews or something like a customer service review to validate your claims and gauge who you are as a business.
How To Use Customer Reviews Strategically
Understanding customer buying cycles and buying process steps is only the first part of learning how to use customer reviews as part of your marketing strategy. You also have to know how to use customer reviews strategically to increase the likelihood of success. Here are a few tips:
Identify What Type of Review To Use at Different Stages
As you progress through the different stages of the awareness consideration decision funnel, understanding what type of review to show at each stage ensures that your customer completes the customer journey with you a part of it. Remember that online customer reviews come in many forms and will have different functions. Here are some noteworthy examples you can use across different stages:
- Customer Stories
- Customer Quotes
- Social Media
- eCommerce Customer Reviews
- Product Reviews
- Video Interviews
- Customer Service Review
- Company Reviews
- Customer Testimonials
- Video Interviews
Research Listings To Find Relevant Reviews
Find suitable reviews that you can add to your marketing mix. If you’re using a separate eCommerce platform to list your products, you will need to scour those platforms to look for eCommerce customer reviews about your products. You will also need to look at the top review sites to find the feedback you’ve already received. Use a search engine or enlist the help of a review generation service to help you through this process.
Invite a Variety of Customers To Create Reviews
Aside from the feedback and reviews you’ve already received, it’s also a great idea to approach past customers for other forms of reviews, such as a video testimonial or an in-depth product review. Also, make sure to approach a variety of customers and not just a single type. This will help you appeal to a wide range of customers and companies looking for reviews from customers from the same industry or who have the same use case.
Optimize Your Website for Reviews
It’s always a great idea to set the stage for your customers to leave an honest review. By optimizing your website, you not only make it easy for them to leave a review but also make reviews more visible across your website. Have key sections just for leaving reviews. Customize those sections with review templates so you can make them as informative as you like. If you’re unsure how to do this, consider using online reputation management software or working with an online review generation company.
Find Additional Distribution Channels for Your Reviews
Find ways to incorporate different reviews across multiple distribution channels. Identify the ways you can show customer reviews at the right time for customers at different stages. For instance, a customer at the awareness stage will most likely be looking at your product catalog for “something nice” to buy. Highlighting a product with a customer video gives you an opportunity to share customer stories and keep you in the running.
Look for other opportunities to distribute reviews. For example, attach video testimonials to an email newsletter, highlight eCommerce customer reviews on your social media channels or showcase reviews from different channels on your website. With multiple distribution channels, target customers at various stages of the buyer’s journey can see reviews that they need at the right time.
Online Review Management Services To Aid the Consumer Decision Journey
In this blog, we answered the question: What is the buyer’s journey? and identified how reviews could help potential customers make a decision at each stage. A majority of businesses today focus on using reviews as an end-stage persuasion tool and convince users to convert right before they make a decision. However, it’s clear that users can also derive value from reviews at all stages of the buyer’s journey and can be valuable assets across your entire funnel. The key is knowing what type of review content to show at the right time to facilitate their journey to the next stage.
Rize Reviews is an online reputation management and online review generation company that helps businesses leverage the power of reviews to elevate their digital marketing strategies. We offer online review management services to help you take control of your online reputation.
Our comprehensive review generation service automates the entire process of asking for reviews. Elevate your business through the power of reviews with Rize. Schedule a consultation with us today to get started.