We know from surveys that 90 percent of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. We also know that a huge percentage of negative reviews, 86 percent, can inversely influence buying decisions.
When we think of reviews for business we tend to think of local business reviews on sites like Yelp!, Google, Yahoo, Yellow Pages or Angies List. However, local reviews aren’t the only places where we see feedback about products or services and we know that there is a whole other form of in-depth reviews that come from people that are less ‘random consumer’ and more ‘trusted industry professional.’ We are talking about blog reviews and how they can have a positive effect on your sales.
Let’s take a look at how bigger brands can leverage industry blogs to get more reviews and to drive more referral traffic to their sites. Here are some tips and considerations for utilizing bloggers to get more reviews to your site:
Determine Your Goals from Reviews First
Before you start contacting industry bloggers and introducing your products or services to them it is important to have a goal on what you want from the review first. If you don’t have a specific aspect of your product that you want the bloggers to look at they may approach the review in a different way than you expected.
While the bloggers should be able to use their own judgment to review products or services keeping a goal in mind before you approach them allows you to focus their reviews on certain aspects of your business that might be more favorable to your sales strategy.
Find Influential Bloggers who are Appropriate to Your Niche
While you might think the best strategy in terms of connecting with bloggers is to reach the most people possible it is important to make sure that the bloggers who you do connect with are a good match for your target audience. Concentrating your efforts on the blogger as well as the audience that that blogger influences is extremely important to putting the right message in front of the right people.
The goal is to have the blogger communicate her sentiments about your product to an audience that is sincerely interested in it so you can get the best feedback possible once the conversation is started. Check out our post on how to use social media to find thought leaders as a starting point for your research.
Provide Bloggers as Much Information as Necessary
When connecting with bloggers who will be reviewing your products it is important to make their research process and trial as simple as possible. Be sure to provide your bloggers relevant information such as links to where your product can be bought, information on who your products are designed for, why you thought the blogger would be a good fit, and any other relevant information that would help them help the audience.
Once you make contact with the blogger try to build a relationship with them and understand how potentially important they could be to your cause. In addition to having clear communication lines to craft the best review possible a good relationship could also mean your blogger leaves you a more favorable review.
The final aspect of providing bloggers with as much information as necessary is the generosity of your product samples. Most bloggers will expect to be able to keep whatever it is you give them so don’t expect them to return your products once delivered. A good practice for product-based companies is to provide the blogger with two samples: one for the review and the other to be used as a promotional giveaway to their audience or as something they can give to another blogger who may also be interested in testing, and writing about, your product.
Take the Good with the Bad
Sometimes reviews don’t always go as planned and the nice conversation you had with the most influential blogger in your industry might end up in a review that turns lots of potential customers off. It is still good practice to thank the blogger for their review and to use their feedback as cause to improve your product.
Some bloggers who have strong followings will often request payment in exchange for the product review. This is fairly standard practice and you should be prepared to know your limitations as far as how much you feel a blogger’s review is worth to your company.
Getting a great review from a well-respected industry blogger can do wonders for your company and brand. A negative review can hurt your bottom line but can also be a strong indicator of what you need to improve about your product. In the end getting candid exposure can be really beneficial to your company and can drive sales, increase your social media following and start a lot of conversations about your products and brand.