5 Ways to Leverage Online Reviews in Offline Marketing
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking of online and offline marketing separately. But most of your customers exist in both worlds. So the more you can think holistically and use each to drive the other, the better.
We’ve previously discussed the value of online reviews in building your online business.
But how can you use them in “real world” marketing?
Don’t tie your hands behind your back. Written reviews, or verbal recommendations are powerful assets both online and off. Ask yourself, “How can I best leverage the value in my online reviews to maximize my offline marketing?”
Here’s How to Leverage Online Reviews with Offline Marketing
1. Printed Media and Online Reviews
Getting online reviews is a powerful way to market your business because they are considered by prospective customers to be an independent source of information compared to claims made by a business owner directly.
Independence is Power.
So obtain reviews wherever and whenever you can, including in printed publications. Within your log of reviews, find a handful of short quotes (or edit them down) that describe your business realistically and ensure that they’re used across all of your visual assets.
2. News Media/PR Outreach for Online Reviews
If you are doing any sort of media relations work, you probably have a press kit in your tool box.
Take advantage of this! Add a handful of strong and positive reviews from customers to your press kit. Think of it as a “why you’d like to write about my business” primer. News outlets want to write about the kind of businesses that their viewers and/or readers are already talking about. Your goal should be to demonstrate a sense of groundswell buzz around your business that will excite and motivate your media contact to write about an event or offering at your business.
3. Quote Online Reviews in Commercial Retail Signage
If you have physical locations, such as restaurants or retail stores, select a handful of key quotes about your business and build signage around them. Find a small number and build a permanent display or, if you have enough reviews coming in, make temporary signs using “real” customer quotes.
“The french fries were hot…and fantastic!”
“Tom always takes good care of us when we visit!”
If you’re a restaurant, consider using quotes on a few specific menu items. Comments that convey not just quality, but also a particular experience. Don’t hold back, this is your business!
4. Responding to Online Reviews (Go the Extra Mile!)
Use online reviews to generate word of mouth by engaging directly with your reviewers in some form of dialog, if possible. Answer all reviews left online, both positive and negative. Thank customers for the feedback. Online review management software can help with that.
If there is negative review and comment, address it openly and honestly and promise to get back to them. And then do get back to them with a resolution.
Here’s an example:
“Thank you again for your feedback regarding our parking situation. We’ve been in touch with the city about the lot next door and it looks like we’ll be expanding soon. Keep the feedback coming.”
Customers that feel heard and invested often have more brand affinity and loyalty than customers that simply had a good experience and never engaged your business.
5. Be Resourceful and get More Online Review Feedback
And finally–although this is a bit off-topic, it’s critical to always be on the lookout for ways to use your offline marketing to drive reviews and generate additional feedback.
In short, ask!
Sit down with a scratchpad and visualize all your customer touchpoints. Is your company the sort of business that gives a receipt? Add a link to the bottom or reverse side. Retail location? Put a sign by the door. Hair salon? Print it on an appointment card. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.