If you're looking for ways to increase your program's visibility, here's an idea you might not have considered: focus on your online reviews.
The process of managing customer reviews, or reputation marketing as it's known in the field, continues to increase in importance. According to reports, 85 percent of consumers now read online reviews before making a purchase decision, while 72 percent trust reviews by complete strangers. That's the reason e-commerce sites like Amazon now have their user reviews prominently displayed, right under the item title.
In short, the first thing many students look at when registering for a program will be what others who have participated in the past think about it. To convince them that your program is everything they hope for, these reviews have to be positive and plentiful.
It’s clear that program reviews matter, now let's take a look at five steps that will increase or improve your program's online reviews.
- Gather Information. Surveying attendees after the program provides two important opportunities for you. First, attendees may have great suggestions for areas where your program could improve or positive feedback about areas they found highly beneficial. Second, you can easily identify the people who had positive things to say.
- Encourage Reviews. Once you've identified the satisfied participants, contact them - via email or otherwise - to encourage them to leave a positive review on your TeenLife directory listing or other review sites you utilize. If they've filled out a survey positively, they'll likely follow through and rate the program highly.
- Be Proactive. Writing a negative review is not likely to be the first step in an unhappy participant's venting process. A lot of negative reviews can be avoided by responding promptly to this audience's complaints, assuring them that their concerns are heard and improvements are being made.
- Be Responsive. Of course, you still won't be able to avoid some negative reviews. In that case, respond to these reviews in a positive, constructive manner. In managing your reputation through online marketing, the response to negative reviews can be just as important as positive reviews in gaining consumer trust and credibility.
- Stay Ethical. Some program managers, upon seeing the stats at the top of this article, may be tempted to fake-post positive reviews by people who didn't actually attend the program. Don't. Consumers - especially teenagers - are smarter and more web-savvy than you think, and they'll be able to tell the difference between a "real" and a "fake" review. The damage done by one fake review can be immense, and is simply not worth the effort.
By following these five steps, your services will not just start garnering positive reviews. The feedback gathered can also be invaluable in improving the actual services, providing an even better experience for high school students interested in your program.
Note: To post a review on TeenLife.com, students and parents must be members first. We recently added a "College Student" category so that current college students could join TeenLife and write reviews on programs and services they experienced while in high school. To write a review, they should log in, go to your listing on TeenLife.com (send them the link), scroll down, and select "Write a Review". Premium Listings have the ability to respond to reviews - log in and upgrade today!