Do you read reviews before purchasing a product or hiring a service? Online reviews have become an essential part of the sales funnel for many customers. In fact, according to GlobeNewswire, over 90% of consumers now read reviews before making a product purchase. This makes online reviews extremely valuable for your business.
Before you can begin seeing the value, it’s important to know where customers are leaving them. Common review platforms include Google Business Profile, Yelp, Facebook, Trip Advisor, and Better Business Bureau. Other websites may offer a place to leave a review for your business, so it’s important to run a listing management audit to determine all the places your business is listed.
Once you’ve identified your business listings, it’s time to make sure you’ve claimed them all. You don’t want someone else controlling how your business is portrayed online. Make sure you have complete access so you can update business information, promote search engine optimization, and respond to reviews. Review responses, even to negative reviews, shows that your business is active in interacting with customers. It can also show how you handle negative feedback. We’ll cover responding to negative reviews later in this post, but for now, let’s take a look at the importance of online reviews.
There are many ways to build your brand visibility, but one of the best ways to get the word out is using your online reviews. Whether you sell a product or a service, consider allowing customer reviews and then using them to your advantage. Put reviews on display on your website using something as simple as the WP Customer Review plugin for WordPress. You can even go old school and feature a review on printed marketing materials.
According to a Nielsen study, two thirds of respondents trusted consumer opinions posted online. This was the third most trusted source for advertising. If an e-commerce or online retailer allows its customers to post reviews, then it likely has nothing to hide!
A business with high online brand visibility will:
- Rank higher in SERPs
- Climb review site rankings
- Get promoted and featured on review sites
- Be more appealing to customers in general (more “clickable”) as well as more memorable
Online reviews are everywhere and really build trust when they are seen by the right audience. Put them to work for your business.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE
Reviews are a great way to learn more about your audience. What are common praises about your products or business? Are you promoting those positives in your marketing efforts? Reviews promote exposure, but they also provide valuable data, including:
- Common keywords or phrases used by your audience
- The demographic of customers leaving reviews
- Most-liked products or services
- Expectations from your brand
- Areas within your business that need improvement
Customer data provides common themes in the positives and negatives about your business. Use these themes to highlight your positives and work on the negatives. Consider what your customers are saying, and use it to learn more about their wants and needs.
People trust ratings from users. If your company has great reviews, it will reflect in your business. Ratings can make or break a new potential customer’s decision to shop or work with you. Asking happy customers to review you on the various platforms, especially Google, will help with your ranking on Google search results pages. Ranking higher will then create even more business for you.
Google Business Profile reviews in particular help with search engine optimization and ranking higher. If you’ve ever conducted a search for a service using the phrase “near me”, you’ve most likely seen a list of local map pack listings with businesses nearby. These listings are especially important for local businesses targeting consumers around the area. Reviews not only help consumers learn more about your business, but also help your business listing appear trustworthy to more consumers.
HIGHLIGHT POSITIVE REVIEWS
Include good reviews as part of your marketing – particularly on social media. It is very easy to screenshot a good review and post a thank you to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It’s also a good idea to link your review pages to your website, or at the least, post some of the good reviews as testimonials throughout your page. This builds confidence in folks who are browsing for merchandise or a service with your company.
RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS
If you receive a bad review, respond to it in a professional manner as quickly as possible. Let the customer know that you have received their review and are working on the issue. If necessary, thank them for identifying the area for improvement and assure them the issue is being resolved. Leaving a bad review without a response can be perceived as ignoring your customers’ concerns.
Not all bad reviews are authentic. If you notice the review was published about products or services you don’t offer, or seems to be fake, you can report it. Only reviews without factual merit should be reported; you can’t just report every negative review your business gets. Besides, the negatives can be a way for you to show that you positively react to customer feedback. Be sure to apologize for any inconvenience and we recommend asking the reviewer to contact you directly so that you can obtain more details about their experience. Take the conversation offline to limit any backlash you may receive online. Don’t stress and act with emotion. Handle the negative reviews professionally and sincerely.
Online reviews offer many benefits for businesses, especially if you know where to find them. Need help locating all your business listings? Reach out to us. Our reputation management/search engine optimization specialist will create a report of the listings, and can even help you respond to reviews. No matter your business size, let us help you manage your online presence so you can get the most out of your online reviews.