It is a priority for a business to make an online presence in today’s online world. You build a website, you include customer testimonials, you create social media profiles, and besides that, you regularly update your Google business listing.
However, your online reputation is not just the result of what you generate on your end—it’s all examples in which your business appears online, including online reviews. With the popularity and power of online review sites like Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Yellow Pages and Angie’s List, it is essential to understand the impact they have on your business, and how you can use reviews to build your online reputation.
Let’s be honest – if you are online searching for a product or company, and reviews are available, you will take a look. In addition, if you happen to find unfavorable opinions, you will more than likely take your business elsewhere. Why take the chance of having a bad customer experience? On the other hand, if you see positive reviews, you might be even more convincing to check that business out.
Read More: Google Business Review Guide 2018
According to Bright Local Consumer Review Survey:
- 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
- Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74% having been asked for their feedback
- 79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year, but a worrying 84% can’t always spot them
- Yelp & Facebook are local consumers’ most trusted review sites, followed by Google & BBB.org
- People are becoming less likely to visit businesses’ websites after reading positive reviews
- 32% of consumers read local reviews on mobile apps
- Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – up from 6 last year
Online Customer Reviews
Online customer reviews serve to highlight—positively or negatively—various aspects of your business, including products, services, purchase interactions or customer support engagements.
Reviews are found in a number of different places, including but not limited to:
- General search engines that provide local results, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing
- Directory sites such as Yelp, YP.com
- Niche sites such as TripAdvisor for travelers, Houzz for real estate, OpenTable for food
- Paid review sites like Angie’s List, Foursquare, Manta
- Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter
While these sites contain direct reviews and star ratings, there are other forms of online reviews, such as
- Third party blog posts and articles
- Comments on your business blog
- Social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram
- Comments on your social media posts
According to Vendasta, Top 10 Consumer & Business Review Websites:
|U.S. Alexa Ranking||Reviews Best For||Avg. Monthly U.S. Traffic||% U.S. Traffic (of Total)|
|1||any business||158.03 million||
|3||any business||85.57 million||
|Yelp||52||any business||40.47 million||
|88||related to food, restaurant, travel||28.27 million||53.40%|
|Yellowpages||402||any business||10.5 million||
|824||any business||6.15 million||
|1,002||any business||6.48 million||70.50%|
|Angies List||1,150||service related business||5.44 million||
|Foursquare||1,561||any business, mostly restaurants||3.67 million||
Three important customer-review website tips:
1) Remember to add or claim listings on the top business review sites
2) Businesses should keep asking their customers for reviews
3) Customers are more open to leaving reviews on business review sites
The Power of Online Reviews
Why are reviews so necessary?
Customer reviews are your online word-of-mouth marketing. Everyone is online, and word-of-mouth is the most popular way to promote a local business. Reviews from customers help other customers decide whether they should visit a business or not. Business reviews are now more recognized on search results pages.
According to a recent analysis, 90% of customers read online reviews, and 85% of them believe online reviews when considering a business. To encapsulate, if you do not have online reviews than you are losing approx. 80-85% of potential customers. Through reviews, people find the product genuine and the end up purchasing the product.
The power of online review is further apparent through additional stats from the study. For instance, 73% of customers say that positive review build trust for local business. Adding to that, customers are likely to spend 30% more on a business having excellent reviews. However, 86% of customers will decide against buying from you if they read negative reviews about you online.
You have probably seen the power of online reviews yourself. Additionally, in a review score, you will observe that many reviews show up in the search result for your business. In fact, reviews often show up in result pages before users even get to your website!
Yelp is another indicator of the power of online reviews. Any business owner who had a negative Yelp review knows how difficult it can be for your rating to bounce back. According to the study, a one-star increase on Yelp leads to 5-9% increase in business revenue, and one negative review can cost you 30 customers. In addition, a yelp page will sometimes rank higher than a company’s actual site on the search engine result page.
Image Source: Tips & Social
Everyone hates a bad review, and as a business owner, you want to maintain a positive online reputation through these reviews. Sadly, misunderstanding and mistakes happen, and at some point, you have to face online negative review. So what you can do?
Negative online reviews are less than perfect, but negative reviews are not the end of the world. If you know how to deal with negative reviews, you can mitigate the damage they incur and in some case, benefit from them!
In response to a thorough follow up to a negative online review, for example, an unhappy customer may remove that review, edit it, or respond through a follow up to a negative online review, for example, a disappointed customer may delete that review, edit it, or replace it with a positive comment in the following interaction.
Benefits of Online Reviews
Image Source: Cultura Interactive
Positive reviews are beneficial for business, but they do more than your business look good. Here are some additional advantages of online reviews that will have you crossing your fingers for the next positive review to come on your page.
Promote the Positivity
All you want about the value of your own business, but nothing is more believable than the grant of an actual customer. In addition, you can promote positive reviews on your website and across social platforms, amplifying their effect. Cross promotion of online review is a useful way to save you time and money in your marketing and your additional details include on your business website.
Give Insight into Services
The review site is not only a highly trusted source of information, they generate reviews for a business as a whole, rather than just a product or service. Furthermore, through online reviews, customers can learn a lot about your offerings; and what the experience of engaging with your business is like.
Another benefit of online review is that they provide customers the ability to highlight aspects of your service that make stand out from the crowd. Online reviews also mention an extra thing that you might not have noticed on your own. This could be anything – a hairdresser giving a candy to a kid after his haircut, a travel agent providing newspaper and water bottle, a carpet cleaner provides a bottle of odor removal. This little thing matters a lot to the customers and stands out in online reviews.
Convey your Personality
In addition to providing insight into your services, online reviews can also benefit your business by shedding light on your brand’s personality. As mentioned earlier, how you respond to a review has just as much of an impact as the review itself, whether that review is positive or negative. Online reviews are opportunities to show your personality to the public. If you consistently take care of unhappy customers and express gratitude for positive reviews, you can convey your brand personality and show that you care about your customers.
Build Trust among Customers
If a business has positive reviews and not a single negative mention in the site, a user may act actually become suspicious. It is a universal truth that because everyone is different, you can rarely satisfy everyone. If your business has a few negative reviews, then there is nothing to worry.
The negative reviews show that you have nothing to hide and makes the positive review more sincere. A balanced mix of online reviews benefits your business by adding elements of truth and transparency to your image, which are likely to aid with customer trust.
Improvement in Rankings
Google extracts data from external review sites for its search quality. Hence, the more positive review you have on these sites, the better the chance of your ranking in organic search.
Today online review extends far above customer testimonials on your site. With the increase of website, platform, and directories, and the growing interconnectivity of these applications, it is more vital than ever to monitor and manage your online reputation. With a proper precaution, maintenance and response tactics, you can use the power of online reviews for expanding your business.
How Can You Get Customers to Leave More Review?
When you have your own business, you are aware of how customer reviews are influential. From Health grades to Yelp, Angie’ List to Trust pilot, customers are sharing their experience on everything, and what they say has an impact.
Many business owners give more attention to the one or two reviews, but the most effective way to combat a few negative words is to load up on the rave reviews. It means you will need to encourage your satisfied customers to take the time to write about their experience.
Here are 6 tips to get you started:
Make Profiles on Multiple Review Site
Consider all the sites that are relevant to your business: Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, and CitySearch. Even if you do not think, you are in a review-driven industry like restaurants and hospitality, general review sites like TrustLink and Trustpilot are the best.
Ask Your Customers For it
Do you want to know the ideal way to increase the number of reviews for your business? You just need to ask your customer understand how important reviews are for your business, and as long as you provide a best product or service, they will not be disappointed if you ask for a review.
The next time a customer, compliments you through email, phone, or in person, mention that you would appreciate if they left the same review in an online review on Yelp or the trusted review site of their choice.
Make it Simple For Your Customers to Leave Review
Unless someone has a negative experience to share, the average customer is not going to look for ways to leave your company a review. That is why you need to ask them to post a review and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Put direct links to your review profiles in multiple places; for example, a follow-up email, newsletter, and your website. Yelp offers downloadable “Find us on Yelp” banners that you can use on your website or print out for your store.
Unless someone has a negative experience to share, average customers are not going to look for ways to leave your company a review. That is the reason you need to ask them to leave a review and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Keep a direct link to your review profile in multiple review places; for instance, a follow-up email, newsletter, and your website. Yelp offers downloadable “Find us on Yelp ” banner that you can use on your website or print out for your store.
Incent (But Don’t buy) Reviews
Sometimes what happens your most happy customer need some extra incentive to take time out of their busy schedule to write a review. Offering a small incentive is a good way to show you appreciate. Just make sure that your offering is for writing a review, and not for writing a good review. Similarly, Monthly giveaway, where you select one review at random, are effective ways to encourage reviews, and there’s no semblance of a transaction where you are paying for a review.
Always Thank Your Reviewers
It the review site provide such facilities, then thank each person who reviews your product or service. In addition, you even can surprise a top reviewer by sending them a discount code or freebie after they have posted a review. This simple act will turn satisfied customers into loyal customers.
To Encapsulate, Reviews are not great for increasing conversion, boosting, customer trust, and providing, word of mouth marketing – they are beneficial to get more traffic from search engines.
Adding to it, that traffic is a great quality review to power your SEO:
- Integrate reviews or testimonials on your site and offer discounts or coupons for writing or sharing reviews.
- Use in-site FAQ sections and forums that encourage discussion between users and build up long-tail keywords.
- Find a cohesive hashtag for a marketing campaign or your brand and encourage users to use it.