Today’s world is driven by the Internet – a good web presence today can make or break your business. And as we become even more dependant on technology, with the world available at our fingertips virtually every second of the day through our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, managing your online presence has never been more important.
Do you monitor your online reviews? If not, you are missing out on an important way to engage with customers and potential customers, and possibly losing business because of it.
Positive reviews can build your business and customer base, enhancing your reputation and building trust with your community. Negative reviews can have the opposite effect. Read our post on how to deal with negative reviews to understand how negative reviews can impact your business.
Today, we’ll focus on the basics of what you need to know about online customer reviews.
Good reviews influence consumers.
Where do you turn when making a decision on an item to purchase, a service to hire, or other consumer decisions? In the past we may have turned to friends or family for their take, but today, we often turn to Google, Yelp, or any number of online review sites to see what people are saying about the business with whom they are thinking of doing business.
But, do these reviews actually influence consumers? Research says yes. A 2017 BrightLocal survey showed that 49% of consumers skip over any business with ratings lower than four stars, and 84% of people will hold an online review in the same esteem as a review from a family member or friend.
That means your business should be doing all you can to keep customers happy, and encouraging them to create positive reviews on relevant business review sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook.
Negative reviews can have the reverse effect.
As much as positive reviews can help your brand and business, even one negative review can undo all of that goodwill. One negative review can lead to 22% of your potential customers opting to skip your business. Three negative reviews increase that to 59%, and four or more will be sending the majority (70%!) of consumers looking elsewhere.
What does this mean for you?
Quite simply, this means that consumers trust online reviews. In fact, more people trust online reviews than they do traditional advertising, so if you’re focusing solely on traditional means of getting your business’ name out in the public and ignoring what internet reviews can do for you, you may be missing out on a lot of business.
No news is not good news.
If you haven’t been spending time soliciting reviews from happy customers, and currently have no reviews to be found, you aren’t off the hook. An internet presence, complete with reviews, is crucial in today’s business landscape. People want all the information they need at the touch of their hands – and reviews can help a consumer make a complete decision much faster.
But why do businesses need reviews?
Even small businesses, who won’t have thousands of reviews available, can be hurt by a lack of presence on review sites. If you want your business to grow and attract more consumers, building these reviews is a crucial component. And this is even more important if your business is local and you have competitors. Positive reviews will tell a consumer why they should choose you over your competition.
Sixty-three percent of consumers will use a search engine enabled with reviews, such as Google, when searching for a good or service. And the overwhelming majority of consumers not only read, but trust, reviews left by other consumers.
Today, reviews can reach far and wide, too. Social media gives consumers a platform to express their pleasure, or displeasure, with business that can then be liked, shared and seen by thousands of other potential customers. Social networks dominate the way we communicate, and you want people to be talking about your business in a positive light.
Reviews, whether good or bad, can improve brand loyalty.
Your business should be in the habit of asking customers to leave reviews, either on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or another site. Obviously, you hope every customer has a positive experience and leaves a glowing review. This can then help build your reputation in the community. But, even negative reviews can give you an opportunity to take back your narrative and turn the situation around. Create a dialogue around the review – addressing the situation, apologizing, and offering a way to make it up to the customer. If other customers see that you take consumer feedback seriously, and are willing to rectify the situation, you can build brand loyalty, despite the negative review. Remember – responding swiftly and properly isn’t just for the reviewer, but for the potential customers who may be turned off by the negative review.
Consumers will buy more if they see positive reviews.
According to Broadly.com, 54% of consumers will visit a business’ website after seeing multiple positive reviews online. And consumers spend 31% more on businesses with excellent reviews. So not only will great reviews drive traffic to your site, it will drive up your revenue, too.
Reviews can improve your internet rankings.
For small businesses especially, you can seem to live or die by your ranking on search engines. Reviews can help! The language used in a review can then appear as keywords that search engines trawl for. And, if reviewers are using language that is similar, this increases the likelihood that you’ll be found easily.
You don’t get if you don’t ask.
Reviews most often don’t just happen, unless a consumer is incredibly pleased or displeased with a business. But, nearly 70% of consumers say they will provide a review if asked. So, that means you need to ask. An in-person ask is always the best – after an appointment, or service, or shopping experience is complete, ask the customer if they’d be willing to leave a review on a review site. If that isn’t possible, follow up with an email recommending the customer leave a review on your desired review site. This should be a gentle ask, never a demand. Make leaving a review as easy as possible – the fewer the steps involved, the more likely a customer will be to leave a review.
Luckily for the businesses we work with, SEO Foxy understands the important role online reviews play in building your business. Our convenient online review tool can help you build your review portfolio, increasing your visibility and customer loyalty. Our tool helps you track and monitor your online review presence, prevent negative reviews before they happen, gain more positive reviews, and increase your 5 star ratings.
The best part is, we make it as simple as possible for you to ask for the feedback, and for your customer to leave it. You’ll have the ability to send an invitation for review directly to your customer’s smartphone. From there, the customer simply has to follow a link that will take them directly to the review form. The tool lists the review sites one at a time, allowing us to place the important review sites at the top, which can help getting reviews where it matters most for your business.
For the customer, we remove the task of then determining which review site to go to, then searching for your business, finding the review form under your listing, etc. It makes the process as easy as possible for every customer, even if they aren’t completely tech-savvy.
Online reviews can make or break your business. If you are interested in learning more about how you can build your review presence, gain more local business reviews and monitor your business’ reputation, call SEO Foxy today for more information, 844-SEO-FOXY.