Online reviews have a significant impact on the way consumers react to your business and the likelihood that they will choose your company for their needs. Surveys show 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Online reviews have become an invaluable asset for small businesses. You can take advantage of the trust garnered by online reviews and make even negative reviews positively affect your business. Let’s take a closer look at how reviews impact a company and why you should actively seek online reviews from your customers.
Online Reviews Bolster Credibility
Consumers are spending more time researching products and services before making buying decisions today than they ever have before. With 90% of adults owning a smartphone, all the information they need to make an educated choice is in the palm of their hand. The more positive reviews your company receives, the more credibility you have in the digital marketplace. People looking at your business will see your company as a trustworthy and reputable leader in your field.
Reliability, expertise, and professionalism are the three most important traits for a local business to have. Positive reviews help you establish an association between your company, products, and services with these traits. When you receive a positive review, the customer will likely use terms related to these traits to express their experience, which will signal to other potential leads that you are credible. This digital evolution of word-of-mouth advertising is critical to the success of your online business.
Reviews Build Your Online Presence
Building a robust online presence is an essential aspect of owning a business in our digital age. As consumers are researching products and services online, you want your company to stand out and catch their attention. The farther your reach extends across the web, the easier it is for customers to talk about you. This process will ultimately impact SEO for your site in much the same way as backlinking. Search engines like Google often compile reviews from many websites to determine where a company falls in the search results. The more reviews you have, the higher you will fall on the SERP for services or products you provide.
Building your online presence takes a lot of time and commitment. Building up the number of reviews for your business isn’t the end of the process. For reviews to continue benefiting you and improving your rank, they need to be frequent and helpful. Search engines design their algorithms to think the same way consumers do, and you are less likely to rise higher on the SERP if you have outdated reviews. Studies show that up to 69% of consumers consider reviews irrelevant if they are more than three months old. This inclination means that for your reviews to be valuable to consumers and beneficial to your company, they need to be fresh.
Online Reviews Engage Customers
Having an abundance of reviews online is excellent for your business in many other ways. It helps people see your values, integrity, and experience, and it gives you a way to engage with consumers. Creating a personal relationship with consumers who review your business adds to the impact the reviews have on those who read them. People are far more likely to choose a company that respects their consumers enough to respond to their comments and suggestions in online reviews. This interaction gives you the chance to create a long-lasting impression and cultivate your online culture to align with your brand.
Responding to online reviews gives you the chance to stand out among your competitors. Connecting with your customers is an excellent way to keep them invested in your company while garnering interest from new consumers. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and care about what they have to say. The best way to do this is also the simplest: use the reviewer’s name in your response. People feel more connected when your company acknowledges them directly, and the personal touch signals to other consumers that you feel invested in their opinions.
Dealing with Negative Reviews
You can’t always prevent negative reviews. Sometimes, people just aren’t satisfied with your product or service. A few negative reviews in the mix isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Think of negative reviews as gateways to improvement and opportunities to provide exceptional customer service. If a customer leaves a comment about an issue they encountered, offer them a solution to the problem. Not only does this give you a chance to resolve the issue, but it’s a great PR opportunity. Going above and beyond for your customers in a public forum shows others how much you care about your customers and their satisfaction.
There are a few things to remember when dealing with negative reviews. The most important is to talk to the reviewer as an individual, with empathy and a desire to help. Acknowledge their specific concerns, thank them for informing you about the issue, and offer a practical solution that you intend to honor. Show them that you and your business care about fixing the problem. There’s no guarantee that you response will sway the reviewer, but it will show everyone reading that you made an honest effort to rectify the situation.
How to Get More Online Reviews
Now that you understand the importance of cultivating online reviews, you might be wondering how to go about it. There are several techniques for actively acquiring customer reviews online. Some methods include sending personalized review invitations after a customer buys a product or service, adding a review page to your website, or running an email campaign that encourages recent customers to review their new purchase. Reviews are an essential marketing tool and a customer service staple; don’t waste an opportunity to remind customers that you care about their satisfaction.
Generating online reviews is an ongoing process, like many aspects of search engine optimization. Actively encourage customers to talk about their experience with your company online and take the time to engage with your customers. Always respond to negative reviews, even if you aren’t responding to positive ones. Word-of-mouth has always been a key player in building a successful business, and its digital counterpart is just as crucial. At Adrian Graphics & Marketing, we can teach you to use your customers’ own words to your advantage, no matter what they have to say.