Online reviews are among the first things that potential customers look at when it comes to making a purchase decision. No matter what industry you are in, online reviews have a huge impact on prospects and can make you stand out from competitors. They can make your business look more reliable, they attract trust among consumers, and increase search engine results visibility.
On the other hand, it takes just several negative reviews to have your reputation affected and to make potential customers distrust you before even trying your products/services for themselves. To sum it up, online reviews can ultimately make or break your business.
In spite of the possible danger they represent, online reviews remain a powerful promotional tool, and the way you respond to negative reviews can help you maintain a clean image (even if you have a few unhappy customers). The benefits of using this tool provided by search engines and social networks are far greater than the risks, as long as you are sure your business provides good customer service. Here are the main reasons for using online reviews:
People are more inclined to buy products/services from websites that have positive online reviews from past customers. 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 72% say they trust a local business more if it has positive online reviews. With the advent of social media and easy access to the Internet worldwide, people have already been researching goods and services online for weeks before buying them.
Online reviews build consumer trust because they encourage transparency. Advertising your business yourself isn’t the only way you need to advertise to create trust; people are more persuaded to trust other people who have used the product they are interested in, and have reviewed it/have an opinion about it.
Your legitimacy on social networks will be more solid than ever when you have a lot of positive reviews, because once someone reads your reviews, they instantly know that your company is real and can be trusted. Consumers want good value for their money and nowadays they can check the competition faster and easier than ever if they feel your offer is unattractive or you have too many negative reviews.
Poor online reviews result in a loss of sales. Many people will overlook a business if it doesn’t have 3 or more stars, and are even more reluctant if the business doesn’t have any reviews at all. These are potential customers and sales you could be gaining.
Another factor that that you should be thinking about in terms of online reviews is that consumers are likely to spend 31% more on products and services from businesses that have been reviewed positively. Educated consumers are not hunting discounts and chasing the lowest prices, but want good value for their money and are willing to spend more on a product they know is of good quality, and that they know they will like and use. So, enabling online reviews for your business increases the likelihood of your customers spending more money, while the lack of online reviews drives away customers.
Helping with SEO
Online reviews make your business more visible and increase organic search engine ranking. Online reviews can boost your company’s organic search rankings in a very simple manner: the more people talk about your business the more it will be exposed in Google search.
Moreover, online reviews improve your organic search click-through rates. There are plugins that allow you to have your business reviews displayed in the organic search results next to your website listing, and a listing with several positive reviews will certainly draw attention.
Encouraging corrective action
“If only I knew what my customers really want”, says the average business owner. Thanks to online reviews, now you can now utilise your consumers opinions, and get insights into consumer trends, find solutions to improving your company’s products and services, and measure the impact of upgrades you have made to your products and services.
Publicly showing that you care about your customers’ opinions and are willing to do better can transform a weakness into strength and enable you to promote your business at the same time. So, a negative review can either result in losing 1 customers plus having several others starting to feel cautious about your business, or it can result in fixing the problem, convincing that customer to come back, and attracting several other people in the meantime.
Discovering your strengths
Are you considering a new way to market your business? One way to do it is to look at customer reviews. Identify the one thing that people are constantly raving about and use that as a selling point. You can’t go wrong with that!
Online reviews are actually content that promotes your business
Can’t find the right words and ideas to sell your products? If customers are satisfied, they will do the selling for you because online reviews count as content. Old customers assist you with obtaining new customers, you get unique and relevant content that you can recycle and use as an inspiration, and potential customers are ensured they will have a great experience with your company.
Are you afraid of negative online reviews?
Let’s not overlook the risks associated with online reviews. Negative online reviews can rapidly deter your business reputation and all it takes is 1 negative review that can have a large impact on your success, but that’s if you don’t handle the situation properly. Some sources claim that a single negative review can cost your business around 30 customers.
The good news is that having negative consumer reviews does not mean your business will fail. Having a blend of both positive and negative reviews makes your company look more authentic and readers can trust the positive customer feedback. Having 5-star online reviews only can look suspicious and prospects may consider that all these positive reviews are fake and have been left by either your friends or relatives. As long as negative reviews are not catastrophic and you know how to handle criticism gracefully, a mix of mostly positive reviews and several negative ones will be a good thing for your online reputation.
Just as important as the benefits provided by online reviews is the way you can get them. Some ideas to attract more reviews for your business include:
- Engage with customers on social media and respond to their questions as soon as possible
- Thank people for leaving reviews, both positive and negative, and offer solutions to dissatisfied customers – refunds, exchanges, apology, etc.
- Ask you loyal customers to leave reviews for your business and even invite them to post testimonials on your blog.
- The last but not the least, make those positive reviews possible by providing excellent service and maintaining the highest quality standards for your products.
The conclusion is that online reviews can be utilised and used to your advantage when running a successful business. Neglecting online reviews and leaving your online reputation to chance will definitely hurt your sales, and a one-star change in your online reviews can make your revenue significantly higher or lower. Working to improve your star rating on key online review platforms is a simple way to make more money and improve your business operations.