Importance of Online Customer Reviews for Business

  • The importance of online reviews for business
  • How can positive online reviews boost business growth?
  • Review sites businesses should invest in online
  • How to encourage positive reviews from customers
  • Importance of responding to negative reviews
 
Just how critical are online reviews for business? The answer is extremely important; in fact, data from Qualtrics revealed that 93% of customers read online reviews before purchasing a product from a company. % OF PEOPLE WHO READ ONLINE REVIEWS BEFORE BUYING A PRODUCT In the past, people were more inclined to make purchases based on word-of-mouth recommendations or newspaper article features. However, in today’s digital world, consumers turn to online reviews when they require advice on buying a product or subscribing to a service. According to recent research, customers are willing to spend 31% more on businesses with positive reviews, with a star rating of 3.3 appearing to be the minimum for which customers will engage with a firm’s website. Focus your marketing efforts on acquiring more positive reviews. You’ll find that your business will grow significantly, and you can achieve this without spending copious amounts on paid ads and other paid advertising strategies. How can you increase my online reviews? Continue reading our article on the importance of online reviews for business, including the review platforms to take advantage of to discover how you could boost your bottom line.

Why are positive reviews important?

In the busy and sometimes dishonest world of online shopping, consumers often need reassurance before committing to purchase a product or service, and online reviews play a crucial role in building trust with potential customers. According to the online survey firm Qualtrics, 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations, while 97% of respondents said they use the Internet to research local products and services before purchasing anything. Nothing will deteriorate your brand’s image quicker than negative reviews. But, on the other hand, positive reviews build trust, credibility and offer insight into the customer journey, which can help you identify areas of improvement. Furthermore, online customer reviews hold weight with search engines, with a Moz study revealing that reviews account for 15% of ranking factors for organic search.

What are the best sites for online reviews?

While positive reviews are a vital way for businesses to sell their products and widen their audience reach, ensure you’re using well-known review sites that will convert. Some of the most popular review sites include:
  • Google My Business
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Trustpilot
  • Feefo
We’ve focused on the first four below, which have a combined average of nearly 370 million visitors every month and, except for Amazon, are suitable review sites for businesses.

Advantages of using Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) offers firms the opportunity to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) for free and should be regarded as a necessary tool by all businesses. The powerful tool allows you to create listings of your business operations, reviews, its location and any articles on your site. If you’ve ever searched for something like “restaurants near me” or the name of a city, you’ve more than likely seen a listing pop at the top of your SERPs.

How does Google My Business work?

All that GMB requires is the business name, location and industry to create an account. While this information is usually accessible on your business website, Google indexes the content you provide and delivers optimised search results to help users find the best local solution. Furthermore, given that Google dominates search, this free tool offers businesses one of the most powerful ways to generate leads without aggressive marketing campaigns.

How do you get onto Google My Business?

After creating and verifying your GMB account, you can edit and review your listings for consistency, altering how your business appears on SERPs based on location, opening hours and contact information. After you’ve inserted the basic information about your business, interact with your customers and work on getting reviews, which are the lifeblood of local search. Given that almost everyone likes reassurance, the more 5-star reviews you have, the more sales you’re likely to generate.

Advantages of using Amazon

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has built an extremely successful company, and part of its growth has been driven by customer reviews, which are in abundance on the site. It was one of the first online retailers to promote reviews and has become one of the most important places for consumers to validate the worth of a product. Suppose you want to purchase a yoga mat from Amazon and come across several different brands; you’re more likely to buy the product from the company with 5-star reviews than 1-stars or no reviews at all. Qualtrics’ study found that 94% of consumers said a negative online review convinced them to avoid purchasing from a business. Meanwhile, separate data from Bazaarvoice revealed that product pages with reviews bring in 3.5 times more conversions than those without. While not all businesses sell products on Amazon, if you do, focusing your efforts on acquiring reviews will not only help establish your brand as trustworthy but improve your rankings in SERPs due to Amazon’s A9 algorithm.  The higher you appear in search, the more visible your brand is and the better chance you have at generating sales than competitors. Online Customer Reviews

Advantages of using Yelp

If you’re a local business, you might want to consider gaining online reviews on Yelp, which helps small businesses gain trust from their consumers. While Yelp is a little more hands-on than other review sites, it’s unique as it tries to display reviews that it recognises as “most helpful”. They determine whether a review could be helpful to other customers by considering:
  • Previous reviews made by customers about the business
  • Feedback received on the review
  • Quality of reviews that you have already received

How does Yelp work?

Although you can’t directly ask for reviews on Yelp due to the company’s terms of service agreement, you can ask customers to “check you out” on the platform or use other phrases that would suggest you’d like to be reviewed. The more positive reviews you get, the more benefits for your business, as you’ll likely receive a better position on Yelp. To get set up on Yelp, you’ll need to make a profile and showcase the review sticker in a visible location on-site. If you’re engaging with customers online, you can direct them to the Yelp website or include the company’s badge on your website to encourage users to check out your reviews and leave you a review.

Advantages of using Facebook

Facebook reviews are essential for businesses, given that potential customers often head over to social media sites to read online reviews before committing to purchase a product. Facebook has also changed its reviews to recommendations and is expanding this functionality to user feeds to offer relevant brands when searching for a particular product. You could create a review tab on your Facebook business page by going to Page Settings > Edit Page > Reviews and make sure the action button is turned on. However, not all Facebook pages display reviews. Suppose yours doesn’t, then you can change your template and look through the various options until you find one suitable for your business needs. Alternatively, choose the default business option.

How to encourage positive reviews

Now that you’re aware of a few review sites, we’re going to look at a few strategies you could employ that will encourage people to write high-quality reviews about your business.

Offer an incentive

We all love freebies, so offering your customers a discount, gift card or small reward for leaving you a review will more than likely encourage them to participate and inspire loyalty. However, be mindful that you’re not crossing the line and bribing the customer.

Respond to positive and negative reviews

Show customers that you care about their feedback by responding to their reviews, whether good or bad. Ignoring negative reviews can also have a damaging impact on your brand’s image. It could lead to uninformed, unimpressed customers who may avoid purchasing a product or service from your business ever again. Given that obtaining a new customer is seven times more expensive than retaining an existing customer, it’s in your best financial interests to open dialogue and empathise with your customers that leave reviews.

Target the right customers when asking for reviews

You don’t need to ask every customer to leave a review of your product or site. Instead, prioritise the customers that love your products and have had great success with your business. These customers are more likely to leave excellent reviews of your company, which could sway other people that land on your site to make a purchase. The type of customers you want to target are:
  • Customers recommending your business to others due after having a positive experience with a product or service you offer
  • Those that rated have rated their experience with your business highly 
  • Repeat customers and those who are increasingly engaged with your product

Promote fantastic reviews

Feature excellent reviews across all your platforms: social media, your website, newsletters, the app store and highlight the reviewer by name to help boost your credibility. If you want to showcase reviews on your website, you could place them as testimonials on:
  • product pages
  • homepage
Cultivate an environment for positive reviews by turning your customer’s success with your business into an in-depth case study, which sales team members could use to demonstrate to prospective customers how your product or service will be valuable to them. Online Satisfaction Survey

Recognise the best time to ask for a review

The best time to ask for a review is when the purchase is fresh in the customer’s mind. Don’t interact with them weeks or months after their last interaction with you, as you risk getting an uninspiring review or none at all. Ask them to leave a review before they get to sleep on it as the positive memories grow out of focus with each hour that passes. Securing the review right after the sale has been made will make it easy for your clients to write a review as they will be able to recall what made the experience special.

Most frequently asked questions: Online customer reviews

We’ve outlined some of the most frequently asked questions about online reviews to help you better understand the importance of these for business growth.

Is it wrong to pay someone to leave a review?

While possible, you should never pay someone to leave a review of your business as it usually violates the terms and service agreements of review sites which could hurt your search rankings and get your company banned from these platforms. 

Why are online reviews important?

Online reviews are essential as they influence how customers perceive your brand, directly impacting your reputation and bottom line. It’s also a ranking factor for search engines, meaning positive reviews can help improve your business’ position in SERPs.

Can I delete a bad review?

While having too many bad reviews can deter people away from your brand, you should avoid deleting a bad review as it can impact the credibility of your business. Most platforms won’t allow businesses to delete reviews, although there is usually a set of steps that firms can take to report spam or a false review. Still, it’s ultimately up to the review site to remove the listing.

Is it important for businesses to respond to reviews?

According to a BrightLocal study, 97% of consumers who read online reviews also read responses from businesses, showing that consumers are also influenced by how companies handle feedback.

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