- 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
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
Advantages of using Google My BusinessGoogle 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 AmazonFormer 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.
Advantages of using YelpIf 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 FacebookFacebook 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 reviewsNow 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 incentiveWe 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 reviewsShow 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 reviewsYou 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 reviewsFeature 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