As a business owner, you’re always looking for new and effective ways to improve your marketing and bring in more customers, and maybe you already have a pretty comprehensive strategy in place. But surveys have shown that the one essential tactic that many businesses are still failing to make use of is online customer reviews of their products and services, and that’s a mistake. They can be one of your most effective marketing tools, increasing lead generation and product sales. If you’re not using them as part of your marketing strategy, then you’re certainly not getting all the reviews you could be, and that’s a shame, because most other businesses are using them successfully, and your competition is probably among them. Positive customer reviews can also give a big boost to your website’s local SEO efforts. Let’s explore just what enabling your sites to allow online reviews can do for you.
Reviews Are Free Advertising
Every time a customer posts a review about your business on your site, or when you collect them from Google, Facebook, Yelp, or wherever and publish them yourself, it’s a form of free advertising for your business, exposing your company name, products, and services to your readers, increasing brand awareness, telling them who you are and what your business does. And it’s the best form of advertising you can get, because it’s unsolicited and unpaid. Reviews are given by a person of their own free will. They come from an independent source and are thus unbiased, unlike marketing content coming from your business.
Online reviews work for many different types of businesses, more than some other types of media do, and they’re especially effective for locally oriented SMB’s. They can give you the type of exposure, free of cost, that you simply might not be able to afford through other marketing channels.
They Improve Your Local Search Engine Rankings
As part of their search algorithm, Google takes note of how often your company name shows up in reviews. The more often it’s mentioned, the more likely your site will rank higher in search results for your particular type of business. It really can make a big difference, and your customers do the work.
It Helps You Build Credibility And Trust
- There’s hardly a better way to build customer trust in your products and services than online reviews. Recent surveys have reported that 85% of consumers say they have a high amount of trust in online reviews, as much as they do for recommendations from friends and family members. And a whopping 97% reported that they regularly consult them before deciding to buy from a business. Every review, good or bad, makes an impact. Obviously, if people only read negative reviews, they’re going to form a negative impression of your business. Therefore you want to make sure you have more positive reviews online to be found.
- Converting customers is 82% more likely when you have online reviews available. That’s because they’re getting the kind of information they need to decide to buy, from people just like them, and that builds trust and confidence. Plus, if you the owner take the time to respond to reviews, with thanks for positive ones and explanations for bad ones, it convinces potential customers that you really care about them and their business. 41% of people said this on the surveys.
- Positive reviews are important. 73% of consumers said that positive reviews makes them trust a business more.That’s totally logical and predictable. Think about it, if you are, say, a divorce attorney, and you have two negative reviews, and your competition has 20 good reviews, who are potential clients more likely to call?
How To Generate Positive Online Reviews
The best way generate a lot of positive reviews is by simply providing good products and services and practicing excellent customer service. If your customer is happy they’ll say good things about you. Keep in mind though that happy customers are less likely to share their experience than those that are peeved because they had a poor experience. Those are the ones most likely to leave a bad review and tell all their friends. Of course, some people are just hard to satisfy no matter what, and stuff happens, so you’ll always have some negative reviews, but you can practice damage control by responding to them quickly and diplomatically.
The next best thing you can do is ask for them. Most people will be willing to leave a review if you invite them to and make the process quick and easy.
Of course you have control of what kind of reviews you publish on your website and on your social media sites. And today it’s easier than ever to manage your reviews with sophisticated automated tools.
So if you’re not already doing it, it’s time to take control of your online customer reviews and start making them work for you more effectively. It’ll probably be the best marketing decision you’ll make this year.