Many local business owners shy away from giving their customers the facility of writing online reviews because they fear that a negative review could destroy their company’s reputation.
Sure, negative reviews do happen, and it’s a risk you take when you put your name on the line. However, there are ways of dealing with negative reviews, and the benefits of having online reviews, good or bad, far outweigh the consequences of the rare negative ones. Throwing your door open to reviews is essential if you want to win in online business.
Online Reviews; The Power of the People
The Brightlocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2022 found that 77% of consumers read local reviews to decide whether a business is any good.
If you have plenty of reviews coming in, you are doing the right thing. According to the study results, it’s even better if you respond to the reviews you get. In fact, “89% of consumers are “highly” or “fairly likely” to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.”
If your business is efficient and provides good customer service, there’s no reason to fear negative reviews. According to the survey, “only 40% of people consider leaving a bad review”, even if they do have a negative experience with a business.
It’s time to harness the power of the people and start encouraging your clientele to leave reviews.
The role of reviews and their relationship in directly encouraging more customers, and bolstering your reputation, is just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of reviews goes further than you might imagine.
The Value of Reviews for Social Proofing
Social Proofing (also known as informational social influence) is an accepted concept in digital marketing, based on a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation. In short, it’s the idea that if others are doing it/buying it, then I should be too.
It’s not a new concept. Social proof has been used since time immemorial to boost consumers’ confidence in a service or product right at the beginning of the sales funnel. In the old days, social proofing was employed by featuring explicit or implied testimonials in print adverts, for example.
Social proofing is powerful because it comes from the customers themselves. Their voices carry more weight than hundreds of branded messages from a business itself. There’s nothing like validation from satisfied customers for engendering trust and influencing potential customers.
Reviews, therefore, are of far more value than just the words themselves, they are the gun that can get potential customers off of the starting block.
Read more about Social Proof from the Trustpilot consumer review site.
Reviews Improve SEO
While customer reviews are decidedly trusted signals for your customers, they also send a positive message to search engines, particularly in the realm of off-page SEO.
Collecting reviews on a third-party site (like Google My Business, TrustPilot, Checkatrade or Tripadvisor for example) is an important ranking factor that helps build up your online presence. Many of those third-party review sites are worth being featured on because they themselves have high rankings on the search engines, in which you can have a share, benefitting from referral traffic.
Featuring customer reviews on your own website is valuable for SEO too because any and all relevant website content has merit in the eyes of Google algorithms. Reviews are worthwhile content, with no extra copywriting or content creation required.
Google rates what it calls “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authority and Trust) very highly when determining search engine rankings, and online reviews feed into all these elements, demonstrating evidence of meeting these criteria. Trust in particular is reflected in positive reviews, and trust in a brand is important for all concerned.
The End of the Sales Funnel
Whatever else reviews may accomplish for your business, they are undoubtedly a crucial marketing tool that can make or break your conversion funnel.
On average consumers read four or more reviews before deciding to trust your business and purchase a product or service, so it’s important to give them the opportunity to do so, before making it very easy for them to react to a call to action when they’re ready to buy or contact you.
Reviews don’t just encourage conversions on your website, but on your social media too, so don’t hesitate to showcase reviews on your social posts and engage with customers who leave comments.
Online Reviews influence customer purchase behaviour, your search engine rankings, your perceived authority, and ultimately, your bottom line.
If you need advice about how to gain and make good use of customer reviews don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at Dentons Digital.