Why online reviews are so important
The way people shop for anything today has changed drastically since the web became easily accessible and that means the way people talk and decide about businesses has too.
And that’s where online reviews come into play. Whether it’s for a new mobile phone, a refit on a new kitchen, or even a dentistry practice, people will spend hours looking through reviews from people that have already bought and tested the product or service.
This means whatever industry you’re in, having a positive online presence gives you advantages over competitors and should be a key part of your brand marketing.
Online reviews are very important for a variety of reasons.
Here are some of the key reasons why:
- Building Trust: Reviews provide social proof that a product or service is reputable and trustworthy. When people are considering a purchase, they often look to online reviews to see what others are saying about it. Positive reviews can help to build trust in a brand or product, while negative reviews can be a warning sign to potential customers.
- Influence Purchasing Decisions: Reviews can greatly influence a consumer’s purchasing decision. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 98% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- Improve Search Rankings: Reviews can improve a business’s search rankings on platforms like Google and Yelp. Positive reviews can signal to search engines that a business is trustworthy and relevant, which can lead to higher rankings in search results. Meaning more visibility for your business.
- Feedback for Improvement: Reviews can provide valuable feedback for businesses to improve their products and services. By reading and responding to reviews, businesses can identify areas where they can make changes to better meet the needs of their customers.
Many shoppers distrust businesses that have ratings below four stars. This leaves a small margin of error at the top, but businesses with better average ratings are significantly more likely to see their views converted into sales. By encouraging positive reviews and managing any customer complaints you can quickly improve your marketing efforts and enhance your brand messaging.
Asking for reviews has become commonplace among larger businesses. Amazon routinely invites customers to review products they’ve purchased through email and you can set up something very similar with your own business. Using Email marketing software like Mailchimp or ConvertKit, you can easily set up an email sequence that will automatically email your customer asking for a review after they have purchased through your website. This will not only help increase the number of positive reviews you have but can be a great way to keep customers engaged and interact with them.
Dealing with negative online reviews
If, at some point, you run into a negative review don’t panic. There are many ways of dealing with a negative review that can turn it around. Here are a few ways to deal with a negative online review:
- Answer quickly with a personalized message: Social media marketing agency owner Ann Brennan says “The first thing you should do when responding to a negative review is to acknowledge the problem. Let the customer know that the experience they had is unacceptable according to your standards and you are sorry.” Your response is not only there for the negative reviewer but for everyone that looks at that review. The way you handle it can actually build more trust in a potential customer.
- Apologize and empathize: Showing genuine empathy with their experience and giving a sincere apology can go a long way with customers, even to the point where they may even change their review based on your response.
- Ask for a second chance: Offering a coupon, voucher, or replacement product to allow them to have a better experience of your business. Be careful though, if you start offering discounts or free products too often you may have people just leave a bad review in order to try and get something else. It’s always best to get to the root of the customer’s issue and decide from there what the best course of action is.
In summary, online reviews are extremely important for building trust, influencing purchasing decisions, improving search rankings, and providing feedback for improvement. Businesses should pay close attention to online reviews and actively work to manage and respond to them.