How Important are Reviews to Business Success?
We live in a world where everyone has an opinion, and now with help from review sites, their opinions can impact your online reputation. When a customer searches for something, they are immediately confronted with reviews about a local business’s products or services - some are good, some are bad, and some may be reviews of your own business.These reviews have the power to heavily influence your business and because of this, owners have started optimizing their online reputations over the past few years.So, how do you begin managing your online reputation? Let's start by finding out what review sites you are already listed on.
Finding the Best Review Sites
There are so many review sites you may not even know about. The first step in taking control of your online reputation is to focus on the review sites that are most important to your business and industry. Use these three search tactics to get on the right track:
Search your company's name
Search industry specific keywords
Search industry competitors and influencers
Search Your Company’s Name
Do a search for your company name, with and without adding “reviews” in the search bar. You should be able to find most of the review sites you are mentioned on this way. Keep in mind if there are sites listing more negative than positive reviews. You’re going to want to build that particular site up with more positive reviews and also reply to recent negative feedback with a thoughtful and constructive response.
Search Industry Specific Keywords
Search keywords that describe your business without mentioning your brand name. When you conduct a search like this, you may discover additional relevant review sites. Be sure to keep track of the new sites you find. You may be missing an opportunity to establish trust with your customer through another platform.For example, Let’s say you own a personal training business. You should perform a search for “personal trainers Virginia Beach” and other important variations. Take a look at the results for review sites you aren’t already on and make a note of it.
Search Industry Competitors and Influencers
Identify a few local competitors and influencers in your industry and perform the same searches you did with your company’s name. Study the first page of results and identify any review sites that are present.Once you have your results, create a list of the review sites and focus on the few that appear the most in all of your searches, along with the sites where you already have reviews. When your list is complete, begin claiming your review listings if you haven't already and update the profiles with as much information as possible, including phone numbers, business descriptions, photos, etc.
Benefits of Reviews
Reviews do more than make you look good online. They also add a lot of value and influence in how you appear in the search engines. A few benefits include:
Increased local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Increased website traffic and conversions
Increase in consumer trust
Increased Local Search Engine Optimization
The more good reviews, the greater your chances are to rise in the search engine results. Google, for example, displays the top three most relevant businesses for any search. If someone searches for a business in your area that's similar to yours, Google will use reviews to determine who is placed in the top three spots.
Increased Website Traffic and Conversions
When you have good reviews people want to work with you. It may sound like a no-brainer, but 90% of respondents in a Marketing Land survey say that online reviews influence their decision to buy. More importantly, a similar percentage of respondents were also influenced by negative reviews. Opinions carry a lot weight in the online space, even if the reviewer only interacted with your business for a short amount of time their experience can affect future customers.
Increase in Consumer Trust
Reviews have allowed customers to be much more critical when choosing a business to work with. According to Invesp, customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews. When a business is peer reviewed and accepted, customers are better able to see the value in your offering.
How to Get More Reviews
Getting more reviews doesn't have to be difficult or uncomfortable. It’s only weird if you make it weird! As a business owner, you always want to encourage your customers to leave feedback. The more reviews you have, the less impact one bad experience has on your brand’s overall reputation.
Just Ask For the Review
After you complete a transaction or interaction with a customer, simply ask them to write about their experience. Customers understand how important reviews are so as long as they had a positive connection with your company, they would love to leave positive feedback. Be sure to not wait too long. You want the customer to remember the experience when writing!
Choose a Review Site and Stick to It
It’s easier for a customer to write a positive review on one site, rather than remembering multiple outlets for their feedback. Additionally, some sites make users create an account before leaving reviews, which may cause hesitation to utilize multiple sites. You want their commitment level to be high so asking your customer to review only one site is a great way to start.
Email Your Customer
Sending a follow-up email after a purchase is another effective way to request a review. You can send an email about a week after they’ve received their product or service. Ask them if they are happy with the product and their overall experience, and let them know that you are open to feedback regarding ways to improve your business. Be sure to provide a direct link to the site you’d like them to leave the review.
Have a Customer Reviews Section
You can create a web page dedicated to customer reviews on your website. For example: mywebsite.com/reviews. Use 3-4 of the reviews on your web page and credit the customer that left it. Then, at the bottom of your of your page add a link to the other sites they can view to leave reviews.
Handling Negative Reviews
You may get a few bad reviews from time to time, and that’s okay! When you have too many good reviews without negative feedback, it can actually look a little unauthentic to your customers. If you do wind up with a bad review, you’ll need to decide how to best respond. Here are a few tips for knowing how to handle even the most dreadful reviews:
You Can’t Delete Them
That’s right. You can’t just delete bad reviews - they’re here to stay. It’s not the end of the world if you have negative feedback. Read it, respond thoughtfully to it, and learn from it.
Respond to Every Review
From this point on, I want you to try to respond to every negative review that comes your way. Don’t take it personally and be constructive in your response. It’s best to ignore the minor complaints and try to resolve the issue privately.
Acknowledge the Problem
No matter how negative the review, focus on the customer's problem. Apologize if there was any mistakes made on your part. If you did make a mistake, that's okay. Try to resolve the issue offline. Never offer a discount or free item within your review. Remember, the world can see your response.Reviews can be scary, but I want to challenge you to start taking a proactive approach to both finding and responding to your customer’s reviews. Remember - reviews are just another way for your customers to leave feedback. If you pay close enough attention, you will be able to spot trends and adjust your business practices according to their experiences.Do you have a particular review in mind that you don’t know how to answer? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll help you out!