Why are online reviews important for your business?
Today almost everyone is reading online reviews before deciding where to spend their money. They trust those opinions as if they were a personal recommendation from a friend. And Google is taking notice.
How do positive reviews help your business?
- 1Higher visibility on search enginesGoogle loves reviews, especially positive ones. This can translate into improved search engine results placement (SERP) for your business.
- 2Improved reputationConsumers judge businesses by their reviews. Positive feedback is a form of “social proof”, and it works both to bring in leads and to turn leads into clients. A BrightLocal study found 80% of consumers say they trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
- 3Grows your brandOnline reviews connect personal recommendations to your brand. A positive online reputation creates real-world business growth. Another BrightLocal survey showed that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34).
- 4Improved search results on mapsYour happy customers are creating free content that helps promote your business to your target audience. Even the words reviewers use (for example: “top dentist” or “best legal advice”) help Google to match your company and its products and services to your location (geotargeting) for improved search results on Google maps. Google found that mobile searches using the word “best” have increased by 80%. You don’t have to toot your own horn if you make it easy for others to do it for you!
- 5Customer Engagement and Higher SpendingWhen a client leaves a review and you respond to that feedback, it helps you to build a relationship with your client. This often creates an emotional connection for your customers. Consumers are likely to spend 31% more on purchases of products and services from businesses that have excellent reviews and responses.
- 6Consumers proactively look for reviewsA BrightLocal study showed that 93% of consumers actively read consumer feedback. Google found that mobile searches using the word “reviews” have increased by 35%. These reviews influence purchasing decisions. They help people find your business and choose to invest their time and spend their money with you.
How can negative reviews hurt your business?
- 1You could potentially lose Google's trustGoogle’s goal is to keep searchers happy by helping them find what they are looking for. Google may choose to promote companies that garner positive reviews as a way to engage consumers and keep them using Google products.
- 2You will lose business92% of consumers are less likely to use a business if they have poor reviews. Studies show one negative review has the potential to lose 22% of potential customers and three negative reviews can lose 59%. Don’t panic. Even the best businesses sometimes get negative comments. If you do get the occasional one-star ratings, it’s nothing to worry about if you have plenty of five-star ones to dilute these rare negatives. Consumers often look at the most recent reviews. Keep working to gain more positive ratings and they will push the bad ones down and out of sight.
How to get more online reviews?
- 1Ask customersIt is against Google’s rules to incentivize reviews, so do not offer someone a discount or gift for leaving a review. Simply ask for one! Requests for reviews are a normal part of doing business. Making “the ask” a part of your process ensures your staff asks customers for reviews every time (or at least ask the happy customers!).
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Add a review reminder to your online checkout process.
- Place a kiosk/iPad in your waiting room.
- Take the time to send “the ask” in a follow-up email.
- Put a sticker on the exit door.
- Print the request on receipts or add them to your invoices.
- Place a feedback request on your website or in your email signature.
- Make a note on flyers and signage.
- Be creative!
- 2Make it easy to doYou will receive more online customer reviews by making the process easy to do. For example, with our dental clients, we automated the process by automatically sending an email, or text, to each client after every dental appointment. But we don’t just ask for the review, we provide a quick and easy method that guides them swiftly through the process.
- 3Get a Google My Business accountSign up for a Google My Business (GMB) account that you are authorized to access. This helps build trust with Google and it gives you an easy way to respond to your business reviews on Google using the Google My Business website. Remember, responses to reviews build client engagement which can lead to repeat customers and higher sales.
- 4Set up Social Media accounts for your brandGetting business pages and brand accounts on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram gives consumers the ability to leave a review wherever they spend their time online. Provide your customers with more feedback options by offering multiple online review sites.
How to gain positive reviews?
- 1Earn themIf you provide a quality product and pair it with excellent service you will earn great ratings. But, what happens when things go wrong – even if it is a rare occurrence? First, apologize to your customer. Listen and ask questions to determine how you can make it up to them. Then follow through. Be upfront, and if they make a complaint, ask them what you could do in the future so the issue doesn’t happen again. Most consumers are happy to provide feedback, and a proactive response can turn a bad review into a good one if readers know you’re working hard to improve.
- 2Don't cheatGoogle doesn’t allow “gating”. Review gating is an online process where companies ask to rate their experience. For customers who indicate they had a positive experience they are directed to leave an online review; whereas customers who indicate they had a negative experience may instead be asked to provide “feedback” and their comments are kept private. This leads to ratings being skewed to the positive side and not a true representation of what the average customer experiences.
- 3Cheat just a littleEven asking happy customers to leave a review could be considered “Review Gating” if you don’t also ask the same of the customer who yells at you. But, realistically, everyone thinks it is an ok thing to do. We found that many negative reviews come from people who want to let businesses know how they could improve. We can use this to your advantage. We have an automated system where we ask everyone to rate their experience and then have everyone leave private feedback, and after that, we request a positive review. Often, those customers who had a negative experience are happy to supply their private feedback and leave it at that. They don’t go on to leave a negative public comment. This helps filter a reviewer who doesn’t want to hurt you publically but does want to be heard by you, the business owner/manager.
- 4Act on negative feedbackIf you study feedback, you can learn where your business processes may need improvement. By making those improvements you will have happier customers, receive more positive reviews, and gain more repeat business too.
- 5Respond to both positive and negative reviewsThank your customers for their positive reviews. But, also thank customers who leave negative reviews, and let them know what you are doing to fix the issues they describe. By being proactive in your public approach, you can turn a negative opinion into a positive one.
- 6Make the review process inviting or funUse cute graphics in your online review request. Brand it. Make it personal. People are bombarded with emails, requests and information. Let your request stand out from the crowd. Make it feel easy by walking them through it. Our multi-step review request process has been proven to generate 90% more reviews than a single-step process. This is primarily because it is cute and friendly compared to a boring text-based email ask.
How to get your positive reviews seen by prospective customers?
- 1Review MarketingShow off your positive reviews and help create leads and close sales by creating ads and social media posts using your reviews.
- 2Social Media MarketingTurn those positive reviews into social media posts. Create a graphic of the post, and copy the text into the post too. For example, the post should contain: 1) A photo/screen-grab of the actual review online 2) The post description should contain new a combination of original text and the text from the review. Thank you Brian for your awesome review! “Brian’s review text would be here.” We are happy you are enjoying productX. It is one of our most popular items, and we love it too!
- 3Turn those posts into AdsSince social media posts are mostly seen by the people who already follow you, they can help close a sale from someone already on the fence. But to reach new customers you need to advertise those posts too. Create ads out of the review posts and make sure you target the audience to reach the potential customers you want to reach (otherwise you are wasting most of your advertising dollars). If you are on a tight budget, monitor several social posts and only advertise the ones that have the most traction (likes, shares, etc.)
- 4RepeatKeep actively engaged in gaining more positive reviews. Then keep turning those awesome new reviews into posts and ads.
- 5Evergreen contentSome of your reviews may mention products, services or people that aren’t always going to be part of your company. But some reviews may be more general and work as a great promotion piece for years to come. You can make those posts and ads evergreen, using them over and over again with enough time in between or on different platforms or aimed at different audiences.
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