How Much Do Online Reviews Matter for My Business?
According to a 2019 survey of internet users, 86% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to use a local business’ services and products. Furthermore, at least 95% of folks who read online reviews before making a decision are around the ages between 18 and 34—this same demographic is also the one leaving the majority of online reviews, making up a whopping 91% of the demographic for online reviewers. Compared to a percentage of 49% in 2017, 2018 also saw an 8% rise in folks who would only consider a business if it was rated 4 or more stars by its reviewers, leading to a total of 57%.
In retrospect to a similar survey on internet users in 2015, where at least 92% of consumers use online reviews as a deciding factor for choosing a local business, demonstrating a 4% increase over 2014. You are more likely to attract least 87% of consumers who want your product and services, the numbers are telling when it comes to the power of online reviews, your business’ performance, and your network of potential customers.
Based off these recent trends and statistics, it’s safe to say the following two things: online reviews are central points to not only the foundations of your business’ reputation and livelihood but also play a large influence on whether or not your business can attract new customers easily. The majority of online reviewers also belong to a powerful demographic—one that both depends largely on social media and online review websites to make certain decisions and has the potential to grow into lifelong customers.
Especially if you see your business as a long-term venture and want your business to grow with the trends and habits belonging to your customer base, now more than ever is it important to master online reputation management. Not only through social media, online review websites, and the reviews your customers leave behind, but also when it comes to search engines. Search engines take review quality into account when deciding to return your business in search results as well, so positive or negative reviews do have an impact on your business’s SEO ranking and should both be considered with regard to your SEO strategy. In addition to this, some of the qualities of your business that are communicated through online reviews are reliability, expertise, value and professionalism. And though stars provide an overall general review of your business, what internet users are looking for when browsing businesses online are reviews written by fellow customers and, most importantly, by a human hand not a number calculated by a computer.
Many businesses have suffered a bad review, and in fact, it’s normal for a business to receive a less than positive review once in a while. Web reviews may seem forever but there are different tactics that a business can employ to restore and maintain its reputation into the future. Don’t get overwhelmed and ignore online reviews. Simply follow the steps below to restore confidence in your business’ online presence.
Online Reputation Management
Online reviews have become a critical part of consumer engagement in a technology-laden world. Given the rise of mobile users, online reviews have become accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. You can spend an enormous amount of time refining your search rankings through search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, but it only takes a few negative online reviews to turn customers away from your business as well as potential business partners and employees. Maintaining your business’ online reputation may seem like an investment that takes up a lengthy amount of time, but it is an investment that pays off. Here is a list of our thirteen most simple and straightforward ways to manage your business’ online reputation.
Tips to Manage Your Online Reputation
- Search for your company name on Google and other top search engines including the results that are shown beyond the first SERP so you are aware of your brand’s internet presence.
- Read multiple online review websites, including social media.
- Engage and respond appropriately to customer reviews of your business in a timely and positive manner.
- Properly address a negative review in a manner that promotes trust amongst consumers. Respond with thought and concern to demonstrate your business’ strength in customer service.
- Do NOT offer prizes or discounts for leaving reviews as this is against Google and Facebook guidelines.
- Monitor reviews, comments, and messages for your business’ online platforms daily.
- Set up accounts with your business’ name on as many sites as possible, including LinkedIn, Google, Yelp, and Foursquare.
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews or feedback on your website and other sites where consumers look for online reviews. You can place a banner, link or button on your site’s most visited page that links to your customer testimonials page or an external review site such as Google.
- When you receive positive emails and reviews from your customers, post them on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Ask your satisfied customers, if they would be willing to do a short video about your business, then post those videos on YouTube. Optimize the keywords so that new customers will find the video reviews.
- When you email invoices to your customers, include a link at the bottom where they can leave an online review.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar business, post displays that encourage your customers to leave reviews at various online websites.
- Have your web developer implement a way to take reviews from customers through your website. Mark these reviews up with review schema to make the gold stars appear on your listing in search results.
Repairing a Bad Online Reputation
One of the most detrimental practices that many small businesses use to counteract the effects of negative online reviews is to write fake positive reviews of their companies. Consumers, though, are very perceptive and can easily notice small details that make them question the validity of the review. The practice is simply a band-aid fix and can damage a business’ reputation far more than the negative review; it can get your business banned from trusted websites and search results.
Instead of generating fake positive reviews to boost your business’ reputation in the short term, take the long term approach by responding to negative reviews personally with thought and concern. If possible and if given enough information, see what your business can learn from a customer’s negative experience and improve whatever aspect learned. Not only will this solve issues that returning customers may have experienced as well, but potential customers will also view your business as sensitive to customer needs, which is an important factor considered in purchasing a business’ service and/or products.
By taking steps to improve your online reputation every day and by properly addressing customer concerns, you will soon have a positive online reputation that attracts new customers to your business.
If you want an expert to help on repairing a business’ online reputation call Epidemic Marketing today to talk about what we can do for your business. 303-586-6728