Online reviews play a massive role in the success of your digital marketing and ultimately, your business. Potential customers use online reviews to help them decide if they should choose your company.
Think about the last time you bought something from an online store. If you’re like the rest of us, you likely looked at the reviews and overall product rating before you decided.
See a low star rating, and you probably wouldn’t even consider the option. Too few or no ratings at all? Off the shortlist for sure.
Most people who manage small and medium-sized businesses understand the importance of online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook and other industry-specific websites. Still, most companies don’t have a system or strategy to request, collect and manage their online reviews.
Every year, new studies confirm the importance of customer reviews, with recent surveys showing that 93% of people say online reviews have changed their minds about a purchase, and 91% of younger customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This article lists six reasons online reviews are critical for your business reputation and success.
Why are online reviews important for your business?
1. Your online reviews are essential marketing tools.
Collecting reviews on third-party websites broadens your online presence. They lend credibility to your business like reviews hosted on your own domain can’t.
Positive online reviews for your business can elevate a simple marketing campaign, and many small to medium-sized businesses use the reviews they collect in creative ways.
They might share them on social media posts and stories, include them in emails or even create videos featuring these reviews.
Another great way to leverage your online reviews is to feature external reviews on your website through widgets, so visitors can see the positive reviews you’ve received on Google and other websites, lending more credibility to your business and nudging the customer forward in the decision-making process and the buyer journey.
2. Online reviews enhance credibility through social proof.
It’s pretty unlikely that you’ve never had a negative experience at some point with a business you’ve dealt with. Knowing that this is a possibility makes potential customers skeptical about trusting your brand, products or services.
Online business reviews will help customers overcome their hesitations and assure them that they can trust your business.
A study found that millennials and Gen Z consumers don’t form an opinion on a business until they’ve read at least one to six reviews, with most reading up to 40 before making a purchase decision.
Business owners who prioritize online reviews and reputation management have a definite edge over the competition. When your audience sees social proof that customers like them trust your business, they are motivated to choose you.
3. Online reviews help you address customer concerns.
To paraphrase Warren Buffet, it takes 20 years to build a reputation but just five minutes to ruin it. Creating and maintaining a good reputation online isn’t a one-time job. It’s a continuous process that people who manage small to medium-sized businesses have to be in control of or risk losing what they’ve built.
Customers are more likely to go online to leave bad reviews or rant about bad experiences than they are to make an effort to leave a positive review. Giving less-than-satisfied customers a channel to reach you and immediately addressing the situation is a great way to protect your online reputation.
And sometimes, a quick apology is all it takes to transform an unhappy customer into a loyal one.
Almost 90% of customers read business responses to reviews, and even Google will showcase your response to positive and negative reviews when you show up on Google Search and Maps.
4. Online reviews help expand your customer base.
Ultimately, a solid brand reputation built on a bank of positive online reviews leads to referrals.
The most apparent benefit of collecting online reviews on external websites is that your business is more likely to get noticed by more people. Reviews on various websites will get you noticed and possibly start conversations about your business.
New customers who might not have heard of your business will be attracted to it by your positive reviews. And they’re more likely to open up their wallets for firms that have given other people positive experiences.
If a potential customer is torn between choosing your offering and a competitor’s identical one, your star rating or the presence of recent positive reviews can mean the difference between a converted customer and a lost opportunity.
5. Online reviews play a significant role in Local SEO.
If there’s one reason for small to medium-sized businesses to prioritize collecting online reviews, it’s this.
Google uses the ratings and the number of online reviews a business has as one of the signals while ranking results in local search. Since Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving, it’s impossible to tell precisely how much weightage online reviews have in their ranking system, but it is significant.
According to a study, review signals are the second most important factor in Local Search rankings. The quality, frequency, quantity and overall star ratings contribute to the overall signal. And data from other review platforms like Yelp are considered too!
Collecting reviews on all websites, not just Google, will help boost your search rankings, getting more potential customers to notice you right when they’re actively looking for the products or services you offer.
6. Reviews give you insights on how you can improve your business.
Online reviews will help you identify areas of your business that might not be the most satisfying to your customers. They’ll tell you where you need to improve.
If a customer has had a less-than-perfect experience with your business, getting their feedback and suggestions can be a great way to learn what your customers truly want.
Inviting feedback and making efforts to resolve issues that people face also demonstrates to potential customers that customer service is a priority for your business. Research has shown that more than 9 in 10 customers who have faced issues will not mind becoming repeat customers if they see that a company has worked to resolve their problem successfully.
Invest in reputation management to boost your online brand presence
It’s a great way to strengthen your brand reputation. Online reviews influence customer purchase decisions, strengthen your search engine rankings, amplify your authority, improve customer perception, and ultimately, boost your chances of business success.
Mystique Customer Feedback will make customer experience the backbone of your business, building a continuous cycle of happy customers and powerful reviews to help you capture your next customer.
We invite you to schedule a no-obligation, 15-minute conversation with us to understand how you can help your business succeed with review and reputation management.
We’ll guarantee you’ll walk away with some great tips on how to use reviews in your digital marketing efforts.
Pick a time that works for you.
Schedule time to review your current situation with us and discuss possible ways to optimize your brand experience to overcome your business challenges and reach your goals. Even if you choose not to use us, you’ll walk away with some great ideas to implement in your business today.