How important are online reviews to your business?
Recent studies show that 90% of consumers take online reviews into account before making a purchase, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as advice from family members and friends. So while many consider “word of mouth” the most important form of promotion, nearly all consumers trust online reviews at least as much as “word of mouth” from people they know.
Furthermore, consumers spend, on average, 31% more at a business with “Excellent” online reviews. That means your revenue could increase by a third, simply by increasing the number of “Excellent” reviews of your business online. Not bad! And it gets better — for more than 66% of consumers, as few as 4-6 positive reviews of a business is enough for that business to earn their trust (and therefore, their purchase).
Finally, while nobody knows the exact formula Google uses to determine how to rank websites, it seems that favorable online reviews of your business does boost your position in search results. You’ll notice that if a business listing on a review site is included in search results, the “star” rating of the business is displayed:
And of course, one of the best things about online reviews is that they cost nothing, for both you and your customers!
So how can your business take advantage of online reviews to drive sales and increase trust and credibility?
A good first step is to ensure your business is listed on most popular online review platforms. Though it varies a bit depending on your industry, it’s generally agreed that Google is the most important online review platform. This is because the online reviews that your customers submit through Google are displayed on your business profile when your website appears in search results, including on Google Maps. Google also makes it quite easy for customers to submit reviews about your business.
In order to manage and respond to your Google reviews, you must verify your listing through Google My Business. Once you verify your ownership of the listing, you’ll have the ability to update your business information, upload photos, and of course, respond to your reviews. Many review platforms work the same way — you may find an automatically generated or user-submitted listing for your business on many sites, but you still need to verify your ownership of the business to manage the listing.
It’s important to monitor and respond to all the reviews left by your customers, both positive and negative, in as helpful and professional a manner as possible. Yes, it’s often frustrating and disappointing to receive negative feedback. However, offering a courteous, pleasant response to a negative review can actually do more for your credibility than a positive review, as it shows your commitment to customer satisfaction and to “making things right.”
Of course, one of the best things you can do is to encourage your customers to visit your online listing(s) and leave feedback. Don’t be afraid to directly request online reviews from clients who express how much they love your business! You can even instruct your employees and co-workers to begin pointing clients toward your online listing(s) whenever they have a positive interaction with a client.
As you can see, positive online reviews have a significant impact on your business. If you’re interested in learning more about online marketing, or would like a little guidance, Faster Solutions would love to partner with you! Get started with our FREE SEO Audit to get a snapshot of your website’s current marketing performance and our expert recommendations.