In today’s digital world, online reviews spread like wildfire and are acting as word-of-mouth marketing. Other than rapid growth, why are these reviews so crucial to your business?
Because They’re Important to Customers (and your online business listing)
Ninety percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If reviews are essential to your consumers, they need to be a priority for your business, simple as that. Thanks to accelerating technology, reviews are easy to find and are located everywhere. Also, reviews, like knowledge cards (discussed in our previous blog about digital knowledge management) often show up before any websites in a google search, which means they are the first things that searchers look at.
They Affect the Conversion Rate and SEO on your online business listing
Google’s main goal is to present clear, accurate, and comprehensive information to consumers. Search engines love online reviews for the same reason you should: consumers love online reviews. While third-party site reviews like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are important, first-party reviews on your website are often overlooked but allow your business to earn relevancy in search engine results.
Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that convert into customers or take a desired action on a webpage. You want site visitors to convert into customers, ideally recurring customers. Reviews are a great way to get site traffic, increase that conversion rate and get happy, returning customers.
Reviews will also create a positive brand association and are proof that your brand is successful. It may seem like a no-brainer, but this is a huge driver of conversion.
All that being said, you need to manage your reviews in order to positively impact SEO and increase your conversion rates.
Managing Online Reviews in your online business listing
There are products and companies available to help you manage your online reviews, but here are some best practices/tips:
- There will always be some negative reviews, and that’s okay! If you do quality work and follow review best practices, your good reviews will outnumber the bad ones.
- Respond to negative reviews promptly and consistently. Businesses who respond to reviews are 68% more likely to raise their rating by a half star in 6 months than those who don’t.
- Learn from trends – when you read reviews about your business; you’ll likely notice a pattern: use these patterns to improve your brand.
- Set up a system for monitoring daily chatter about your business in reviews. This will allow you to respond to negative reviews quickly.
Negative Reviews: Best Practices
We know that we should respond to negative reviews, but many people are lost as to what to say or do. First, you should always keep it professional and never argue with a reviewer; this can turn off other potential customers who read this exchange. First, listen. Most people will report a positive encounter just because you listened to what they had to say. Next, if possible, offer a solution to whatever problem the reviewer faced with your company instead of just an explanation. Devising a solution makes it more likely that the customer will give your business a second chance and/or change their negative review into a positive one! If the comment isn’t something that can be solved with a response, take the conversation out of the review section, and into direct messages, email, or phone. This tactic is artfully executed by Adobe and Chevrolet on Twitter:
And they demonstrate time and time again how responding to negative feedback (the customer was frustrated with a glitch on a new update) can turn around a customer experience and create a positive brand image for your company:
Can’t turn around a customer’s experience and get them to change their negative review and give you a second chance? It happens. Just keep asking customers for good reviews, make sure the issue your consumer faced is addressed internally, and eventually the negative will be buried.
Be Proactive – Ask for Feedback in your online business listing!
Seventy percent of consumers said they leave a local business review when asked, so ask! If you run a retail business, you can often strike up a conversation with customers and ask them to turn their praise into a positive review. Easier than that would be using your email list. Craft a thankful and gracious email with a link to your preferred review site and send it off!
The bottom line is, if you ask (based on research) you will receive! Keep doing quality work, listen, ask for feedback, and the positive reviews, bumped up SEO, and new business will be your reward.