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How Online Reviews Impact Your Business

How Online Reviews Impact Your Business

If you want to go far in business, you need to prioritize your online customer reviews. You may think your efforts are better spent focusing on advertising or product development, but studies show there is a tremendous amount of power behind online business reviews.

You can either sink beneath the weight of negative feedback posted to a public platform, or you can use positive customer reviews as building blocks for your empire.

Of course, we suggest you choose the latter. In this article, we’ll give you all the info and tips you need to acquire beneficial reviews and use them to accelerate the growth of your company.

5 Major Impacts of Online Business Reviews

Revenue

Online customer reviews are so influential that they can even affect your business revenue. Over half of customers are more likely to patronize a local business that has a great deal of positive customer feedback.

What does this mean for your business? You can take a whole new approach to conquering the competition—one that doesn’t involve slashing your prices. With enough positive reviews, you can use your reputation as a selling point and a way to justify an increase in your prices.

Local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is another important factor in any growth-driven business strategy. With exceptional SEO, you can outrank your competitors on relevant search results and acquire more clicks to your website. Search engines rank websites and businesses according to their credibility and trustworthiness.

What better way to show search engines (and consumers) that you’re trustworthy than by showing off all of the great things your customers have to say about you? While there are so many different factors that contribute to your SEO, your online business reviews play a great part in where you stand online.

Influence Purchasing Decisions

Online customer reviews can easily influence the purchasing decisions and shopping behavior of other consumers. In fact, Statista found that trustworthy reviews ranked in the top 5 purchase influences of online shoppers in the US, along with price and variety.

By putting time and effort into developing a healthy, positive collection of reviews, you can let your satisfied customers influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers—at no cost to you!

Consumer Perception

Online business reviews can alter the consumers’ perception of your business in two different ways: what your previous customers have to say about their experience, and how you choose to respond to negative feedback.

In an incredible local consumer review survey, 72% of consumers said they trusted online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations. And when it comes to the relationship between you and your audience, trust is essential. Before consumers can develop a trustworthy perception of your business, however, 52% of them need to see multiple, trustworthy reviews.

And consumers tend to be very interested as well in seeing how businesses respond to negative reviews. That means that you can react to a negative review in such a way that alters the investigator’s perception—by displaying sincerity, concern, and a desire to rectify the situation.

Sales

By now, it should be fairly obvious as to how online customer reviews can impact your sales. The more great reviews you have, the more likely you are to attract more customers and increase your sales. There’s no guarantee that a customer will give you their business immediately after spotting a good review, but the chances are very high: 72% of consumers are likely to click to your website, visit your establishment, or contact your business after reading a positive review that they trust to be authentic.

How Do Negative Reviews Impact a Business?

As you can see, positive online business reviews can do wonders for your business, but what about those that are negative?

They’re just as powerful.

Think of all the ways we just talked about how a positive review can benefit your business: They increase sales and revenue, boost local SEO, improve consumer perception, and influence purchase decisions. A negative review will have the exact opposite effect.

If you don’t have an average review rating of at least four stars, you can expect potential customers to pass you up for a better-rated business. The more negative reviews you have, the fewer customers you’ll attract.

However, negative reviews aren’t all bad. In fact, the modern-day consumer expects companies to have at least a few bad reviews—otherwise, your collection of reviews won’t seem authentic. Nobody’s perfect, right? The important thing is that your negatives don’t outweigh your positives and that you learn how to leverage negative feedback to your advantage.

Why Online Reviews Matter

In an increasingly digital world saturated with poor customer experiences and low-quality products, online business reviews matter more than ever before—to both the business and the customer.

Studies show that the vast majority of consumers (90%) take time to browse a company’s reviews before visiting their website, scheduling an appointment, or purchasing a product. That’s a huge majority.

Of those consumers, more than half of them are more likely to give you their business if you have mostly positive reviews. Online reviews matter because they have the power to make or break your business—and that’s no exaggeration.

How Consumers Use Online Reviews

A consumer uses online business reviews to determine the trustworthiness of a given company, evaluate products before purchasing, and compare their options before committing to a brand. Before purchasing anything, over 80% of consumers will conduct a quick online search for the products or services they need and sift through the customer reviews before choosing which company to give their business to.

Do Reviews Help Google Rankings?

Yes, online reviews definitely help your Google rankings—especially if those online reviews are posted on your Google My Business profile. According to another ground-breaking study conducted by the experts over at Moz, online company reviews are the fifth most important factor in your local SEO ranking.

How to Develop an Online Review Strategy

It’s time to get cracking on your online review strategy. Use these proven tips to develop a powerful strategy to obtain more reviews and leverage those that are negative.

  1. Set a clear, measurable goal before you get started. This can revolve around the number of reviews you have or your average star ranking. Make sure to set a deadline!
  2. Create (or revamp) your Google My Business account. Fill out every bit of information, add images, and make sure your hours, location, and links are set up and correct.
  3. Invite old and existing customers to leave you a review on your Google My Business account. You can also choose to build up your Yelp reviews, as well as other platforms.
  4. Start asking new customers to leave a review after they have completed their customer experience. This can be at checkout, or with a simple follow-up email after you’ve completed a service.
  5. Initiate recurring review campaigns to constantly earn more reviews. This can be done via email, social media, or by providing a designated slot for reviews on your website.

Online business reviews are more powerful than ever. Take full advantage of their influence by making your customer feedback a top priority.


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by Jessi Duffin // Jessi Duffin is the Director of Creative Operations for Big Leap, a digital marketing agency located in Lehi, Utah. She is passionate about creative services, operations and business intelligence.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.