There’s no denying that we live in a review culture now. Social media started it, and online retailers made it the norm. Often overlooked, this element of word-of-mouth marketing has become one of the most powerful drivers of sales, particularly in the “decision” phase of the buyer’s journey.
But while some ignore reviews as a conceit of the Internet-obsessed masses, the truth is, there are metrics that prove caring about your online reviews can positively affect your business. Here are five reasons why you should care about online reputation management.
1. Stars = Profits
Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first—positive reviews actually translate to increased revenue. In fact, the reputation management platform BirdEye reports that most businesses see a 5- to 9-percent jump in revenue if they can improve their average Google review score by one star.
2. Google rewards reviews
Want to get into the top three results for Google searches? Get more reviews. Independent studies show that the top three results had an average of 472% more reviews than results four through six. Google looks for relevance when deciding what to serve up as a search result, and more reviews—and better reviews—mean more relevance.
3. Customers trust each other
Your brand is a reflection of how the customer feels about you. We used to have to guess about customer opinions, but now they’re all right there in digital black and white—for you and everyone else to see. And buyers are more apt to trust the reviews than anything you do or say. In fact, reports show that 89 percent of consumers looked at reviews before a purchase, and another 80 percent changed their minds about a purchase because of negative reviews.
4. Negative doesn’t mean bad
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. You know this, and so do consumers. This means that having a few bad reviews in the mix actually reassures consumers that you’re for real. The trick is, you have to respond to the negative reviews. When buyers see a company responding kindly, even to unkind reviews, and thanking the reviewer for the chance to improve, they know that you care and listen. And that’s never negative.
5. Attract star power
Why stop at five stars when you can have a whole workforce full of them? Your online reputation can be the thing that attracts ideal candidates to join your team.
Now that you know why to manage your online reviews, how do you go about it? First of all, make whatever you do the best it can be. If you’re getting negative reviews consistently, you probably have a problem. Fix it.
Second, solicit reviews. A lot of people never think to take the time to write a good review—but they’ll always find time to write bad one. So ask customers whom you’ve pleased to take a moment and write about it.
Never purchase reviews. Not only is it kind of a creep move, but customers can spot these reviews and that leads to mistrust.
Finally, respond to the negative reviews in a timely and professional manner. You might actually win some customers over with your responses.
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