As Warren Buffet puts it, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
There is no greater compliment than a referral for your business. Online reviews play a significant role in shaping your business in the digital marketplace. They can help you develop your brand, attract new leads, drive more revenue, and educate yourself on strategies to grow and improve your business. They truly are an important resource for your company, and they’re only becoming more important by the day. If you aren’t paying attention to online reviews it could cost you. There’s a certain degree of apathy that business owners & managers feel toward feedback from customers.
Fact: online reviews can attract new customers.
Reputation management is not a marketing tactic that you should ignore. We understand your fear of getting negative reviews, or even suspicion about their reliability, but ignoring them can cost you big dollars and send market share to your competition. Even worse, many business owners see online reviews as a waste of time. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. All of these reasons or excuses are a recipe for disaster. Online reviews can quite literally make or break your online presence.
Here are the facts with their corresponding statistics that prove the value of online reviews.
- Consumers refer to online reviews before making any purchasing decisions
Consumers use peer reviews to decide where, what, and when to buy. According to a study conducted by Spiegel Research Center, 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision on products and services. In fact, 30% of respondents from that survey reported that they read reviews before every single purchase they make.
Additionally, 72% of customers won’t take any sort of action when it comes to making a buying decision until they’ve read reviews online. Reviews are the digital equivalent of a word-of-mouth recommendation. Potential customers are going to listen to, and trust, current customers more than your brand. We’re inherently skeptical creatures and don’t simply take a brand’s word for it.
It’s clear, then, that a lack of online reviews will be a huge obstacle for your brand. It’s simple: collect more reviews, and your sales will go up.
- Customers rely on reviews before making big purchases
The higher the price of the product, the greater importance is placed on customer reviews. This is because high-priced products such as personal gadgets, appliances, and even automobiles, are based on personal preference. The upfront investment is greater for the shopper, which means that the risk is too. Thus, they want to stack the odds in their favor as much as possible. That’s where online reviews come in.
So, if you’re selling something with a higher price point, then you’re going to want to take extra care here. Asking for online reviews from people after they’ve purchased from you and have had time to use the product/service will be crucial to your success.
- Reviews increase confidence in your brand for prospective customers
A study conducted by Brightlocal’s annual Consumer Review Survey found that 87% of American-based consumers need a business to have an average rating of three to five stars to use it. Interestingly, only 11% looked for businesses with a perfect five-star rating. Excellent ratings, in reality, lead to consumer skepticism. Having a perfect, or near-perfect, score makes consumers suspicious and gives them the impression that reviews are too good to be true. An average rating of 4.5 to five stars is actually more appealing to customers.
- Negative reviews can be a good thing
Though negative reviews are inevitable, they can actually work in your favor. Negative reviews can increase conversions by up to 85%, and more than two-thirds of customers trust businesses more when they see a mix of good and bad reviews. This is good news for your business! A few bad reviews won’t derail your average score as long as you have a steady stream of mostly positive reviews.
We really mean it when we say that negative reviews happen to everyone. It will never be possible to please everyone. The most popular brands and products in the world have people who hate them. So, don’t lose sleep over people who have not-so-flattering opinions of your brand, as long as these reviews are the exception — not the rule.
- Higher review quantity affects credibility
Besides the overall star rating, the number of online reviews is also a powerful factor that customers consider when evaluating a business. How many reviews are enough? An average of 112 reviews would make consumers trust a business.
This indicates that as consumers prefer businesses with a higher volume of reviews, business owners should actively and consistently encourage your customers to share their experience about your business. The more reviews your business has, the more credible you appear to consumers. You can easily ask for reviews by hanging a sign in your store (if you have a brick and mortar). You should also be asking for reviews via email and social media outlets. Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business are all important places to collect reviews.
- Online reviews can drive more sales
Reviews do more than build trust. They can make or break your business growth. Statistics published by Reevoo found that 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. With more favorable reviews, customers are more likely to come back and will prefer you over your competitors. Furthermore, a study published by the Harvard Business Review showed that simply achieving a one-star increase in your overall online review rating can increase revenue by up to 9%. A closer look at this study reveals that reviews result in an increase in sales and overall business growth.
Think one more review won’t make a difference? Think again!
- Reviews create customer engagement
Engagement is not a one-way street. Businesses overlook a major opportunity when they do not engage with customers to leave reviews. According to the report, 77% of consumers agreed to leave an online review if given the chance. Businesses need to look for ways to make it as easy as possible to encourage customer reviews. In order to collect reviews, you can share customer experiences via social media, have a feedback button on your website, reviews through loyalty programs, or send an email request after their purchase.
It’s also possible to use reviews to rectify poor customer experience. By simply responding to a negative review, you can restore your customer’s trust and improve customer experience. By doing that, 30% of consumers become optimistic about a brand. This is also an opportunity to possibly learn something about your brand, product, or service. When people leave negative feedback, LISTEN! This information is as insightful and informative as positive feedback, if not more. Use it to improve your brand.
One caveat, never, ever get into a public argument with an upset customer. Your only efforts should be to try to take the issue offline and find a resolution.
- Reviews build your reputation and expand your customer base
Creating and maintaining a good reputation isn’t an overnight achievement. 95% of customers are more likely to share their bad experiences with peers. This is why it’s critical that you reach out to disgruntled customers and address the situation right away. Sometimes, all it takes is offering a quick apology to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one.
Ultimately, a good brand reputation leads to referrals. To accomplish this, you need to amplify the voice of customers and build a culture where reviews are considered valuable.
It’s clear to see why getting more online reviews should be one facet of your digital marketing strategy.
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