Why Your Online Marketing Strategy Should Involve Caring About Reviews
Online Reputation Management Has Never Been More Important—Here’s Why
When someone tells you about a new place to eat out, get your oil changed, or see a show, what’s often the first thing you do? You hop on Google, Facebook, or Yelp and scope it out. Maybe you’re looking for prices, location, or hours of operation—but chances are, you’re also looking for the reviews.
If you run a business, the flip side of that coin is that potential customers are reading online reviews to vet your company, as well.
Below, we break down why reviews matter and what to do about them.
Why You Should Take Your Customer Reviews Seriously
It may sound trite to say that reviews matter, but it deserves to be said. Bad reviews can make or break a business—as can no reviews at all. Here’s why:
- Sorry to state the obvious, but customers care about reviews. A 2015 Local Consumer Review featured on BrightLocal notes that “40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1–3 reviews”—a percentage that’s growing every year.
- Reviews are hard to ignore; they receive prominent placement on directory websites and in search results. On Google, Facebook, and Yelp, you can see a business’s reviews right below the company name. This is even true when you’re looking up a location on Google maps, and Google pulls in the most relevant reviews to a user’s search query; even if a potential customer doesn’t go looking for what others have said about your company, there’s a good chance they’re going to find that information anyway. Even more critical? Those reviews could be that potential customer’s first impression of your business.
- Consumers will dismiss your business if it has no reviews. A lack of reviews raises all sorts of questions for potential customers: Is the business brand new (and potentially inexperienced?) Is it not noteworthy enough to receive any reviews, good or bad? The aforementioned BrightLocal survey notes that consumers use a company’s star rating more than anything else when forming judgements about a business. If you have no star rating at all, your potential customers may go looking for a business that does—they’ll at least know what to expect one way or another.
- Potential customers trust each other. A recent post on Inc.com notes that over 90% of people read online reviews and “84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.” That’s a lot of people trusting online strangers.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Online Reputation
Reputation management can go a long way toward getting others to view your company in a positive light. Here are some things to add to your workflow to help your business shine:
- Optimize your profiles. Keep your customers in the loop! Confirm your business hours, share pictures of what you do, and post about specials and holiday schedule changes. You may not care about your Facebook, Yelp, or Google profile, but there’s a good chance potential customers do. By simply updating your business information on key directory sites and search engines, you’ll build trust with users, show up more in qualified searches, and allow the right customers to find your business.
- Respond to reviews—especially negative ones. Sometimes people have bad experiences—it comes with the territory for any popular business. Responding to a negative review is one of the best ways to mitigate the fallout from those bad experiences. Don’t make excuses; if the circumstances warrant it, you may want to calmly explain the situation from your end—just avoid coming off as defensive or petty at all costs. Offer a sincere apology and an opportunity for a one-on-one discussion. In some cases you may want to offer a future discount. Remember that it’s not just the original reviewer reading your response—everyone who reads your company’s reviews will be able to see it. A good, calm response shows that you’re willing to take care of and listen to your customers. In some cases, a good response to a bad review might impress future customers more than a positive review would have.
- Ask for reviews the right way. No one likes to be hounded about leaving a review, but it isn’t wrong to ask your customers to share their experiences online. Some businesses offer incentives to leave online reviews. Others simply ask in a non-intrusive way, like as a request on the bottom of a receipt. It’s always good to highlight the fact that reviews help you improve your business. One thing to note—ask sooner rather than later so that your customers are still thinking about their experience and can be as detailed as possible.
- Offer exceptional customer service. I know we’re stating the obvious again, but it’s always a good idea to think about how your can company can improve its service for every single one of your customers. Your end goal as a business shouldn’t be to provide a good or service then ask for a review later; it should—truly and sincerely—be to make your customer’s experience so good that they just have to tell their friends, family, and online strangers about it.
We Know Reputation Management—Let Us Design and Develop a Website that Scores Positive Reviews for Your Business
At efelle creative, we’ve been in the digital marketing game for over a decade. We love helping our clients shine online and know what it takes to earn a sterling reputation in the digital sphere. We specialize in website design and development for eCommerce and professional service businesses, but we’re so much more than that—we’re search engine optimizers, social media marketers, and online reputation managers. Reach out today at 206.384.4909 or fill out our online contact form and let’s start chatting about how we can grow your brand online.