New online review sites are popping up every day, but trust and authenticity are still issues. It’s no secret that online reviews can make or break a local business.
More and more consumers are turning to the Internet for information, including user-generated reviews of local businesses. Your potential customers are reading these reviews and making decisions based on what they read.
Read on to find out how online reviews can help you grow your business.
What Is Leading Consumers To Read Online Reviews?
Reviews are becoming more and more important for consumers. In fact, some studies have shown that people are 10 times more likely to buy from a business with reviews than from one without them.
Part of this trend may be due to the fact that people have become more comfortable leaving reviews. Even just a few years ago, people weren’t as likely to share these kinds of sentiments publicly.
Now, review sites have become a normal part of doing business.
Types Of Reviews
There are a number of different types of reviews, which can help or hinder your ability to grow your business with online reviews.
Reviews of your products are the backbone of e-commerce sites across the globe. If you’re selling any kind of product, it’s important that you get those products in front of as many potential customers as possible.
Reviews will quickly help potential customers understand if a product is right for them. If you don’t have a presence on e-commerce sites or aren’t selling your products online, getting product reviews can be a bit trickier.
You can ask current customers (if they’ll agree to review their purchase) or try to get products into the hands of influencers.
If you provide any kind of service, from house cleaning to IT consulting, you should be getting as many reviews as possible. Customers want to know that you’re reliable, trustworthy and provide good service.
If you don’t have any reviews or very few, new customers might be hesitant to give you business. Getting reviews for your service might be a bit trickier since you can’t send people a product they can review. You can get around this by offering a service guarantee.
You can get reviews for your physical business locations in a variety of ways. You can include a “share your experience” link on your homepage that allows customers to write a review.
You can also encourage customers to leave a review after they’ve completed an online transaction or when they arrive at your business to pick up an order. What’s more, most review sites allow you to add your business locations to the review site. You can do this one of two ways:
You can ask your customers to leave a review after they’ve completed the transaction in your store or on your website, or you can ask them to leave a review after they’ve left the store or after they’ve completed an in-store transaction.
If you have loyal customers whom you’ve provided excellent customer service, you’ll want to ask them to leave a recommendation. Recommendation reviews are a bit different than the other types of reviews we’ve talked about because they’re not written by the actual customer who used your product or service.
Instead, the recommendation is written by someone who has direct knowledge of the excellent customer service you provided. There are a couple of ways you can go about asking for recommendations. You can add a “leave a review” link to your email signature and ask your customers to leave a review. You can also add a “leave a review” link to your emails, and online orders.
The first three of these are the most important for a local business because they focus on the key factors that drive consumers to use a business’s services. The last review type, recommendation reviews, is helpful as well. However, they are not an accurate representation of the business as they only reflect one person’s experience.
Choosing Online Review Sites
If you’re running a local business, you should make it a priority to get as many reviews on online review sites as possible. There are many sites that collect reviews for businesses, and some of them are more reputable than others. Customer feedback isn’t always objective, and it’s not always accurate.
Some review sites are very selective about which businesses they feature, and others are very open to almost any business. If you have happy customers, you deserve to be featured on these sites.
If you’re not sure which sites to focus on, you should consider the following factors:
Volume Of Reviews
Some sites have thousands of reviews while others have hundreds or just a few dozen. The first thing to consider when researching online review sites is how many reviews each of these sites has.
The user demographics of a site can tell you a lot about why certain businesses are more prevalent on given sites. If you’re marketing to a younger audience, you may want to focus on sites that skew toward younger users. If you’re trying to reach a more mature crowd, you may want to focus on sites with an older demographic.
You should also consider how trustworthy each site is. You can generally tell how trustworthy a site is based on the kinds of businesses allowed to post on the site and the level of moderation the site employs. You should steer clear of sites that have a lot of fake or low-quality reviews.
The Benefit You Get From Each Site
Each review site has a different value. Some might have a higher volume of traffic than others, or they might have a bigger impact on your business since they might be more highly ranked. You should look at the details of each site to assess what kind of value each one brings to the table.
How Reviews Can Help Your Business Grow
Rank Higher In Search Engines
Ideally, you want your top products and services to be the ones that show up first when someone searches for them. Reviews are one of the most important factors that search engines look at when deciding what pages to rank for particular keywords.
Show Potential Customers What Others Think Of Your Business
Reviews are a direct line from your customers to the rest of the world. It’s one of the best ways to show potential customers what your business is about. With positive reviews, you can show off your excellent customer service, honest dealings, and top-notch products and services.
Keep Customers Happy
No matter what you do, there will always be people who aren’t happy with their experiences. Reviews allow you to identify these unhappy customers and help them get what they want or compensate them for their experience.
Retain Top-Quality Employees
Hiring a great crew and retaining them is one of the hardest parts of running a business. Reviews are an excellent way to show your top performers that you appreciate their work and that you value their opinions and thoughts.
Make Your Customers Feel Appreciated
Customers who receive excellent service and leave a review feel appreciated. They feel like their opinion matters. They feel like you care about what they have to say.
Strategies To Encourage Reviews From Happy Customers
If you’ve done everything right, then you’ll have a lot of happy customers. Now, you need to get them to use those review sites and leave their feedback online. Simply asking your customers to leave reviews for you isn’t likely to work.
Instead, you want to encourage your customers to leave reviews for you. You can do this in a number of ways, but there are a few key approaches that are likely to be most effective.
Ask For Reviews
You can’t expect customers to leave reviews unless you ask them to do so. Make sure your customers know that these review sites exist and that their feedback is important to you. You can also mention that there are many benefits to leaving reviews for your business, such as helping other customers find you more easily.
Offer Discounts For Reviews
While you should encourage your customers to leave reviews, you don’t have any control over whether they actually do it. Offering a discount to customers who leave reviews for your business is an effective tactic to encourage reviews without being pushy.
Offer Services That Encourage Reviews
You can also offer services that encourage reviews as an add-on to your main product or service. For example, you may want to offer an online mentoring session where you walk a customer through leaving a review on their favorite review site.
3 Steps To Increase The Benefit Of Reviews For Your Business
Now that we’ve gone over how reviews can help your business, let’s talk about how to get more of them in the first place. Whether you’re collecting reviews from customers or sharing reviews from other businesses, you can increase the benefit of reviews for your business in a few ways:
Ask For Reviews
See above for how to ask for reviews. This is the most important step in increasing your reviews.
Respond To Reviews
If a customer leaves a review for your business, thank them for their feedback and ask if you can do anything better. Responding to reviews is not only great for customer service but also for collecting reviews.
Share Reviews From Other Businesses
If you come across a review on one of the review sites that you’re a part of that is positive for another business, share it on your social media channels. This encourages your customers to leave reviews for your business and helps another business out as well.
Reviews can be a powerful tool for any business in any industry. When customers are shopping around for a product or service, they look to reviews to help them make the best decision.
Reviews are especially important when it comes to local businesses because they make it much easier for potential customers to find you. If you operate a local business, it’s important to get as many reviews as possible and to encourage your happy customers to leave reviews for your business.
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