Online customer reviews are a great way for businesses to get feedback about their services and get new customers. A survey by market research company YouGov in February 2018 revealed that the number of consumers who trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends has grown from 33% in 2016 to 47% in 2017.
That means that online customer reviews are even more important today. However, it is not a straightforward task to get more positive customer reviews. There are several pros and cons associated with this practice if you want to make the most of it. Before diving into the details, let’s see what an online review is and how can it help your business.
What is an Online Review?
Online reviews are usually posted by customers after the purchase of a product or service or after a visit to a business location. The feedback is often posted on a website that allows visitors to review businesses or products, like Facebook, Google, or TripAdvisor.
Reviews are also often published on brand or product websites to showcase the most important information about the product, like the pros and cons of the product, whether it’s worth the price, how it compares with similar products, etc. Reviews can be positive or negative.
Positive reviews are not only good for the business, but they are also good for the customers who left them.
Why Reviews Are Important for SMBs
There is no doubt that reviews are important, but how important they are for SMBs? There are several reasons why online customer reviews are essential for small businesses.
First of all, online reviews are the best way to get new customers. If you have positive reviews on your website, people will notice them and will be more likely to make a purchase. 83% of consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions.
Second, online reviews are critical for improving your conversion rate. You see, the higher the conversion rate, the more customers are buying from you. Without reviews, you have very few ways to reassure potential customers that you are a legitimate business. In other words, reviews are a great way to let people know that you are a reliable business.
Pros of Online Reviews for SMBs
Establish Business Authority
Many online review websites let you display your reviews on your website. If possible, you can add a widget that displays your most recent reviews and the average rating for your products or services.
You can also add reviews to your business website and social media profiles. This way, customers can see your most recent reviews from the very beginning. This is especially important for new businesses that don’t have many reviews.
Improve Your Conversion Rate
A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that 73% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. If you have great reviews, it can increase your conversion rate and improve your revenue.
If you don’t have any reviews or you have negative reviews, most customers will just skip your business. If you have positive reviews, many more customers will click on your website or business and visit your site.
Good For Brand Image
Brand image is a very important factor when it comes to online reviews. To increase your brand image, you need to collect as many positive online reviews as possible. If you want to become a reputable business, you need to get positive reviews.
Online reviews are the easiest way to start collecting positive feedback. You need to work hard to get a good review, but it is worth it. When you have enough reviews, you can use them in your marketing campaigns. You can also use them to show potential customers that you are an authoritative business.
Increase Customer Engagement
Online reviews can also help increase customer engagement. This is a great way to collect feedback from customers and get them to engage with your business.
You can ask them questions about their experience with your products or services and then publish their answers on your website. When you publish the reviews, make sure you don’t use them as sales pitches. Reviewers should write feedback, not reviews for your business.
Cons of Online Reviews for SMBs
It’s Not as Easy as You Think
If you expect to get a lot of positive reviews from your customers and they are happy, they will do it. However, it is not as easy as it looks. You need to work hard and provide great products and services to your customers.
If everything is perfect, they will be happy and leave positive online reviews. If your business has some flaws or has delivered less than perfect service, your customers will be unhappy. In this case, they may leave negative reviews. This is nothing to worry about.
When you have negative reviews, you can learn from them and improve your service. Some customers will even leave positive reviews.
Doesn’t Guarantee an Increase in Sales
If you rely on collecting positive reviews and don’t do anything else, you will fail. You need to use your positive reviews as a sales pitch and try to convince customers to buy from you. If you don’t follow up with your customers and try to close more sales, you will fail. Even if you get fantastic reviews and a great rating, you will fail if you don’t follow up with the customers and try to convert them into paying customers.
Fake Reviews Are Prevalent
A study by ReviewMeta found that more than 50% of online reviews are fake. That means that you can’t trust online reviews as much as you think. This is why it is important to get as many positive reviews as possible. If you get more positive reviews, they will help you to overcome the fake reviews and increase your conversion rate. When you have enough positive reviews, they will help you to increase your sales.
How to Get More Reviews?
If you want to get more positive reviews, it would be great to start with the expectation that you will get more negative reviews. This might sound silly, but it is the truth. More than 80% of customers who leave a review do so because they had a negative experience with the product or service.
In other words, if you have enough customers to leave a review, you will have enough customers to leave a negative review, too. That being said, there are some things you can do to get more positive reviews and improve your online reputation.
If you want to get more reviews, you have to be proactive about it. You won’t be able to get reviews if you don’t ask for them. You have to make sure that your customers know that they can leave reviews on the review websites. The easiest way to do this is to add a “leave a review” button on your receipts.
You can also add a link to the review section of your website somewhere prominent on your website. However, be careful not to come across as pushy, or you might push away your customers. Remember, even one negative review hurts your business.
If you are expecting a customer to leave a review the day after they buy something from you, you might be disappointed. Some customers might not leave reviews, even if they are very happy with your products or services.
Some customers might not even be aware that they can leave reviews about your business. Therefore, you have to be patient, and let them know that reviews are important for you. Some businesses try to be impatient by adding a pop-up or a nagging message that says “leave a review” directly after a customer has purchased something.
That’s not a good idea. That’s because you might come across as pushy and you might not only annoy your customers but also hurt your business.
You can increase the number of positive reviews by providing excellent customer service and by providing value to your customers. If you do so, your customers will be more likely to leave reviews for your business, especially if they are happy with your services.
If you are consistent in providing excellent customer service, you will be able to earn customer loyalty and trust, which will lead to more positive reviews.
If you want to get more reviews, you have to be persistent about it. You have to continue reminding your customers that reviews are important for you. If you are persistent, you will be able to collect more reviews, and they will be more likely to be positive.
Last but not least, make sure that you are being authentic when asking for reviews. You don’t want to come across as a fake business owner. Remember, customers, are reading reviews because they want to know more about your business, they want to know why other customers like doing business with you.
Online reviews are an essential part of business marketing. Getting positive reviews from your customers will give them a great experience with your brand and make them more likely to buy from you again.
Reviews are a great way to build trust and loyalty with your customers. They allow people to see what others think about your brand, products, and services. That way, they can decide if they want to do business with you or not. If you want to get more customers and increase your conversion rate, you need to collect positive reviews.
Getting reviews can be challenging, though. To help you get more reviews, we’ve covered the benefits of reviews, the different types of reviews, and how to get more reviews.
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