As digital word of mouth is gaining prominence with each passing day, businesses are taking various measures to ensure that the company’s services and products are spoken about positively online. 

With this in mind, online reviews have become a cornerstone in the reputation management process – and for good reason. According to research from the University of Oxford, a positive review is the primary driver of word-of-mouth recommendations. 

Moreover, 90% of consumers read online reviews before buying a product or service. This article will explain what online reviews are, why they matter, who reads them and how you can leverage them to your advantage.

What Is An Online Review?

Online reviews are any written or video testimonials that consumers leave after using a product or service. While online reviews are most commonly associated with shopping experiences, they can be written about almost any industry. Online reviews are highly personal, and as such, they should be treated. 

While they may be helpful to potential customers, they also have the power to cause reputational harm if left unchecked. As such, there are some best practices for managing online reviews.

Quick History Of Online Reviews

For the longest time, online reviews have been a part of life. Since the dawn of time, humans have been sharing their opinions on everything from the taste of food to the best method of transport. 

Today, customers are reviewing products, services, and even your business all over the internet – from Google, to Yelp, to Facebook, to even on your website. However, the computerization of these opinions is a relatively new concept and it can be traced back to 1995. 

This was the year TripAdvisor became the first business to allow users to leave reviews. And, though e-commerce existed for years before then, it wasn’t until the late 2000s when websites like Amazon and Apple introduced product reviews that the concept took off. Since then, online reviews have been a key driver of customer acquisition and retention.

4 Types Of Online Reviews

1. Customer Reviews

As the name suggests, this is a review left by a consumer who bought and used your product or service.

2. Seller Reviews

This is a review left by a person who left a purchase using your online store. – 

3. Staff Reviews

This is a review left by someone who worked for you. This could be a current or past employee or even a contractor. 

4. Brand Reviews

This is a review left by someone who never worked with you or never dealt with your product or service.

Why Do Online Reviews Matter?

As we have discussed above, the impact of online reviews is undeniable. However, there is one important question left unanswered: why does it matter? 

To answer this, let’s take a look at the psychology behind word-of-mouth marketing. When someone receives a product or service with which they disagree, they will most likely not leave a review. After all, they have no motivation to do so. By contrast, when someone receives a product or service they love, they are more likely to leave a review. 

Thus, online reviews are a direct reflection of the customer’s experience. The fact that they have chosen to leave a public declaration of their experience speaks volumes. Online reviews are a measurement of customer sentiment that can be leveraged by businesses of all sizes.

Things That Online Reviews Can Do To Your Business

Good Things 

If you’re a business owner, you understand how important customer feedback is. If a few customers leave you bad reviews, you may feel bad about yourself or your product. But if a lot of customers give you good reviews, you’ll feel good about yourself or your product.

The same thing goes for a business. If a few customers give you bad reviews, the business may feel bad about itself or its products. However, if a lot of customers give you good reviews, the business will feel good about itself and its products. Since online reviews are a part of customer feedback, they can do many good things to your business. 

Online reviews give you a way to have honest conversations with your customers. When customers leave you a review, you can respond to them by thanking them for the feedback and giving your side of the story. This allows you to have an open and honest conversation with your customers.

Bad Things

Besides the positive things online reviews can do to your business, they can also do some bad things to your business. If you have a lot of negative reviews, the customers may not visit your store or website. They may even tell their friends not to visit your business due to the bad reviews. Thus, negative reviews can hurt your business a lot.

Who Reads Online Reviews?

As we have discussed above, online reviews are a valuable tool for marketing and reputation management. However, who reads these reviews? 

In general, most internet users are likely to read online reviews. However, some sub-groups within the population are more likely to read reviews than others. Younger internet users are more likely to read reviews than older users. 

These younger users are also more likely to read reviews first and then make a decision about whether or not to purchase the product or service. Parents, on the other hand, are more likely to read a review after making a purchasing decision, likely to determine the quality of the product.

4 Ways To Leverage Online Review Marketing

Find Positive Reviews And Reply To Them

The easiest way to leverage online reviews is to find positive reviews and reply to them. This allows you to publicly thank customers for their positive experiences and promote your brand in the process.

Reply To Negative Reviews

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to reply to negative reviews as well. This allows you to apologize for the customer’s experience and offer to make things right.

Use Reviews As A Marketing Tool

It’s important to think outside the box when it comes to leveraging reviews. For example, you can use reviews as a marketing tool by embedding them in your website or blog.

Generate More Customer Reviews

While it’s important to respond to customer reviews, it’s also important to create more of them. This can be done through email marketing or a review system hosted by your brand.

How Can My Business Get More Online Reviews?

As mentioned above, the best way to get more online reviews is to ask for them. Yes, you read that correctly. You don’t have to beg or coerce your customers into leaving you a review (although you can – but only if your customers are willing). Asking for reviews is an effective method for getting more reviews, but only if you do it right. Here are a few things to keep in mind when asking for reviews.

Make Sure You’re Following All The Rules Of Seo

What works on the internet and what doesn’t changes regularly, and SEO is no exception. Make sure that you’re making use of the right keywords and following all of Google’s rules and regulations. 

This way, your request for reviews will appear higher up in search results, which means more people will read it.

Ask On Every Platform Where You Have A Presence

You don’t have to restrict yourself to your website or social media pages. Ask for reviews on the customer support section of your website, your Facebook page, your Instagram account, etc. 

The more places you ask for a review, the more likely it is that your customers will see it.

Be Sure To Follow Up With Those Who Don’t Respond

If someone leaves you a review and you don’t follow up with them and express your gratitude; it’s like you’re taking their opinion for granted. Follow up with those who don’t respond to your initial request for a review, and thank them for leaving their feedback.

Things to Remember

There Is A Growing Trend Of Fake Reviews

An estimated 59% of consumers think that 10–20% of online reviews are fake. With this in mind, it’s important to stay vigilant and look for red flags when reading reviews.

Not All Reviews Are Created Equal

Some review systems are more likely to receive highly positive reviews than others. For example, Google My Business allows customers to rate a business from 1 to 5 stars. These reviews are treated as the equivalent of a positive review. 

As such, it’s important to understand the difference between these reviews and a review that a customer leaves on your website or a third-party website.


The bottom line is that online reviews are an important part of the customer experience, and they can have a meaningful impact on your business. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that online reviews are just one piece of your online reputation. 

Several other factors influence a customer’s purchasing decision. That being said, businesses need to stay on top of their online reviews; especially if they want their customers to leave them on third-party websites.

One way to do this is by leveraging online reviews. Online reviews are a great way to stay visible and make sure your product or service is talked about. This can be done by replying to positive reviews, replying to negative reviews, using reviews as a marketing tool, and generating more customer reviews.

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