If you have ever used the services of a local business, then you are probably familiar with online reviews. These are comments, positive or negative, written by users about a business that appear directly on its online listing.
These online reviews help potential customers make informed decisions when choosing where to spend their money. They allow users to see what other people think about a company before they commit their hard-earned cash and time there.
This article covers everything you need to know about online reviews as a newbie in this field.
Online Reviews Definition
First, let’s start with a definition of online reviews. An online review is simply a customer’s opinion about a product, service, or company that they have used. In other words, it’s someone’s opinion about the experience they had with your business.
Given their growing importance and prevalence, it’s important to understand what they are and how they can impact your business.
Online Reviews Today
If you visit a business’ website, there’s a good chance that you’ll see customer reviews right there on the site. If you’ve ever used Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Amazon, then you’ve seen customer reviews in action.
These days, customer reviews have become such a powerful tool in the eCommerce world that if a business doesn’t offer a way for customers to leave reviews on their site, they could lose out on a lot of potential sales.
One study conducted by BrightLocal found that 74% of customers are more likely to purchase a business that has reviews and an average rating of 4 stars or higher, while 89% of customers say that online reviews influence their purchase decisions.
Types Of Online Reviews
Verified reviews are those that a business verifies as having come from real customers. In other words, they’ve been authenticated as legitimate. Yelp and Amazon are two of the most popular review sites that allow businesses to verify their customers’ reviews.
Unverified reviews are those that a business doesn’t verify as coming from actual customers. These can be problematic, as they could be fake reviews, or customers could be leaving reviews but not leaving their full names or other information, making them unverifiable.
Positive reviews are those that you’d expect — an expression of delight with a product, service, or company.
Negative reviews are those that contain an expression of dissatisfaction with a product, service, or company.
These are written reviews that are published on websites that are not owned by your business.
These are reviews that appear on your website or online store. The most common owned review is a product review on your e-commerce site.
These are video clips that provide a direct visual representation of a product or service. For example, someone giving a product review on their smartphone.
Social media comments and posts (like Facebook comments and Instagram posts) can also be considered reviews in some cases. Lines between social media posts and reviews are quite blurry in many cases.
Why Are Online Reviews Important?
Having a lot of online reviews can be a huge benefit for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ways that online reviews can help your company.
Allow You To Connect With New Customers
When people see online reviews for your business, they’re likely to pause and read them. If the reviews are positive, they’ll be more likely to choose your business over others.
Help You Retain Current Customers
The customers you already have are the best source of new business. If they’re happy with your products and services, they’ll tell their family and friends. Positive reviews give them a platform to do that on.
Establish Trust And Authority
Customers are more likely to buy from a business that they trust. Strong online reviews can help build that trust.
Make It Easier To Attract New Customers
People often shop around before making a purchase. Having strong online reviews can make it easier for new customers to choose your business.
How To Get More Reviews?
You can’t force your customers to leave reviews, but you can make it easier for them to do so. Here are some ways to encourage customers to leave reviews for your business:
The best time to ask for reviews is when the experience occurs. So, be proactive and ask for reviews after every customer service experience
Ask At The Right Time
Don’t be too pushy. It’s better to ask a few times than to have customers feel like they’re being nagged.
Give Customers An Incentive To Leave A Review
This doesn’t have to be financial. For example, if a customer leaves a review, offer to send them a gift, or give them a discount on their next purchase.
Pros Of Having A Lot Of Online Reviews
If you’re wondering why you should even care about online reviews, here are a few reasons why it’s important to have a lot of positive reviews.
- They help make your business more visible in search engine results: Positive reviews tell search engines that people are interested in your business. They can increase your click-through rate (CTR) and help you rank higher in search engine results.
- They make it easier for customers to buy from you: People are more likely to buy from a business that has a lot of positive reviews. This means you’ll get more sales as a result of having a lot of online reviews.
- They help build long-term relationships: Customer relationships are built on trust, loyalty, and longevity. Having a lot of positive reviews can help you develop long-term relationships with your customers.
Cons Of Having A Lot Of Online Reviews
While having a lot of online reviews is beneficial, having too many can start to hurt your business. Here are a few ways that having too many online reviews can be a problem.
- They can get unattractive attention: If you have thousands of positive reviews, Google might think that you’re buying them. This can result in your reviews being hidden or deleted.
- They attract competition: If you have a lot of positive reviews, your competition is going to notice: This can be both good and bad. It’s good because it draws more attention to your business. It’s bad because it can attract more competition.
- They can make you less attractive to new customers: New customers don’t usually read the reviews that are already there. If you have too many positive reviews, new customers may be turned off. This can hurt your sales.
Online reviews have become an important part of marketing, especially for small businesses that can’t afford to pay for a lot of advertising. As a business owner, it’s important to know how to respond to both positive and negative reviews and how to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Regardless of the type of review, it should be addressed promptly because it represents the identity of the business. Most of the time, customers also monitor how businesses respond to reviews and consider it choosing where to purchase.
Keep in mind that customers who leave reviews are the most engaged. Engaging with these customers and making changes to improve the experience is important.
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