When businesses first began implementing online review sites such as Reliable Reviews, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google+, many were confused about why they needed to invest time and energy into these platforms. After all, wouldn’t it be better to focus on other ways to drive more business?
And what could the review websites possibly have to offer that was worth giving up those potential customers? These concerns are fair. After all, if you are running a brick-and-mortar business, how can you even receive online reviews… much less respond to them in some way that helps your business grow?
It turns out, that these platforms offer a lot of benefits for local businesses. There are numerous purposes for which online reviews are an invaluable tool. Read on for a detailed list of what these platforms can do for your business.
Online Reviews Quick Overview
There’s an old saying: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” By measuring and monitoring your online reviews, you can save yourself a world of trouble and improve your overall business at the same time.
Above all, online reviews offer you a glimpse into customer sentiment. You’ll see what people are saying — good and bad. You might see which products, services, or areas of your business people are particularly happy or unhappy with.
You might even discover areas in which customers have specific and actionable suggestions for improvement.
Popular Online Review Sites
Reliable Reviews are a robust resolution to cultivate and manage your customer feedback and online reviews. With dozens of options, and customizations, to satisfy your customer experience goals.
As a Software as a Service (SaaS) based solution, we constantly add and enhance features to grow with the internet and the industry. Small businesses, multi-location, and enterprises will find the right combination of features to drive your business up.
Google My Business
Google+ was one of the first platforms that were created for online reviews. It eventually morphed into a full-fledged business listing site and now has more than 100 million businesses listed.
While this site is one of the best for gaining reviews, the problem is that there is very little control over what is displayed on the site. Google+ has a terrible algorithm for displaying reviews on the business listing.
This platform has been around for a very long time and has over 143 million reviews daily. The great thing about Yelp is that it will let you claim your business listing and have some control over what is displayed on the site.
Yelp also has a great algorithm that displays reviews in a very useful way.
TripAdvisor is one of the few platforms that are exclusive to travel and hospitality businesses. This is a very robust platform that allows you to claim your business and control the reviews that are displayed on the site.
TripAdvisor also has a great algorithm that displays reviews in a useful manner.
Increased Reliance On Online Reviews
Most people will turn to online reviews when researching a business. A study published by the Harvard Business Review found that 93% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase.
And, it’s easy to see why online reviews offer a level of detail and authenticity that other marketing techniques can’t always provide. As a business owner, you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of this opportunity.
That means ensuring your company is listed on the review sites that are appropriate for your business. Responding to all customer reviews, both positive and negative.
Find ways to facilitate positive reviews, either through your business’s website or by asking customers to leave feedback directly on the review sites.
Build Customer Relationships
Online review sites are an excellent place to build relationships with customers by encouraging them to leave feedback. When someone leaves a review, you have an opportunity to reach out to them and thank them for the feedback
You can also ask them to go one step further and become part of your community. While it’s true that you can’t talk to customers through online reviews, there are other ways to build relationships. One of the most important ways is by making sure that customer service is always top-notch.
Educate Your Customer Base
Businesses often find that their most fervent customers are also their most vocal. After all, these people have had such a great experience with your brand that they want others to know about it.
One of the best ways to encourage these super fans to leave feedback is to give them a place to do it. Many businesses offer a feedback page where customers can leave their thoughts about the company. Others use review websites to accomplish the same thing.
If you are getting honest feedback from your customers, this is a great way to educate them about your company. You can use their reviews to give more information about your products and services.
Establish Expertise & Brand Awareness
One of the best ways to show your expertise is to get customer feedback that validates your marketing claims. When someone takes time out of their busy lives to leave a review, they are essentially vouching for your business.
You can use this to your advantage and add these reviews to your site. This is a great way to establish your brand awareness. When people visit your site, they will see these reviews and feel more confident about making a purchase.
Drive Traffic And SEO
One of the most debated subjects about online reviews is whether or not they affect your SEO. This is because there are multiple sides to this debate. On one side, Google has confirmed that reviews affect SEO, but on the other side, they’ve also claimed that there are no data to support this.
After conducting their research, however, SEO experts have found that Google does indeed take reviews into account when ranking websites. They’ve also concluded that the number and quality of reviews have a significant effect on SEO. Therefore, reviews are an excellent way to drive more traffic to your website.
The best part is that you don’t even have to do anything special to make it happen. All you have to do is encourage customers to leave a review and then make sure that it’s easy for them to find it.
Grow Your Business
Reviews are a great way to show potential customers that you have happy customers. When you have lots of positive reviews, it shows that people love your products or services. This is a great way to attract more customers because it shows potential clients that there is a high demand for what you’re selling.
As mentioned above, reviews can also help to drive more traffic to your website. Once there, you can try to convert those potential customers into loyal customers by offering them a great experience.
Note: Online Reviews Can Be A Double-Edged Sword
While online reviews are extremely valuable, they should be viewed as a double-edged sword. What customers say in their reviews can both benefit and harm your business — and there’s not much you can do about it.
For example, you can’t control what people will write in their reviews. Even if they are praising your company and products/services, you can’t force them to use a certain tone or refrain from using certain words. And, there is the chance that a customer will use inappropriate language (i.e. profanity, negative comments about other businesses, etc.).
What’s more, you don’t know when the reviews will be published. And, even if you do know when the reviews will appear, there is no guarantee that they will be posted in an appropriate location.
If you’re not utilizing online reviews, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. Reviews are a great way to build customer relationships, show expertise, establish brand awareness, drive traffic and boost your SEO. They’re also a great way to grow your business because they show potential customers that people love your products.
Once they see all the positive reviews, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase. Reviews aren’t something that you can ignore, especially if you’re in the service industry. You might not be able to ignore negative reviews, either. To combat negative reviews and keep them to a minimum, you should work on improving your customer service.
Stay abreast of the latest trends in online reviews by staying informed about the latest news in the industry. You can also sign up for a review aggregator to keep track of all your reviews in one place. Review websites will change and adapt as time goes on, so you need to be flexible enough to change with them.
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