If you are running a small business, one of the most successful ways to attract new customers is to spruce up your online reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor. Consumers these days have the internet literally in their pockets, accessing the world wide web anywhere and anytime through their smartphones. And before they make a purchase or decide to engage with a business, the majority of people tend to check out reviews online.
In fact, according to recent studies, 77% of consumers regularly read online reviews when looking for a local business. Gone are the days when the good old street sign announcing your latest deals was enough to entice foot traffic to enter your store. With plenty of competition out there, consumers think twice about where they want to spend their money – and they increasingly place their trust in their fellow shoppers.
Online reviews have become a key component of how a company’s reputation and success are rated. Therefore, they should be part of any business’s marketing strategy. But where do you get reviews and how do you manage them?
There are a number of websites and social media platforms out there that allow customers to leave feedback about their experience with any business. Here are the most relevant ones that the majority of consumers use regularly.
Google My Business: The most popular review website worldwide, offers localized search results and reviews influence your Google rankings.
Facebook (Meta): Has more than 1.8 billion active users per day and is often the first point of contact between online customers and businesses. However, be wary, as we’ve found that reviews from random people are more likely.
Trustpilot: A community-driven review platform based in Denmark, but operating in more than 60 countries worldwide, more than 500,000 websites available to be rated.
TripAdvisor: The most popular website for reviews in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry with more than 887 million reviews for 8 million companies.
Benefits of online reviews
Other than in-house marketing, online reviews are written externally by everyday people, based on their real-life experiences. They generally increase trust and confidence in your business and can help give potential customers an oversight over different aspects of your company, from the products and services you offer to your customer service and expertise.
Increased online presence
The more reviews you have, the more likely you will be noticed. Online reviews can start conversations about your company and give you the chance to get to know your audience better, the issues and struggles they are facing.
Online reviews are one factor Google uses to determine where your website will appear in search engine results. The more reviews you have and the more stars consumers give you, the more likely Google will place you at the top of its results.
Advantage over competition
If you search for any local business on Google Maps, you will see the number of reviews along with the number of stars displayed right under the company name. A business with a 5-star-rating has a much higher chance of being chosen by a potential customer than one with 1 star or no reviews at all. Studies have shown that customers are likely to spend up to 31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
Ultimately, reviews can lead to higher sales volumes and increased revenue as they often push someone over the edge who has been contemplating whether or not to buy a product or use a service. Reading about someone else’s experience and how your business may have solved their problem can significantly influence someone’s purchasing decision.
How do I get my customers to leave a review?
Ideally, you want a steady stream of reviews from a wide range of people. Nobody wants to read about someone’s opinion from 3 years ago. If your reviews are outdated, online users may wonder why nobody has been making business with you recently. The same goes for quantity. If your business has been operating for 2 years but only 2 people have left feedback, there must be something wrong with what you’re doing.
The easiest way to get more reviews is to ask for them. The most common scenario is via email when you are checking in to see how satisfied someone is with their recent purchase or in a separate section on the customer receipt. However, there are more ways to ask for feedback.
If a customer sings your praise in conversation with you, ask if they would be happy to leave a comment on your platform of choice to help others make an informed decision when searching for a specific product or service.
This is a great opportunity for businesses that heavily rely on customer service. Whenever you have a satisfied customer that deeply expresses their gratitude for your service, ask them to leave a review to share their experience.
Whether you use a personal approach or an automated SMS service to connect with customers, send them a follow-up message after completing a business transaction and include a link asking for quick feedback about your service.
The biggest advantage about emails is that you can play around with wording and formats before sending. Like a text message, you can also include the link to your preferred review website to make it easier for customers. Purchase confirmation emails are perfect to include a request for a review.
With a card
Depending on your business, you may want to send your customers a thank you card or include it with their purchase. Thank you or business cards are a great way to display QR codes linking straight to a review website.
On your website
Probably not as successful as the straightforward approach, some online users may follow a prompt on your website. Choose between implementing a Call-to-Action in various places on your website or creating a designated testimonial page. The latter has the advantage of better attracting the attention of potential buyers.
With positive reviews
Sharing positive feedback often attracts even more feedback. Upload positive reviews onto your social media accounts, highlight them in your next email newsletter and prominently display them on your website. Reviews are an easy way to get people’s attention and start a conversation.
How do I deal with negative reviews?
Unfortunately, 94% of online shoppers will avoid visiting a business with negative reviews. Does that mean you should delete every entry that is not in your favour? The answer is no. Because at the same time, the majority of customers does not trust a business with only positive reviews.
The most important thing is to stay transparent and genuine, and deal with your reviews in a timely manner. No matter if they are good or bad for your reputation. Keep it fair, stay positive and show that you are taking concerns seriously. By doing so, even a bad review can be turned into a positive experience.
If you would like more information on business reviews and how to make the most of them, talk to the friendly experts at Energise Web today.