Online reviews are a huge part of the digital marketing landscape and they should be a major part of your online marketing strategy. In this post, we’ll explore why reviews are important to establish trust with your customers and prospects, how to use them to rank higher in local search results and how to collect more positive and recent reviews.
Build trust and loyalty with customers and potential customers
Online reviews are a great way to build trust with your customers and potential customers. Trust is important for sales, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and customer retention. It can also be crucial when it comes to gaining new customers or getting referrals from existing clients.
In fact, according to a study by BrightLocal and the Local Search Association (LSA), 73% of consumers say that they seek out online reviews before making a purchase in person at a local business.
In June 2022, Internet Retailing reported that while more than 80% of purchases are affected by customer reviews and that 72% of consumers trust recent reviews as much as a personal recommendation, 50% of consumers will first refer to a business’ reviews to ensure it is trustworthy before making a purchase!
This means that for many consumers, their decision-making process whether they will buy from your business or not begins with reviews.
Review sites help you rank higher in local SEO
Organic traffic from local search results is one of the best ways to increase business. But what helps you rank better in local search?
The first crucial piece of this puzzle is ensuring you have an up to date business profile on Google and Bing, and any social platforms and reviews platforms. Consistent and correct information – your business name, business address and business telephone number – gives the search engines that much more confidence in your business which helps with ranking.
Another crucial piece of this puzzle is social proof that your business is trustworthy and that you have happy customers. Online reviews help build your brand image and trustworthiness as a business, both of which play an important role in local search results. Reviews that are positive, are recent and are found on multiple platforms helps the search engines have confidence in putting your business in front of people searching for the services or products you offer.
Review sites like TripAdvisor, Trustpilot, and Google Reviews are a great resource for local SEO.
In fact, the top 10 search results on TripAdvisor have an average of 4.5 stars or higher. The top 10 search results on Trustpilot have an average of 8.4 stars or higher (and this is before Facebook reduced their ranking). And the same goes for Google Business reviews: the top 10 results there have an average rating of 4.3 stars or higher.
So what does this mean? If you want your business to rank high in local searches then it makes sense to get some positive reviews online so that those sites can help boost your visibility with potential customers who are looking for businesses like yours nearby!
But what about the impact of negative reviews on SEO?
Negative reviews can be used as an opportunity to improve your service. To understand why negative reviews are important, you should know that if you aren’t able to improve your service or product, then you can’t improve your SEO. If you can only do one of those things, it’s going to be better for your business to focus on paying attention to what they’re saying in their reviews than it is to focus on making changes that directly impact how search engines rank your website. Improving your services and products will lead to better SEO once your business starts to receive positive reviews.
Analyse and respond to negative reviews
When you do receive negative reviews be sure to respond quickly and with a positive attitude. This will help you show that you are listening, that you’re willing to take action, and you’re learning from the experience. Negative reviewers almost always just want to be heard and once you show that you are listening you may even be able to win them back.
Showcase top reviews on your website
If you have the ability to showcase your top reviews on your website, then you should. If a customer is reading reviews before they decide on where to buy from, they’ll be more likely to choose you if your best reviews are showcased in an obvious way. Additionally, if someone has already searched for something similar and found negative results with other companies but positive ones with yours, that’s a good sign!
This may be hard if there aren’t many reviews yet (or if all of them are negative), but it’s certainly worth looking into as soon as possible so that when things start getting busy and more people are buying from you, they’re able to see what others think first-hand rather than having to go elsewhere first.
Reviews show off your customer service skills
Customer service skills are a reflection of your business. They tell people how you will treat them, and whether they should trust you with their money.
They also show that you care about your business, and your staff—that you’re willing to put in the hard work it takes to make sure everyone is happy with their experience at your establishment.
In short, when your customers experience great customer service they’re likely to write great reviews!
How to collect online reviews
You can ask for reviews in several ways. There are several tools that allow you to collect reviews, including:
- A review platform like Trustpilot, Yelp, Google Business and Facebook Page Reviews;
- Email marketing campaigns asking customers to submit reviews (e.g. “If you love our service, please leave a review!”);
- Using a widget or button on your website asking customers to leave a review (e.g., “Want to leave feedback? Click here!”);
- When you have an event at your business or organisation – ask attendees for their honest opinion about the event and follow up with them later by emailing them with a link where they can write a review about their experience at the event; this shows potential customers that everyone else is happy too so they too will be satisfied when buying from/attending events hosted there as well.
But, is there a better, faster way to collect reviews?
Time is an issue for everyone – for businesses wanting to collect more reviews, and for customers wanting to provide feedback to help the business.
How many times, as a customer, have you been asked to provide a review? You’ve had every intention of doing so but then… time.
Speaking from personal experience, I always have the intention to leave a review for every business I’ve used, from restaurants to experiences like stage shows. But, all too often, the business doesn’t have a process to immediately collect my feedback – at best I’ll be told to leave a Google Review.
Great, but this requires me to search for the business online, navigate to the ‘leave a review’ link and then proceed to write something – when I have found time to do all this, it’s almost always a day or two after, and I struggle to recall everything about the experience.
How much better then, if your business had a simple way to collect feedback from your customers immediately after? This feedback then turns into a review, with the customer’s consent, not just for one platform but every platform that matters e.g. a restaurant will benefit from a review being posted to Google and to TripAdvisor; a tradesperson, like a plumber or electrician, will benefit from a review being posted to Google and Trust Pilot.
Having a proven system in place means more feedback collected and more positive reviews posted to multiple platforms. This helps to strengthen your brand with your existing customers – leading to more repeat business – and with new prospective customers.
At NERO Digital Labs, we have just such a system to help you and your business make the most of this important marketing strategy. It will allow you to easily collect feedback from your customers and clients in a variety of ways and then process that feedback to generate reviews. The reviews are posted to the reviews platforms that matter the most to your business and industry. Get in touch to learn more.
I hope that this article has made it clear why online reviews are so important for your business. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your own online review strategy with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. We look forward to hearing from you!