Online Business Reviews: Why They Matter
Posted on 16th February 2020
Reviews are everywhere we look online these days. And that’s hardly surprising when every single time you make a purchase using the internet, you’ll be asked at least once to share your thoughts on it with the online world.
Not to mention all the reviews that people voluntarily post on sites such as Google My Business, Facebook, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot.
So, do reviews really matter or are they just a way of cluttering up the internet with our personal opinions? Let’s look at the facts:
1. Lots of people read reviews for local businesses
According to BIA/Kelsey, 97% of consumers read reviews when researching local businesses.
2. Online reviews influence purchasing decisions
3. People trust online reviews
Especially young people. According to BrightLocal, 91% of 18-31 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
4. People are more likely to spend more on businesses with good reviews
Up to 31% more, apparently – but only if the reviews are ‘excellent’.
5. Negative reviews will cost your business, big time
94% of people say that an online review has led them to avoid a business.
I think that establishes the importance of online reviews! My next question is: how do you get great reviews for your business and use them to your advantage? Here are my top 5 tips:
Tip 1 – register with the right websites
Google My Business is your first port of call, especially if you’re a local business. According to reviewtrackers, 57.5% of online reviews worldwide are posted on Google. Whilst Facebook comes a relatively poor second at 19%, it’s still worth using if it’s a good fit with your business. Speaking of social media, LinkedIn is a ‘must’ for B2B companies.
When it comes to dedicated review sites, those that work for most business types include Trustpilot, Feefo, and Yelp. You should also look at sites specific to your industry sector, such as Tripadvisor for travel, hospitality, and tourism; Which? for B2C services; and Checkatrade and Trusted Trader for building, construction, and related industries.
Tip 2 – get people to leave you great reviews and star ratings
If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so when you know someone’s happy with your services, ask them to write you a great review or give you a 5 star rating. Make it easy for them by sending links to the websites where you’d like them to post.
Tip 3 – ask for recommendations on LinkedIn (and return the favour)
If you run a B2B company, LinkedIn is perhaps your most powerful marketing tool after your website. As a professional network with a highly corporate approach, LinkedIn is seen as trustworthy. People are therefore likely to believe what they read there, including recommendations, especially if they’re ‘connected’ to the people who wrote them.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to write recommendations for your services on your LinkedIn page and/or give endorsements for the skills you’ve listed. Offering to do the same in return makes it more likely that your clients will respond.
Tip 4 – collect and post direct testimonials
There’s nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet. If you’ve done a great job, you should be proud of it. So, if a client writes you a fantastic email saying how much they love your products or services, put it on your website (ask them first, though).
As with LinkedIn recommendations, you can also actively ask for testimonials, perhaps by sending feedback forms or links to a quick online survey each time you’ve completed a job. You could use the survey results to compile useful statistics, such as ‘96% client satisfaction rate,’ which you could include in your website content and other marketing materials.
Tip 5 – share your reviews and testimonials
Sharing positive reviews and glowing testimonials is one of the easiest ways to get likes, shares and comments online. So, don’t hide your light under a bushel: share links to online reviews from your own website, third party review sites, and social media pages. Remember to include a link back to your main website in each post, so people new to your business can find out more.
Dealing with negative reviews
Like it or not, the odd bad review is bound to crop up at some point. Whether you’ve made a mistake or had the misfortune to work for someone who likes a good moan, all isn’t lost if you handle your response to the review correctly. The golden rules are to respond quickly, politely and professionally, and to take the issue offline as soon as possible. Encouraging more of your happy customers to leave good reviews will help to mitigate any reputational damage.
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