Online reviews are important to your business, and only becoming more important as time goes on. According to a study by Search Engine Land, reviews on Google alone show impressive numbers; “From 2013 to 2014, the number of [Google reviews] grew by 80 percent. The next year it grew by 114 percent, and from 2015 to 2016 this growth sped up to an incredible 278 percent.” Other reviews sites haven’t quite kept this impressive growth rate, but are constantly expanding. If you’re not sure why online reviews are important, now is a good time to learn.

6 Reasons Online Reviews Are Important For Your Business

1. Bring in New Customers

Online reviews are important for bringing in new customers. When deciding where to eat, what to do, where to go or what product to buy, users now turn to the internet to help make their decision. A star rating lower than four will turn away 57% of customers reading online reviews. This effect can be reversed as well. Customers may never have heard of your business before, but reviews can sway them. If they see other customers enjoying your products or service, they will be more willing to give you a try themselves.

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2. Build Trust

If you’re a new business, or if you have a new idea or invention, this is one of the biggest reasons why online reviews are important. New businesses can have a tough time competing with old mainstays, whether you have a brick-and-mortar establishment, a cutting-edge tech service, or something in between. Online reviews show customer approval and prove that your product or service works, and works well. You’ll gain authority and credibility, as well as approval. This is the springboard you need to launch yourself to the top of your industry.

3. Stay Ahead of the Competition

There are only so many customers and so many sales dollars to go around. No matter what business you’re in, you know that you have to bring in your audience before your competitors do. If you gather reviews faster than your competitors, or you continually work on getting new reviews, you’ll maintain this advantage. According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, a one star improvement to a Yelp score indicates a 5 to 9% increase in revenue.

4. Determine Search Results Spot

Research by Search Engine Land showed that businesses appearing higher on a Google search engine results page (SERP) tended to have more reviews. Since Google builds their own product around giving customers the best results possible, it makes sense that they would suggest the locations with the most approval first. On a regular SERP, the first three results tend to capture the most clicks. Translating this to customers looking for a restaurant, entertainment venue, or local hotspots, the businesses that show up first will most likely capture the most visitors.

5. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth is every good business’s best friend. When you do good work and customers recommend you to family and friends, it’s like a high-quality advertisement you never had to pay for. Online reviews are the internet version of word of mouth marketing. Research shows that 78% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In some cases, like when customers share their endorsement via Facebook with their friends, an online review becomes a personal recommendation as well.

6. Fix Problems

Not all reviews are positive. Even if you take great care to create an exceptional experience, you will inevitably have some negative reviews. However, not all negative reviews are bad. This is a good chance to know about problems with your business and fix them. 95% of negative reviewers said they would return to a business if their complaint was resolved. If there is a problem, it’s certainly better to know about it as soon as possible before it turns away other customers. Remember that you can respond to a negative review and tell your customer that the issue was fixed. On most platforms, including Google, the reviewer can even change their review.

Online reviews are important for a number of reasons. This means gathering online reviews should not be left to chance. Getting more online reviews starts by simply asking your customers. 70% of consumers asked to leave a review did so, but only 66% are ever asked. Remind your customers in an email, on the end of their receipt, through a social media message, or whatever way you feel will work best.

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Posted in: online reviews, Reputation Management