Over 90% of customers admit that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. If you are a brand looking to build your reputation online, then business reviews are one thing you should never take for granted.
Reviews are quickly becoming invaluable tools that can be used to win customer trust and establish a positive online reputation. In fact, as some marketers have predicted it, reviews will become a central part of online reputation management and the core ingredients in any online marketing strategy.
Reviews are not only crucial when it comes to building your online reputation. They also help to generate trust and give you a rare opportunity to connect with your customers, understand their needs and tailor your business to satisfy those specific needs.
However, not any kind of review will contribute to building your reputation. Some may be outright fake, exaggerated or scam. These will do more bad than good to your reputation. Others may be genuine and real but in the wrong place.
The reviews have to be genuine and positive for you to be able to leverage them in building the reputation of your brand. Otherwise, they will be pretty much useless. To help you capitalize on reviews to build your online reputation and make your brand more powerful, here are some tips:
1. List your business with ‘Google My Business’
Although there are review sites in every corner of the Web, Google remains to be the most prominent. Review Trackers estimate that 64% of consumers consult Google Reviews before checking out a business. That is why it is imperative that you have your own Google My Business Page to monitor and respond to customer reviews efficiently.
These reviews will also be shown in Google Search results and Google Maps when a search for your business or use of search phrases related to your business are used. This is a great way to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of your business.
2. Encourage customers to review your business
Star ratings alone cannot help build the reputation of your company.
You need as many reviews as possible. For instance, if you have a 5-star rating with 3 reviews and some other business has four stars with 37 reviews, consumers will trust the latter business more than yours. Many reviews prove that a lot of people have dealt with your company and the probability that it is credible is high.
Over 68% of customers will leave reviews behind after they have been asked to do so. However, do not be aggressive and make it sound like reviewing your business is a must. You can write them an email, ask in person or create a landing page with the same request.
3. Respond to Customer Reviews
When it comes to online reputation management, interacting with your customers should be a key priority.
Customers like to feel appreciated, and one sure way to acknowledge them is by responding to their reviews, whether negative or positive. This will increase your credibility and cement the connection between you and the customers, and that is a great way to build an excellent reputation.
Harvard Business Review reports that businesses who respond to customer reviews are likely to get 12% more reviews and an increase of star ratings by 0.12%.
4. Ensure You have current reviews
A lot of old reviews will not help your business at all. In fact, according to BrightLocal, 73% of customers admit that they usually ignore any review that is older than 90 days when making purchasing decisions. Google too is a lover of fresh content and is more likely to rank reviews that are more recent better than old ones.
Customers want to be assured that what they are reading is pertinent and are not willing to bet their purchase on something that someone said a year ago. In a nutshell, when your reviews are old, and no fresh ones come in, your reputation begins to fade.
5. Consider all major review sites
Do not just dwell on Google to build your online reputation. There are other prominent review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Yellowpages, TrustPilot, and Facebook. You have to work on diversifying your review channels for better ranking. This way, if a review from one site such as Google does not show up in search results, the probability that one of the other platforms will show up is high.
How to Deal with Negative Reviews
Negative reviews rather than positive ones are what compels you to come up with an online reputation management strategy. They give you an opportunity to better your business and satisfy a broader customer base.
Do not let negative reviews demoralize you. They are inevitable because, well, nobody is perfect. While is quite hard to please everyone, it is those you don’t amuse that open your eyes to a flaw in your business. Instead of letting them bring you down, leverage on negative reviews to come up with a better strategy to improve your business and give your brand an even more powerful reputation.
Hospitality Marketing estimates that 87% of hotel visitors who left negative reviews changed their perception after a positive response from the management.
You have probably heard of the phrase ‘Ignore Negativity.’ Such a decision, in this case, could be disastrous to your reputation.
Not responding to a negative review does not just justify that review, but also presents an image of arrogance and a sign that you are admitting to your mistake and probably don’t care about them.
Make it a priority to bring back the unhappy customers before working on retaining the happy ones.
Online reviews can significantly help to build your reputation. Having no reviews for your business in any of the major review platforms is just as bad as having negative reviews. If you are going to come up with an online reputation management strategy, make sure that your business reviews are a top priority.