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5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Online Reviews & How to Get Them

By: Steve Orowitz

 

Reasons Why Your Business Needs Online Reviews

People are more connected today than they’ve ever been. Most people have access to the internet whether at home, work, or on the road. It’s not only a means of communicating with people or staying entertained—it’s also a valuable resource, and people take advantage of it. Although the internet has changed many facets of our culture, its effect on businesses is hard to overestimate.

These days, peoples’ opinions and online reviews shape others’ opinions, as well as businesses themselves. The days in which businesses defined themselves are gone. Online reviews have unsettled everything. Any business that avoids online activity, especially in attempting to shape reviews, will probably fall behind.

Consumers Read Online Reviews

63% percent of consumers search for reviews using a search engine such as Google. Another 37% directly visit their preferred review sites. These online review stats are important to consider. They illustrate that people no longer blindly purchase goods or services. They have resources online—and they use them.

Another staggering number is that 84% of people trust the recommendations of strangers. It’s also crucial to understand. The overwhelming majority of people trust reviews they read online, whether or not they know the person who wrote it. Reviews not only influence if and when people will use a business, but they could also influence a person’s satisfaction. Seventy-eight percent of consumers who read an online review before using a business felt satisfied after their purchase.

Reviews Are Now Viral

Social networks are now a major component of many peoples’ lives. People share everything online, even reviews and recommendations.

It’s now possible for someone to write a glowing review, or a grave condemnation, that attracts attention through likes and shares. Through social media, it’s possible for reviews or criticisms of a business to go viral. Thousands of people might read or share a review, which could lead to an increase in business—or a decrease if the review is negative.

Giving Your Customers a Voice Earns Their Loyalty

You can only do so much to influence whether someone will post a review online. Even if you suggest a site for them to leave a review, or even points you’d like them to raise, you can’t guarantee that reviews will be favorable. It’s impossible to please everyone, and you’ll certainly encounter negative reviews of your business. You can, however, take hold of the situation if and when someone leaves a negative review.

One way to do this is to respond politely. Never criticize the person or say he or she is wrong. Instead, try to open a dialogue with them, apologize, and even extend some kind of courtesy—reduced rates on their next purchase, for example. Approaching negative reviews this way could go a long way toward building trust with a consumer, as well as potential consumers who are reading the review and monitoring your interaction with the reviewer.

Consumers Visit Your Site & Buy More After Seeing Good Reviews

According to statistics, 54% of consumers will visit the website of a business after encountering positive reviews online. By providing reliable goods and services at reasonable rates, you could inspire someone to jump online and write a review. Doing so could lead others to visit your website and, ultimately, use your business.

Of course, good service is the most important aspect of any business. If you do your best to service and satisfy consumers, their reviews might reflect your dedication. In turn, it could inspire others to seek out your business. Consumers typically spend 31% more on businesses that have received excellent reviews. This is a strong reason to do your best, and to help cultivate reviews.

Online Reviews Boost Your Search Rankings

Reviews of businesses often appear on search engines when people search for anything related to those businesses. A variety of factors—including paid advertisements—contribute to which businesses search engines select.

Reviews, especially positive reviews, play a large part in this selection. When someone reviews a business online, the language they use can appear as keywords the search engines search for. If enough people use similar language in their reviews, this can increase the likelihood that your business will appear when people search for similar businesses.

How to Get More Online Reviews

This is all fine and dandy, you might think, but it requires people to actually take the time to write reviews. What role can you play in it? As it turns out, a significant one. Believe it or not, the best way to get reviews is to ask. Seventy percent of consumers say they’ll leave a review if asked. If you’re not in the position to ask in person, include a spot in your automated emails suggesting or recommending people leave reviews on their favorite sites.

Another way to court reviews is to integrate them into your own website. This could be important because, as we saw above, 54% of people who read positive reviews will visit a business’s website. Positive reviews on your site could persuade curious visitors to use your business.

As we mentioned earlier, responding to reviews might build a consumer’s loyalty and trust. It might also influence the decisions of potential reviewers. Bear in mind that you have to create honest dialogue with them. Don’t criticize them of defend yourself. On positive reviews, respond with gratitude and humility.

When someone is kind enough to leave a review, especially a favorable one, try to persuade him or her to share that review on other websites—such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, Reddit, and so on. Try to recommend a specific site or kind of site, but don’t make demands or in any way act entitled to reviews.

Conclusion

An astonishing 90% of consumers read reviews online before deciding whether or not to use a business. A majority of them will consider the opinions and experiences relayed by other users. Many of them will based their decisions on the input of other people, even strangers. Online reviews shape businesses these days. There’s simply no avoiding it. In addition to turning potential consumers on or off, reviews can also help search engines map your site to local searches, which can increase or decrease the likelihood of your business appearing when people use search engines. Reviews are crucial. Ignoring or discouraging them could cost your business its future.

Do you have anything to add to this discussion? If so, consider leaving us feedback or continuing the conversation in the comments.

Published: September 14, 2017
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Steve Orowitz

Steve Orowitz is a recently retired small business operator and is now a consultant. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, travel, and technology. When he isn't consulting, you can usually find him out on the river with his fly rod, or hiking in the hills near his home in Fort Collins Colorado.

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