There are myriad options for basically any product or service one could want. Choosing which to select often comes down to reviews.
93% of consumers say reviews influence their purchase decisions, according to Podium’s 2017 State of Online Reviews report.
Every business owner knows the anecdotal benefit of reviews. But many aren’t aware of exactly how much power reviews have, or that they have a fair amount of power over them. Let’s dive into the importance of reviews and tips for managing them.
Good Reviews (Really) Matter
- Good reviews increase trust
92% of B2B buyers say they’re more likely to purchase something after reading a good review. We’ve all been there . . . waffling about whether or not we should buy something or trying to decide between similar products from different companies. Then a glowing review makes all the difference. We know we can’t always trust what a business says about their product. A positive review is social proof, a trust signal that has a real impact on our purchase decision.
- Good reviews affect spend
People are willing to spend more, 31% more, on a business that has excellent reviews.Good reviews are an endorsement of a product or service. It’s easier to drop some more cash on an option you know for sure is better than the others.
- Good reviews impact search rankings
There are many options search engines consider when ranking a website in their search results, and good reviews is one of them. They want to help you find the best option.So great reviews not only increase trust and the potential someone will pick you over a competitor, they can also help you be discovered by customers in the first place.
Bad Reviews (Really) Hurt
- Bad reviews impact your reputation
3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would consider engaging with. Too many bad reviews can be disastrous.
- Bad reviews drive people away
94% of consumers say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.
- Bad reviews impact search rankings
Just as the opposite is true, poor reviews are a signal to search engines that they shouldn’t give your business priority in search rankings. (Remember: Search engine algorithms consider hundreds of ranking factors; a few bad reviews don’t spell the end of your site.) In the course of business, you will get some bad reviews. If you’re offering a quality product and you advertise it honestly, hopefully they’ll be few and far between. Don’t let them freak you out too much.
How to Manage Reviews
Review gathering and management should be an intentional and ongoing aspect of your marketing plan. Here’s how to get started managing reviews, or how to improve your current approach.
- Ask for Reviews
People are often willing to leave you a review if you just ask. This is especially true of your stakeholders. Put out a social post asking for reviews every so often. Send a post-purchase email that encourages your customer to leave a review. Simply having a few reviews can make a big difference. Aim for at least five to start. The purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.
- Don’t Incentivize Reviews
It can be hard to get traction with reviews. People have enough going on—they may not want to spend three minutes leaving a review. That’s why some organizations decide to offer something in exchange for reviews. Don’t do that. Aside from this being against the policy of sites like Google and Yelp, incentivizing can affect review sentiment. It can also draw fake reviews in some instances. So, how do you get people to review you, then? Ask. Provide great products that they want to talk about and tell their friends about. Make leaving a review easy.
- Manage Reviews Across Channels
Facebook and Google are the big two when it comes to reviews, but don’t forget about other review outlets. Specific sites like UpCity (for B2B) and Yelp are still important. Make sure to optimize your listings on these sites
- Respond to Reviews
Respond to all reviews, especially negative ones. 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week (although, the faster, the better). This helps you avoid burning bridges with the negative reviewer, and it also shows potential customers reading reviews that you take care of your customers.
- Deal with Fake or Defamatory Reviews
If your business has had an online presence for a while, you might have noticed negative fake reviews pop up, or maybe you’ve had to deal with reviews that leave out important information or are defamatory. You can report negative fake or defamatory reviews to the platform, and you should when necessary. You can even escalate to legal action, if it comes to that. Before negative fake or defamatory reviews are removed, you should respond to them. While you’re waiting for them to be deleted, potential customers will see your response and take it into consideration. In the case of fake reviews, respond that the person in question has never done business with you. In the case of defamatory reviews, respond that the information is false or misleading.
- Embrace Negative Reviews
You will get negative reviews. Make sure to take care of the people who leave them. Respond with empathy. Offer solutions. Make them feel heard. Your response will also show anyone reading the negative review that you take care of your customers. Here’s a specific guide to handling negative reviews. Even though it doesn’t feel good to get a negative review, think of it as an opportunity. The customer is telling you about something you can potentially fix. Maybe it’s even a chance for you to turn them into a satisfied customer.
- Embrace Less-Than-Five-Star Reviews
Interestingly enough, Spiegel found that five-star reviews aren’t all they’ve cracked up to be. They can be seen as “too good to be true.” Spiegel reports that purchase likelihood peaks for the 4.0-4.7-star range and begins to decrease as ratings approach 5.0.They also found that negative reviews increase credibility. People actually seek them out. Make sure you address negative reviews and see them as an opportunity, as mentioned above. So, don’t strong-arm customers into leaving five-star reviews. (How often do you see the mandate to “Leave us a 5-star review!”?) Let them leave honest reviews, and your performance will be all the better for it.
- Recency matters
Search engines take the recency of reviews into account (and so do potential customers). So don’t have a big push for reviews once and leave it at that. Continue encouraging reviews. The more, the better!
If you didn’t before, now you know how important reviews are. Although you can’t directly control reviews, you can certainly manage them. Make review management part of your marketing and watch how it impacts your business.
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