In 2020, digital marketing company BrightLocal published the results of its Local Consumer Review Survey. The statistics from that report make for interesting reading.
The survey found that 87% of potential customers will check the online reviews for a local business before purchasing. What’s more, 52% stop paying attention to a company if its average review rating is lower than four stars out of five.
This alone may be enough to convince you of the importance of online reviews to the success of your brand. However, there are plenty more reasons why your business should focus on collecting as many positive reviews as possible.
Reason #1 – Customers Trust Online Reviews
According to a recent article published by Inc., 84% of people who read online reviews say they trust them as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend.
Online reviews come from sources independent of the company that’s trying to sell a product or service. This can make them much more effective than sales copy as a marketing tool. These reviews are often referred to as “social proof” because they’re evidence that comes directly from customers that shows your product does what it promises.
Customers trust online reviews because they know the people who provide them have direct experience with the product they’re thinking about buying. They also know the reviews generally contain objective and unbiased opinions. If you have a considerable number of positive reviews, you have social proof that you can leverage to create more sales.
Reason #2 – Online Reviews Provide Fresh Content
While every search engine has its own algorithm for determining which content it displays, they all have one thing in common:
They prefer to serve users the freshest content they can find.
A steady supply of online reviews creates fresh content that is directly related to your brand. Search engines snap this content up and tend to display it prominently in results, especially for users searching for specific product types or brands.
By encouraging customers to leave online reviews, you improve your performance in search engines. This results in your brand being more visible than competitors who pay less attention to reviews.
Furthermore, many digital marketers believe that online reviews serve as a ranking factor for your main website. If you have many reviews, search engines can see that people are interested in your product or service. That means they’re more likely to serve your main website to users, as well as the reviews you accumulate.
Reason #3 – They Give You a Chance to Showcase Your Customer Service Skills
Unfortunately, very few businesses can accumulate overwhelmingly positive reviews. Occasionally, things go wrong with your product or service, which leads to the customer going online to raise an issue.
The good news is that these occasions often present opportunities for your business.
You’re often able to comment directly on the reviews that your customers leave. If you’re able to handle the issue that the customer raises, you increase your chances of working with that person again. As importantly, you also create a publicly viewable record of your customer service processes in action. This means you’re actively showing potential customers that you care about the issues your current customers raise.
This, in turn, creates increased trust in your brand.
Reason #4 – Online Reviews Provide You With Feedback
It’s not uncommon for businesses to spend large sums of money to commission customer surveys. It’s easy to see why, as such surveys allow the company to get a feel for the overriding sentiment towards their products and brands.
However, online reviews offer you a much easier way to gather this feedback. Most of the reviews you receive are from actual customers who want to talk about their experiences with your products. As such, they offer insight into the issues people have, what problems your product solves, and any other challenges that your customers would like you to solve.
Online Reviews Are Powerful Tools
Many business owners underestimate the power of online reviews. However, doing so means they miss several opportunities.
Reviews are valuable marketing tools because they provide potential customers with social proof relating to your products. They’re also helpful for gathering feedback and showcasing your customer service abilities, as required. Finally, they give you plenty of fresh content in an increasingly competitive organic search environment. By encouraging and leveraging your online reviews, you’re able to build a stronger online brand.