Online reputation management is a core foundation of digital marketing that is only growing stronger in 2017. Did you know that 90% of consumers read online reviews and a whopping 88% of them trust these reviews as much as personal recommendations? (Source: Business2Community)
Online reviews play a critical role in your business’ reputation … so much that it impacts your lead conversions, sales, and most importantly customer loyalty. Taking the time to craft a digital marketing plan that not only includes online reviews but also promotes positive testimonials and feedback is a wise business move that will create long-term benefits for your brand.
In fact, we’ve gathered five big reasons why online reviews are big assets to your brand. Building your online reputation is vital to achieving sustainable results in your marketing strategy and goals. You’ll understand why you should start encouraging more customers to leave them on your site and will be provided with a few ways to get this done.
#1 Online Reviews Enhance SEO Rankings
A significant advantage to online reviews is the boost in SEO ranking on search engine sites like Google. You see, search engines are still the #1 source for content traffic generation. When people want to find a business they Google it, or they ask their phone which then Googles it for them. The more content that is written about your business regardless of the source, the more this positively impacts organic SEO status.
This is growing more and more as Google leverages the power of its map and its reviews through its own social media platform. Google reviews made by active Google Plus users end up affecting the way your business is listed on Google. And reviews you get from other sites such as Yelp and Facebook now also contribute to the way Google parses your online reputation.
In short, even on the most basic level, when your target audience uses keyword phrases that are relevant to your business, you’re more likely to be found simply due to online reviews. And now Google is crawling, indexing and intelligently analyzing the content of those reviews to affect the way your business is listed. Therefore, reviews are an excellent strategy to increase visibility and brand awareness. This especially works well for local businesses leveraging SEO to improve their status in search.
#2 Testimonials Effectively Build Trust with Potential Buyers
Establishing trust with prospects is the first big step towards getting them to become customers. People want to know if they will achieve results with your brand. They want to know if you’re marketing and promotional material is both steak and sizzle. They want to hear what others have said about you before they buy. Testimonials from real consumers gives validity and authenticity to your business. It shows potential customers that your products or services indeed work. You will build the know, like, and trust factor and be able to reassure those who are “on the fence” about doing business with you.
#3 You Better Understand Your Audience from Real Feedback
Another reason why online reviews are assets to your brand is the feedback you gain from your customers. These are golden nuggets giving you real insight as to whether you’re exceeding expectations or if there are areas that require improvement. You’re better able to serve your current and future customers because now you know exactly what their needs are. It’s just that simple, they’ve told you! You’re hearing directly from your target market, putting you in position to create enriched, positive experiences for your customers … a winning tactic that constantly perfects your brand!
#4 The Reviews Contain Ideas You Can Use to Create Remarkable Content
Looking for creative content ideas to engage your social media followers, blog visitors, and email list? Your customer reviews are an excellent content source filled with ideas. Take what they say and share it with your audience while delivering value. You can collect your reviews and either share them in one blog post or inject them throughout an article that complements a given topic. Another idea includes scheduling them right into your social media marketing tool along with a visual to post on your social networks.
Testimonials serve as great content pieces for your storytelling strategy. People resonate and bond with stories. Be sure to tell your customers’ tale from the very first steps of your journey together all the way to the successful ending.
#5 Reviews are Always a Successful Selling Tool
And finally, sharing your reviews is extremely effective in helping to close deals. In fact, 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review. Additionally, 31% of customers are likely to spend more on a business with “excellent” reviews. Due to the feeling of authenticity, reviews provide genuine perspectives from live experiences with your product. It is a powerful way to connect with buyers showing interest in your business, driving more revenue to your brand. When encouraged and used consistently in your digital marketing, a small review can reap large rewards.
How to Start Building More Positive Online Reviews
Now that you’re clear on why reviews are vital to your online presence, here are a few ideas to begin gaining more reviews from your customers and supporters of your brand:
- Make it easy for customers to give reviews – Send follow-up emails that include a direct link to your review profiles. Yelp offers downloadable “Find us on Yelp” banners that you can also use on your website
- Hold a social media contest – A great way to boost engagement and buzz around your brand, host a contest that gets customers talking about your product. Be sure to use a branded hashtag to increase awareness
- Get your team involved – Create an incentive program for employees when they remember to ask for a review or actually receive one
- Simply ask them – Want to know the best way to increase the number of reviews for your business? Just ask. But don’t wait too long… customers are more likely to give you feedback right away.
- Leverage professional reputation management services – Allow these companies to do what they do best by creating and curating amazing content that relates to your business. They can also effectively combat negative reviews to help maintain a positive image of your brand
Online reviews are vital for any business that desires to have a winning online reputation and reap the full benefits of positive customer feedback. Your company can begin capitalizing on the advantages by implementing a strategy that consistently promotes customer reviews.