The Lowdown on Online Reviews

Online reviews can really make or break a company.  More than ever, people are turning to other consumers for their information about brands and businesses.  Reviews are quickly becoming as important as any form of paid advertising your brand does.  Below are the top reasons online reviews are essential to your business, and how you can make them work for you.

1. Reviews Increase Your Google Ranking

Reviews are great for your visibility, especially on search engines.  They factor heavily into SEO and can really help your rankings.  Large numbers of online reviews will help potential customers find you more easily.

2. Reviews Open Conversations with Your Customers

Reviews are a great pipeline to interact directly with your customers. Not only do they give you a chance to hear first-hand what people think, but responding to online reviews offers a chance to let people know that you hear them and value their opinion.  You can ask follow-up questions and really turn a review into a conversation.

3. People Make Decisions Based on Reviews

It is clear that people are not only seeing online reviews, but really paying attention to them.  According to a study conducted by Podium, 93% of consumers say their purchasing decisions are impacted by online reviews. 

4. Presence on Review Sites is Important

Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are extremely visible online and are used by millions to make purchasing decisions.  You want your business to have a presence on as many reputable review sites as possible.  This maximizes the channels through which potential customers can find you and learn about you. 

5. Reviews Help Your Credibility

It is important to build trust for your brand.  The more positive reviews your brand has, the more credibility it has.  When potential customers hear good things from other customers, they tend to believe it.   Social influence is a major factor in the way people make purchasing decisions, so you want people talking about your brand and how great it is online. 

6. Reviews are Easy to Search Out and Find

People tend to want to read reviews, and they don’t have to dig too hard to find them.  Reviews are usually quick and easy to find online, which makes them all the more important.  Even people who aren’t searching hard are likely to come across reviews, so the more you have for your brand, the more exposure you have. 

7. Even negative reviews can provide an opportunity

Sure, you definitely want 5 star reviews raving about your offerings.  But even not-so-nice reviews can be turned into a positive.  They give you an opportunity to hear the issues people are having with your products or services, and address them.  You can let people know you hear their concerns and how you plan to improve going forward.  This after-purchase customer service can show people how valuable they are to you, and if done correctly, really improve goodwill.

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