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The Importance of Online Reviews
Before trying a restaurant for the first time, it’s likely that you check out the reviews from other guests’ experiences. You want to know things like price, how the food tastes, and ambiance.
Today, most consumers are depending on reviews for more than just restaurants. Every type of business from IT companies to architecture firms is leveraging online reviews to gain new customers.
Most transactions completed today are based on one thing that companies simply can’t buy, force, or demand: trust. It’s something that has to be earned, and one of the best ways to do so is through reviews and testimonials.
Here’s why you should consider prioritizing your company’s online reviews.
They Build Social Proof and Trust
Let’s start by defining social proof. Buffer defines it as a “psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
In short, when we’re unsure what to do, we depend on the opinions of others – whether it’s experts or “commoners” – to help us make the decision. And today, online reviews are the most prevalent form of social proof.
Nielsen research concluded that 92% of people trust their peer’s opinion, and 70% trust reviews from complete strangers. That is a lot of potential new business!
Giving your cold leads unbiased testimonials can lead to significant conversions, since they are more likely to convert with a brand that they trust. Displaying real feedback, whether it’s on Google or on your website, shows that you have nothing to hide –elevating trust more.
They Create Brand Loyalty
If you give current customers the chance to voice their honest opinions, you’re building brand loyalty. Your customers will feel valued and important, which means they may make more purchases down the road.
They Provide Opportunity for Improvement
When you open the door to asking for reviews, remember that you’re likely to get some negative ones, too. However, this type of feedback can be just as valuable for your marketing efforts as positive ones.
Letting clients share their experience – both good and bad – can shed light on your company’s strengths and weaknesses. The people who know your product and service best are the ones who use them, so taking their feedback seriously can lead to significant, positive change for future customers.
Also, how you publicly respond to the negative feedback gives you an opportunity to display professionalism. It’s important to stay on top of them since 94% of online shoppers claim that a negative review has persuaded them to avoid a business.
Ignoring a not-so-nice review shows that you only prioritize the positive ones, which can rub potential customers the wrong way. When it’s time to respond, do so promptly and professionally, addressing each issue they’ve discussed.
They Drive More Purchases
Right before you purchase a product online, seeing a visual of how many “stars” it has lets you know if this is a good decision or not. Making it easy for customers to quickly see how a product is reviewed can lead to a significant increase in purchases.
In fact, one sock company was able to drive 60% higher order value (as compared to their other sales channels) due to their website auto-populating the 3,000 five-star reviews right on the product page.
That being said, if you have an eCommerce store, or somewhere on your website where customers can make purchases, it’s a good idea to prominently display each item’s reviews when applicable. If you don’t have a website plugin to automatically populate these, then providing relevant testimonials on the correlating pages can have the same impact.
They Improve Visibility on Search Engines
Whether a customer finds you via Google, Instagram, Bing, or Facebook, each system has their own algorithm for displaying content. One way to “feed the machine” is by having recent, frequent reviews. Each of these platforms recognizes your page’s presence and in turn, serves up your content (or website) to consumers.
As your company starts gaining reviews, traffic to your website will also begin to increase. One company studied 30,000 businesses and determined that over the course of nine months, page views went from 5,500 to nearly 8,000 thanks to the use of reviews. Who wouldn’t want that kind of traffic to their website?
If you haven’t started prioritizing online reviews, it’s never too late to start. Trust is a significant factor in customers’ decisions, so take time to ask for reviews, monitor and respond to them, and display them in an easy-to-find way.
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