The word is out. Consumers are relying more and more on online reviews as we continue to navigate uncertain times. People are partly managing the constraints of the pandemic through online shopping. And reading about others’ experience of a certain brand, product or service provides them with a basis for their buying decision. Such changes make online customer reviews a goldmine for companies seeking innovative ways to grow in 2021.
According to Statista, online reviews are the second-best source of product information for online shoppers in the United States, next to search engines. That ties into the primary reason people leave online reviews: they want others to know about their customer experience. As such, this type of feedback influences purchasing decisions for 93 percent of consumers.
Figures show us that social proof has been embedded in the path to purchase, even the after-sales. This phenomenon speaks to the absolute significance of online reputation management (ORM) to businesses today. And the exciting thing is that its benefits impact areas like search engine optimization (SEO), branding and customer service.
This year, we suggest you make it a point to learn how to get online reviews to work for your company’s growth goals.
Let’s break down the reasons you should approach this with an increased sense of urgency.
1. Online Reviews Are Everywhere
From websites to consumer review platforms and online marketplaces, ratings and feedback are a regular part of the cyber-shopping experience. They’re particularly popular among local consumers between 18 to 34 years old, 91 percent of whom trust online reviews as they do personal recommendations.
But potential customers are not only seeking out familiar online reputation management channels like Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo! or Amazon. They’re also watching out for verified reviews showing up on social media pages, advertisements and even brick-and-mortar stores.
Such is the reach and power of online reviews. And internet reputation management experts stress the importance of leveraging them as a marketing and public relations (PR) asset.
2. Online Reviews Boost Local SEO and Ranking
You’ll often hear reputation management companies and experts highlight local SEO in 2021. This direction is due to more consumers conducting location-based searches for their product and service needs. And one of the first things they check out is – you guessed it – the reviews. About 87 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, up from 81 percent in 2019.
Since Google prioritizes user experience (UX), it has also included online customer reviews as a local search ranking signal. Its search result features, like the Google 3-Pack, display customer scores and feedback and the company name, address and phone number (NAP).
That said, it’s time to pay serious attention to your online review monitoring and acquisition. Your competitors might also be strategizing how to get more reviews on Google or how to get more reviews on Yelp. For you, this means the playing field has become or is about to become extremely challenging if you don’t make it a priority to learn how to acquire or manage online reviews.
3. They Crank Up Lead Generation and Conversion
Having at least five reviews is better than no reviews for products. A Spiegel Research Center study on online reviews found that displaying reviews enhances conversion by up to 270 percent. Online customer reviews give people the assurance that they’re getting a good product at the least, even if they can’t see it in person. The advantages grow for purchases that are more expensive and “riskier” (e.g., they can have a considerable effect on health and safety).
This figure suggests that you can drive high-quality leads and compel them to convert if you manage online reviews well.
4. They Contribute to Customer Service
Online reputation management services are focused on optimizing user experience. When companies leverage customer and business reviews, they’re providing end-users with the means to leave and check feedback. You are sending the message that you care about what the consumers think and feel during, before and after a sale and before occurs.
And here’s when it becomes more impressive. Responding to reviews is how to get online reviews going and win customers. Out of those who consult reviews before purchasing, 97 percent read review responses from businesses, according to a BrightLocal survey. Another survey from ReviewTrackers noted that 45 percent of customers were more likely to visit a business that replied to negative reviews. Overall, responding to reviews is a way to enhance customer satisfaction.
5. They Help Build Brand Equity
Small to medium-sized businesses can benefit a lot from online review management services. Online reviews legitimize your brand in front of new consumers. As long as feedback comes from actual customers or clients, it can help build your credibility.
The same Spiegel Research Center study from earlier said that consumers consider reviews from verified buyers credible. Being perceived as trustworthy also has a positive impact on sales. With the right reputation management company and online review monitoring strategy, you can increase the perceived value of your brand in the eyes of consumers.
6. You Can Manage Online Reviews to Establish Trust and Community
A trusted internet reputation management agency or professional would tell you that the current dynamics of online reviews empower consumers to communicate with brands directly. For sure, people go out of their way to post feedback because they’re happy or upset. But some of them expect immediate and personalized responses from businesses.
Read this: More than half of consumers would like to see replies to their negative reviews within a week. But of these consumers, 63.3 percent admitted that they never heard back from businesses. If you genuinely want to cultivate trust and nurture a community around your brand, start by maintaining an open line of communication through online review responses.
7. Customer Reviews Contain Valuable Ideas for Improvement
When we talk about online reviews from the business side, some may still be used to thinking about appeasing irate customers. While that is part and parcel of online review monitoring, remember that it’s about open communication and trust-building (as pointed out above).
Another crucial point to acknowledge is that online reviews contain direct, valuable feedback on your product, service, initiative or brand. A good reputation management company or team would gather the comments and glean actionable insights from them.
8. Even Negative Reviews Are Useful
Did you know even less-than-stellar reviews can be used to your advantage? If you haven’t used online review management services before, you might be surprised about this tactic on how to get more reviews on Google or how to get more reviews on Yelp. But we already mentioned that responding could help turn things around for your business, and this is true for both positive and negative reviews.
However, here’s another thing to consider. Going back to the Spiegel research, the literature said that negative reviews establish credibility, citing a PowerReviews study. Some 82 percent of shoppers were found to seek out negative reviews. Too many positive reviews raise a red flag in this era where fake reviews abound. And reputation management companies may add that reading them is akin to knowing the cons, allowing consumers to get a balanced view before deciding on a purchase.
9. Reviews Belong to Sustainable Digital Marketing
We talked about reputation management services as a critical element in modern marketing. Online reputation is an asset, and much of it is shaped by your customer reviews. It is vital to note that ORM has evolved alongside other digital marketing channels. Nowadays, you can use online review management software to manage online reviews. This option is offered by a reputation management agency or platform. You’re allowed to proudly display ratings and reviews on your site to gain trust and credibility and generate conversion. That said, you need a strategy if you want to master how to get more reviews on Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, etc.
10. Your Overall Reputation Matters
By partnering with award-winning reputation management companies, you have the chance to work with marketers specializing in online review management services. You have access to tools like review widgets and online review management software. Why make such a fuss? Why should businesses need to grasp how to get online reviews?
Because most consumers now conduct transactions online. As we learned, they want to share what they know or have discovered while dealing with your business. As a decade-and-a-half-old reputation management agency, we believe the digital age has tipped the balance in their favor. Consumers can give credit to great products and services. But they can also complain about disappointing buying experiences. Their reviews shape your reputation.
Are You Ready for Internet Reputation Management?
We hope that the 10 reasons for leveraging online reviews have enlightened you about the critical role in online reputation management. If you say yes or “I want to know more,” we anticipate that you have more specific questions, such as how to get more reviews on Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
For now, we have provided you with the proper foundation. But ORM and online review monitoring have many moving parts that require dedicated attention, time and other resources. Their activities can spread you thin or, worse, ruin what has been built because of novice errors.
When you consider the costly mistakes, it may be more practical and smarter to hire a reputation management company. That way, you can focus on improving your products or services, initiatives and operations.
Look no further. Rize Reviews is a provider of reputation management services to companies from different niches and industries. We’re proud to share that online marketing agencies rely on our white label reputation management services. Also, everyone benefits from the multiple solutions running on our online review management software, including review generation, review management and review response.
See for yourself how we handle online reviews and turn them into a tool for growth. Get your personalized quote when you call us at 866-325-0303 or send us a message.