When buying anything online, it is impossible to physically examine the product and assess its quality like you can in person. In order to tackle this problem, testimonials have become the de facto solution. Customers turn to those who have already bought and used a product to validate their purchase.
The Importance of Online Reviews
Potential customers hold a great deal of value in the reviews of other people, so it is essential to take every opportunity to generate and publish positive reviews of your company or product. When executed properly, reviews can bring a lot of value and benefit to your business. The reverse also holds true- negative reviews can quickly impact a company’s reputation.
Online Review Statistics 2018
What percentage of customers leave reviews?
This figure varies depending on the nature of the industry, and whether their experience was positive or negative. For example, a 2018 ReviewTrackers study found that only 19% of customers who had a positive experience at the bank will leave a positive review, whereas 43% of restaurant guests would leave a positive review after a good experience. Roughly 34% of consumers will leave a negative review after a poor experience.
This data also implies that users are more likely to leave positive reviews in food service and entertainment industries, and leave more negative reviews for businesses in the financial industry.
How many people trust a business more after reading reviews?
Reviews are more influential than you may realize. In the same ReviewTrackers study, 80% of consumers said they didn’t trust businesses with lower than a 4-star rating. In another study covered by Inc, 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 68% form an opinion after reading one to six reviews. With just a handful of positive reviews, you’re more likely to sell a product and encourage others to buy it, than if you didn’t have any reviews at all.
Online Review Sites
What are the best review sites?
Google My Business – Google remains the top of any business review site, with a #1 rank in Alexa and 158 million monthly users in the US alone. If you have a business, make sure it’s listed on Google!
Facebook – More than a social platform, Facebook is a review platform as well. In fact, customers on Facebook are more likely to believe other users with Facebook profiles and photos, as they make the reviewer seem more human and relatable.
Amazon – If you’re selling a product, it doesn’t hurt to sell through Amazon too, as they capture more than 37.60% of all the total U.S. Internet traffic. They have approximately 85.4 million monthly users in the U.S.
Yelp – When most people search for interesting places to go or restaurants to try, they start with Yelp. Make sure your business is listed on Yelp, as they are able to capture more than 90% of the total U.S. traffic.
Honorable Mentions: Trip Advisor, Yellowpages, Better Business Bureau, Foursquare
Which sites work best for my business?
Each review site is different, so your business may want to list on some and avoid others. But in general, make sure you’re at least found on the main review platforms: Google, Facebook, and Yelp. If you’re an e-commerce brand, you may want to get on Amazon or Better Business Bureau as well. If you have a business suited for tourists, Trip Advisor may be the ideal platform. Consider which platforms you need to look up reviews yourself.
How online reviews can help your online business
Encourage the use of social media
Social media has huge potential to benefit any business. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so get permission from the client to publish a before and after shot of your work on Instagram or Facebook. If you are confident that they are happy with your work, ask the client to comment on your post. The use of pictures enables potential customers to physically see the transformation, and gain a better understanding of how the product looks in the real world.
Offer free samples for a review
Depending on your product type, another avenue worth pursuing is to find leading social media commentators in your industry, contact them, and offer them some free samples. This is essentially a twist on using celebrities to endorse your product. If your product is exceptional, and you can engage with the owner of that account, and offer them a free trial in exchange for an honest review. If they like the product, when they write and distribute their positive review, they will be endorsing your product to their mass following. You are essentially leveraging their credibility and reputation to validate your product to a very targeted demographic within your industry. This strategy can be a game changer and has been shown to be eleven times more powerful than banner ads. However, it can be difficult to get the attention of such a powerful influencer unless you are a huge brand. Take your time and slowly build a relationship with the owner of the account, rather than just aggressively approaching them with your product.
Monitor and respond to your online reviews
One of the downsides of reviews is that you are not guaranteed to always get positive ones. However, even negative reviews can be used to your advantage. Although they can be painful to confront, negative reviews allow you to identify areas that need improvement, particularly if the complaints are focused on the same issue. If that is the case, then there is a significant problem and one that needs to be rectified immediately. In essence, the reviews are providing you with valuable feedback and market research.
The other benefit of online reviews is that it provides you with an opportunity to respond to your customers. Many tech-savvy customers have begun to realize that they can get problems resolved if they take to social media to complain. If there is a genuine mistake or error on your part, take the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the matter. Most customers don’t have any issues with companies making genuine mistakes or errors. In fact, if they deal with the problem and resolve it, it will increase their trust in that company. This is the ultimate opportunity to transform a negative into a positive.
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