Online reviews have a significant impact on the way consumers react to your business and the likelihood that they will choose your company for their needs. 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews and 84% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Online reviews have become an invaluable asset for small businesses. Reviews let other consumers know why they should or shouldn’t pick your company. The good news is that you can take advantage of online reviews and make even negative reviews positively affect your business. Let’s take a closer look at how reviews impact a company and why you should be actively seeking online reviews.

Online Reviews Build Credibility

Consumers spend more time researching products and services before they make any decisions today than they ever did before. With 90% of adults owning a smartphone, all the information they want is in the palm of their hand. The more positive reviews your company has, the more credibility you have in the marketplace. People looking at your business will see your company as trustworthy and reputable as a leader in your field.

Reliability, expertise, and professionalism are the three most important traits for a local business to have. These are the traits that you want people to associate with your company. Reviews help you establish these. If you are given a positive review, people are likely to use terms related to these traits to express their experience. Positive reviews build your credibility and critical for your business.

Reviews Build Your Online Presence

Having a presence online is an important aspect of owning a business. With consumers researching products and services online, you want your presence to be enough to stand out and grab their attention. The larger your online presence is, the easier it is for customers to talk about you. This will ultimately impact your SEO.

Reviewers influence where a business falls within search rankings. Search engines, such as Google, often compile reviews from many websites to determine where a business falls in the search results. The more reviews you have, the higher chance you have at being high on searches for those services or products.

Building your online presence takes a lot of time and commitment. Once you have a good number of reviews, the work isn’t finished. In order for reviews to keep benefiting you, they have to be consistent. 69% of consumers consider reviews irrelevant if they are over 3 months old. This means that in order for your reviews to be useful, they have to be new. Generating online reviews needs to be a process that you keep building on and improving. Search engines think the same way consumers do and you are less likely to rise in the search results if you have outdated reviews.

Online Reviews Let You Connect With Your Customers

Having tons of reviews online is great for your business in many other ways. Not only is it a great way for people to see your values, integrity, and experience, but it gives you a way to connect with consumers. To create a personal relationship with your reviewers adds to the impact the reviews present to your company. People are far more likely to go with a company that respects their consumers enough to respond to their comments and suggestions in online reviews. This gives you the chance to create long lasting business.

Responding to online reviews gives you the chance to stand out against your competitors. Connecting with your customers is a great way to not only keep them invested in your company, but it’s a way to generate interest from new consumers. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and care about what they have to say. The best way to do this is by making sure to use the reviewers name in your response. Using generic terms such as “customer” or “reviewer” will not create the affect you want with your response. People will feel more connected if they are directly acknowledged by the company.

Dealing with Negative Reviews

You can’t always stop negative reviews. Sometimes, people just aren’t satisfied or simply feel the need to comment negatively about your company. Negative reviews aren’t always a bad thing. Sure, you may feel discouraged from a negative review, but you can take the review as a way to improve. If a customer leaves a comment about an issue they encountered, offer them a solution to the problem. Not only does this give you a chance to redeem the issue, but you might also even have made the negative review turn into a positive one. Customers have the right to leave criticism. It’s a way for you to learn about things you might not have realized were wrong with your company or products. Commenting on negative reviews also gives you credibility to other people who read the reviews.

There are a few things to remember when dealing with negative reviews. The most important thing is to talk to the reviewer like a real person and not like a business. Express your concerns about the issue, thank them for informing you about it, and offer a solution. Make them feel that you care about their problem. Remember that sometimes, you couldn’t change their mind. Not every person reviewing online is doing so for good reasons. Sometimes, the best thing to do is respond and move on.

How to Get more Online Reviews

Now that you know all about why you should have online reviews, you might be wondering how to get them. There are many ways for you to actively acquire more reviews for your company. Some ways can be to send out personalized review requests after a customer buys a product or service, add a review page to your website, or run an email campaign. Reviews are an important part in increasing your business so don’t let an easy marketing tool slip away.

Getting more reviews is an ongoing process. Just because you have seen an improvement in your business doesn’t mean you can stop actively pursuing new reviews. Reviews eventually will be considered outdated by search engines and consumers. The trick is to keep up a steady stream of new reviews about your company online. Always encourage customers to talk about their experience with your company online and take the time to respond to all negative reviews. Promoting your company online is a multi-person job. You can talk all you want about your company, but customers are who will cement the best impression in the mind of consumers.

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