Online branding is becoming an increasingly popular aspect of business marketing. Generating online reviews from satisfied customers will help drive new customers to your business. Here are some things that you should know about online reviews.
Importance of Online Reviews
Consumers have always asked each other for recommendations before choosing a business. The Internet makes it much easier for them to share feedback with each other. Online reviews are the easiest way for them to see how satisfied other customers were. Here is some information about online reviews that you should be aware of:
- More than 85% of customers report using online reviews to research local businesses, according to a 2013 study from BrightLocal.
- 79% of customers claim that they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth
This new study clearly shows that online reviews are an important branding component. The studies found that more customers have been using reviews to gauge the quality of service that businesses provide over the last couple of years. You will want to start encouraging customers to leave positive feedback.
What Do Customers Look for When Reading Reviews?
There are a number of factors that customers take into consideration when reading online reviews. Here are some facts that you should be aware of:
More Isn’t Necessarily Better
Many businesses try to get as many reviews as possible to build their online reputation. However, having more reviews may not help nearly as much as you would think. The BrightLocal study found that about two-thirds of people don’t read more than 6 reviews. It is a lot better to make sure that you receive quality, genuine reviews.
Negative Reviews Need to Be Addressed
Online reviews can be a double-edged sword. Positive reviews can significantly increase the likelihood that customers will check out your business. Unfortunately, negative reviews can also influence potential buyers’ decisions. One study found that about 80% of buyers chose not to purchase from a company that had negative online reviews.
Even the best business may have some dissatisfied customers or slanderous posts written about them. Fortunately, you can mitigate the problems caused by addressing negative reviews in a public forum.
Make Sure that Reviews Are Clearly Genuine
An author of Time Magazine wrote an article that stated people shouldn’t rely on online reviews. His post was a bit cynical and off-base, but he did address one of the problems that you need to be aware of. One of the reasons some people are reluctant to trust online reviews is that many of them are fake.
However, you can dispel their skepticism by making sure that the reviews are clearly real. Encourage real people in the community to leave feedback. Many sites that allow people to find and compare businesses encourage reviewers to use their real names and pictures. Others in the community may recognize them or be able to look them up on Facebook. Reviews from these users will be much more likely to be trusted by people. Their reviews will also sound more honest if they are written by real customers instead of the pre-written spam that many of your competitors may be using.