In the digital age, online reviews are the best way to get a gauge on how your customers perceive your business’s service, products and reputation. But there are so many more benefits that this kind of feedback can deliver for your enterprise – and help you grow your brand and customer base.
With a strong list of feedback on hand, full of positive experiences from happy customers, you can exponentially increase your intake of new prospects. So, here are the primary reasons why snatching up these ‘good vibes’ are vital for your business and why they aren’t something you can ignore when it comes to your digital marketing strategy.
They generate trust
Engendering trust is a huge focal point for business, as trust equals sales conversions and long-term relationships with customers.
A big part of trust is transparency, and reviews are a perfect way for you to offer this transparency to your target audience.
Beyond this, recent research has shown that 88 percent of consumers are likely to seek out reviews of businesses, in order to determine the quality of the product or service they’re interested in. A further 72 percent say that positive reviews will make them trust that business more.
By handing the keys to your customers, you can instantly garner faith and trust from an audience that’s truly powerful to your brand.
Don’t be afraid of bad feedback
One of the main reasons why businesses shy away from encouraging online reviews is because they are afraid of bad feedback.
Remember the old saying “Any publicity is good publicity”? That definitely applies here.
In fact, research has shown that bad reviews can actually increase sales conversions by 67 percent.
There is a catch, though. This only applies in scenarios where the business has actively replied to the negative review and looked to rectify the situation by providing an outcome where all parties are happy.
CAPTION: An example of how to turn a negative review into an appropriately handled situation.
As long as you are willing to monitor the reviews and engage when the bad ones arrive (and let’s face it, you can’t please all of the people all of the time), then you are likely to see improved conversions and revenue as a result.
Further to this, negative reviews provide instant customer surveys for you to use as a foundation for improving your business model. However, they should be treated very seriously, as they can point out weaknesses in your business that you may not have even considered.
For example, when a review says something like “Service was slow”, don’t treat this as a personal attack. It is likely that a review of your operations could show that customers are waiting more for your service than they are at a competitor.
They link directly to your search engine optimisation
Getting your SEO right is remarkably important for the online visibility of your business. Nail it down and you will be on the first page of Google searches; fail to get it right and you will get lost in the white noise of the internet (or penalised if you haven’t chosen the right method).
Google reviews are not only a valuable tool for bettering your business model, but also to boost your SEO capabilities. In fact, almost 10 per cent of Google’s search engine algorithms is driven by these bits of feedback.
The search giant likes to see review quantity (lots of reviews), velocity (a short gap in between each received) and review (not the same thing, over and over) Combine all of this together, and you’ll be on a far more positive track for success than if you were to ignore them altogether..
CAPTION: An example of Havealook’s reviews on Google.
Beyond this, encouraging your consumers to offer their two cents will open the door for greater rankings results, and an improvided prominence to potential customers.
Review stars can improve your click-through rates
You may have seen those little stars underneath your URL in Google searches (at the top of results pages). These are determined by averaging out your reviews and delivering a star rating out of five.
These stars are of massive importance because they can improve the click-through rate of consumers by as much as 35 percent. Obviously, the higher your star rating is, the more likely someone is to click through to your website to browse your goods and services.
So, if you have a few negative reviews, proactively get your happy customers to post their own thoughts (hopefully positive) to improve your average. Also, important to remember is that if you have only a handful of reviews, a negative one can drag your star rating down drastically – so the more the merrier.
Deliver more people to your doorstep
If your business has a brick and mortar premises, there’s good news. Google reviews have been proven to inspire people to come directly to your business, more often than not.
Recent research noted that these bits of feedback deliver a 140 per cent increase in prospects asking for Google Maps driving instructions to businesses that have these included. And that kind of convenience pays off by the bucketload.
Experience an improved return on investment
If you still question the importance of reviews like these, or proactively seeking them out, consider this: they can deliver a significant return on investment.
In this case, the investment is your time. If you take the minutes to proactively get your customers to review your services, this will build your online profile, provide trust and deliver more click-throughs – hopefully translating into sales.
On top of this, you get a return on relationship. You deliver a quality product or service; your customer provides a meaningful thank-you that builds your brand. Thus, the trust cycle strengthens.
How to improve your Google reviews
Are you looking at your feedback and seeing only a handful of entries – or worse, none at all?
Here are some strategies to get the good word flowing:
- Add review options to your website, emails and social media: The easiest way to ask people to leave one is to leave a digital option at multiple touch points. Conclude emails with a link and ensure your call to actions are clearly available on your website.
It sounds so simple, but asking your customers is typically something businesses forget to do. More often than not, once the product or service transaction is complete, they are likely to not have any further interactions until the next time they need to complete a transaction. Simply asking someone to kindly leave a review, especially when you know it has been a pleasant transaction, always pays off.
- Don’t be fake. These days there is a temptation to buy reviews or to get a swathe of your mates to do the job for you. Tread carefully, Google’s algorithms are powerful and they know how to spot a fake. This can lead to dangerous SEO restrictions that will be very detrimental to your business.
- A simple way to garner feedback is to include QR codes linked to your site on your physical promotional material. A simple scan, a quick review and off you go!
Leave (positive) feedback or your business partners and associates. Running a business takes a village, with suppliers, PR consultants, cleaners and a range of other industries working in tandem with you. Review their own brand and give them top marks, and they are more than likely to return the favour.
CAPTION: A nifty idea from Search Engine Guide.
Provide a service that warrants positive reviews. We all want the good word to come in and luckily, loyal customers are likely to give it to us. But we can’t expect first-time consumers to just slap a five-star review on our business unless it is warranted. Ensure you are delivering five-star service at all times and you will reap the rewards.
Address negative feedback. As previously mentioned, negative thoughts are not a call for alarm, but they do require immediate attention. Make your reply publicly, do it quickly and do it appropriately. Apologise if required, address the issue and offer proactive solutions. This is always a fantastic look for your business and viewers will respond accordingly.
Do you need more help with strategies to improve your Google reviews and overall SEO content? Contact the Havealook team now to learn how we can help you leverage your online presence. Call us now on 1300 367 009.