If you think online reviews happen “in the cloud” and “stay in the cloud” then this article may be just what you need to get your head out of the clouds. Now more than ever, reviews of your business influence how likely your potential customers are to visit your website, or your store, for the products and services which you provide. Creating a reviews strategy that directs how your business will manage the reviews it receives and doesn’t receive, could likely be a key ingredient to your business’s success.
Human nature drives most of us to seek validation for our decisions in some form or another. “Belonging” is on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a key component of human motivation. The digital world has made it extremely easy and convenient for us to receive affirmation about our daily actions and behaviors (think about the “like” on Facebook and “heart” on Instagram). As a business owner, it’s imperative to tap into this natural human tendency.
Most people refer to online reviews before they make a decision to do business with a merchant, restaurateur, or a service provider. According to Neil Patel, a leading online marketer and New York Times best-selling author, an astonishing 97% of customers read online reviews before they buy and almost half of those folks will only choose a business with 4-stars or better.
The more quality reviews a business receives, the better the return generated. Each star associated with a review equates to a 5 ‒ 9 percent increase in income, according to a Harvard Business School working paper. Keeping in line with similar findings, for those savvy businesses that have received multiple 4 ‒ 5 gold star ratings customers are inclined to spend as much as 31% more at their business. With this kind of potential effect on sales, a business owner really can’t afford to avoid having a review plan for their business.
When your business generates quality online reviews its credibility also increases. This happens even if there are a few negative reviews given. When a negative review is received, which it will, the key is to not overreact and to address it in the right way. This again is a considerable component of a well-designed review strategy.
Another key factor that a review strategy helps your business with is SEO (search engine optimization). The more digital real estate your business has the more return it will receive in terms of SEO, which means your business will rank higher on searches and leads for your business will be generated. According to Ramona Sukhraj of Impact, websites that are listed at the top of Google’s search results page will receive 36.4% of the visitors missed by businesses indexed at or near the bottom of the page.
When your reviews plan is strategically designed and well-executed, then in the very least you will be connecting with your customers to keep the lines of communication open, and in the very best scenario, you will influence the purchasing decision and make a sale. The review dialogue with your customers provides valuable information to help you with opportunities to improve and best practices to create for your business. With an open mind and willingness to develop a reviews plan, you will move your business forward in its quest to remain healthy and increase revenue.