Are your happy customers helping to grow your business?

Thanks to today’s advanced technology, the proliferation of social media sites such as Facebook and review sites such as Yelp!, TripAdvisor and others, small businesses can harness and utilize a distinct marketing advantage: customer reviews.

While your business website and social media pages can do a fair job of explaining your business and its goals, philosophy, products, and services to your customer base, customer reviews are also of major importance to potential new customers, with 90 percent of people reading online reviews when deciding whether to purchase products from a business or retain its services.

The Importance of Customer Reviews

A survey designed to study the importance consumers place on customer reviews found that nearly 90 percent of people consider online reviews just as important as a recommendation from a friend. The reviews are used to determine the quality of a business or a specific product, aiding the consumer during their journey and ultimately helping them decide whether to buy a product or not.

Additionally, consumers often seek multiple reviews in order to get a more accurate picture. In this manner, a negative review or two may be overlooked if the majority of the reviews are positive. And more savvy consumers will seek out the freshest reviews–opinions and experiences detailed years ago are not as prevalent as those from the current year.

How Customer Reviews Help Your Small Business

As stated above, consumers place a great deal of importance on customer reviews. The more positive reviews a particular business or product has, the greater the chance of increased sales and a growing customer base.

And because so many consumers today actively seek out reviews of a business or product before making a decision, encouraging customer feedback can only help your business–assuming you take steps to ensure that most of your reviews are positive, rather than negative, of course.

And that’s where reputation management comes into play‚Ķ

How Your Business Can Utilize Customer Reviews for Stronger Digital Marketing

Have a few negative reviews? Don’t dismiss them and don’t react harshly. Consumers are watching and reading everything. If they see a few negative reviews consistently discussing the same issues with your company, that can definitely signal a problem. And if they see you responding in a harsh, condescending, insulting or generally negative manner, that also raises a red flag.

Responding to negative reviews in a positive manner is a chance to learn about and resolve any issues within your organization, as well as show current and potential future customers that you sincerely care about their concerns and are striving to rectify any problems.

Additionally, reviews on sites other than your own website will typically contain keywords, such as your company name or a product you sell. As Google and other major search engines find more reviews containing these keywords, it helps your business rank higher in search engine results.

To gather more reviews, simply ask customers to provide feedback. Many will be happy to oblige, especially if they have had a positive experience with your company (as well as a bad one, so once again, practice positive reputation management and always seek to correct any bad experiences).

Reputation Management Guidelines

Keeping track of and ensuring a positive reputation is a critical part of doing business today. A business must be vigilant in seeking out, reading and understanding all reviews, both positive and negative, and taking the necessary steps to address consumer concerns, as well as thank those who leave positive reviews for their patronage.

Reputation management is as much an online marketing strategy as it is a way to help your business do better.

To discover more about your online reputation, shoot us your email for a free audit.

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