Whenever someone searches your business, chances are that one of the first things that they see are online reviews. These days, reviews are one of the most valuable tools that you have for both attracting new customers and ranking higher in search results.
Let’s talk about why these reviews matter and how you can start growing your business with the power of online reviews.
Why Reviews Matter
Your customers trust reviews. Whether it’s finding a new restaurant, choosing a new dentist, or choosing a lawyer, customers want to see the opinions of other customers. After all, reviews are supposed to represent the authentic experiences of other customers.
These days, more and more customers are looking at sites like Google and Facebook to see what customers are saying about local businesses. Studies show that 92% of customers consult reviews before making a purchase decision. What that means is something very simple: businesses with the best reviews have the best chance of attracting these customers. After all, nobody wants to go to a dental practice that only has 2 stars on Google.
Reviews can also help your business rank higher in search results. After all, Google values reviews for the same reasons that your customers do. Google ranks businesses based on the factors of relevance, distance, and prominence. While there’s not much you can do about those first two factors, you can help your business’s prominence quite a bit with customer reviews.
So here are five ways that you can start attracting more customers and increasing your business’s online visibility with the power of reviews.
Collect Authentic Reviews
The very first thing that businesses need to start doing is collecting authentic reviews from customers. Remember, customers are usually only motivated to leave reviews on their own if they believe that they’ve had a strong negative experience. By asking all of your customers for reviews, you can start getting more well-balanced feedback from your entire customer base.
The emphasis here is on authentic reviews. Don’t resort to shady tactics like paying customers for reviews. Your customers trust reviews because they’re a reflection of genuine customer experiences. If they suspect that you’re paying for your customer reviews, your business will lose all of its credibility.
So here’s a secret to how you can start getting more reviews today: start asking for reviews via a text or email request. While most of your happy customers understand that leaving a review can help your business, chances are that they’re not going to take the time to find your business’s profile on review sites. By sending a link via email or text that leads directly to your Google My Business and Facebook profiles, you’re making the process easy for your customers.
Another factor to keep in mind is timeliness. The best time to send review requests is on the same day as the sale. If you wait too long, chances are the customer won’t even clearly remember the transaction. The chances that they’ll leave a review in these cases are very low.
Respond to Customer Reviews
While it’s easy to neglect to respond to customer reviews, it matters. A study by Harvard Business School shows that businesses that respond to reviews have a higher overall star rating than businesses that don’t. By responding to customer reviews, you can both engage with your happy customers and talk to your unhappy customers in order to turn them into happy ones.
For positive reviews, be sure to thank the customer and encourage them to come back for more. Keep your response short and simple.
For negative reviews, remember to take a deep breath before responding. While a bad review can feel disappointing when you work so hard to make sure that every one of your customers is happy, they can provide great feedback that can help you improve your business operations. Take the conversation offline so that you can discuss the issue in detail.
Responding to these bad reviews can help turn your unhappy customers into loyal brand advocates, a phenomenon known as service recovery paradox. It works like this: A customer who’s angry about an initial bad experience can turn into an enthusiastic promoter when the business makes a service recovery. In fact, they often turn out to be more enthusiastic promoters of your business than someone who never had a bad experience in the first place. So start responding and engaging with your customers and start creating more loyal advocates.
Once you’ve resolved the issue that the customer experienced, politely ask the customer if they can edit or take down their original review. Here’s a template that you can use:
We hope that we’ve solved the problem you experienced. We’d like to thank you again for the feedback that you provided. It has helped us to improve our operations and be a better business.
We’d like to ask you to take another look at your original review. We understand that it was based on your initial impression of your business. We hope that your impression has changed for the better. If it has, please take a moment to edit your review.
Share Your Reviews on Social
Your reviews don’t just have to stay on review sites. Remember, your customers trust reviews. By sharing your reviews on your social media, you can use your reviews as social proof. Be sure to share your reviews on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. It’s an easy way to market your business with the voice of your customers.
After all, a glowing 5-star review can sell your business better than you can. A great testimonial can help your customers understand what value they can gain from going to your business. After all, anyone can share a post where they talk about how they’re the best business in town. By using the voices of your customers, you’re proving that your business stands ahead of the competition.
Display Reviews on Your Website
Social media isn’t the only place where you can display your reviews. With a review widget, you can display customer reviews on your Internet. Website visitors will immediately see social proof that shows the quality of your business.
Once again, this is exactly the kind of thing that really speaks to your customers. While any business can claim to be “the best in the area”, a live review feed can show what customers care about the most: the opinion of other customers.
Studies show that displaying reviews can have big results on your business’s bottom line. A study by Spiegel Research Center found that displaying reviews increases conversion by a stunning 270%.
Use Google Ad Seller Ratings
Reviews don’t just help you with your organic search campaigns. They can also help you with paid search ads. With Google Ad Seller Ratings, you can display your business’s overall star rating in your ad. Right away, your potential customers can see proof that your customers love your business.
It’s proven that displaying reviews leads to more clicks and more customers. According to Google, ads that use seller ratings get a 17% higher clickthrough rate. That means that Google Seller Ratings can help you both get more clicks and increase the amount of money that you spend for each click. Remember, Google does aim to show customers relevant ads, so a higher clickthrough rate means you don’t need to spend as much money to get the same amount of visibility.
Of course, there are certain requirements that your business has to meet in order to start displaying these Google Ad Seller ratings. You need to have received 100 reviews in the past 12 months in the country where you’re running paid ads. You must have at least a 3.5 overall star rating.
Use a Review Software
Sometimes, it can be tough to take care of all these different areas on your own. Sending review requests to your customers every day is hard enough already. That’s before we consider things like sharing and responding to reviews.
So consider a review software to help you get authentic reviews from your customers and leverage them for your growth. After all, reviews matter more than ever before. A good software can help you automate the processes, so you can make sure that reviews are taken care of while you take care of the hard work of running your business.
Reviews matter for both customers and search engines. So make sure that your business is taking advantage of the benefits they provide. While you can take care of these processes manually, a review software can help you be found and be chosen by potential customers like never before.
Dhiraj Nallapaneni is a Product Marketing Writer at BirdEye. He writes content and produces webinars related to collecting and leveraging customer feedback. If you want to find out more about review management, check out the BirdEye guide.