Online reviews are quickly becoming an influential factor in the success of many businesses. Reviews lead consumers to make assumptions and develop impressions about a company before ever visiting a website or having any other contact. The content of reviews has become a reflection of a company’s brand. In order to keep a positive brand image, certain scenarios should be avoided when it comes to online reviews.
- No reviews
According to Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, and view them as an indication of the credibility of a business. A lack of online reviews will likely steer customers away from your business, resulting in them spending their time and money elsewhere. It is important that your business become proactive and request reviews in order to gain a reputable online status and earn the trust of consumers. A lack of reviews can also negatively impact you business’s search engine optimization (SEO). Major search engines now have ratings included in product listing ads and rank their search results partially on your business’s overall rating. Listings with more reviews may appear higher than those with fewer reviews regardless of the overall rating, making review generation significant to your SEO.
- Old Reviews
While the initial generation of online reviews is important, businesses need to continuously monitor and generate reviews regularly. A lot of things can change over time, making current online reviews important to the success of your online reputation. From your staff and culture to the technology that consumers use, change is inevitable, and your review responses should evolve to meet the needs of your consumers. Stale or old reviews are considered irrelevant to many consumers. A steady flow of current reviews will reassure consumers that you are responsive to feedback, supporting the concept that review generation should be a continuous part of your marketing plan.
- Negative Reviews
Many business owners feel there is a stigma around negative reviews when it comes to their business’s reputation. There is a way to mitigate the effects of negative reviews on your business’s online reputation. First and foremost, responding to negative reviews is crucial. You want to regain the trust of the customer, so thought and sincerity need to be reflected in your response. Oftentimes, a sincere response can win back a customer and prevent them from turning elsewhere if you take the time to make things right. However if too much time passes, it may be too late to win them back. Appreciating the customer’s feedback, suggesting a remedy to the situation or offering to discuss the matter further offline can help to get a sincere and apologetic message across. Providing this message timely will show customers that you care about them and their experiences, as a result connecting with them emotionally.
- Unmanaged Reviews
Regardless of how many reviews you have, it is important that all reviews (not only the negative) are responded to in a timely manner. Consumers look more positively to companies that are equally responsive to positive reviews as they are with negative reviews. For example, imagine receiving a compliment or a thank-you from someone and ignoring them by not responding. Seems rude, right? Online reviews should be treated with the same respect as an in-person interaction. Not only will this boost your online reputation, but your SEO will also benefit. Popular search engines factor in review responses when determining ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). Therefore, the more responses you have, the higher you can rank in search results.
Ultimately, review management can be an extremely cost-efficient tool for gaining new business. With the help of search engines, review sites and social media, you can connect with current customers and earn the trust of prospective customers by acknowledging online opinions. Strategic Marketing’s review generation software makes it easy to take control of and manage your online reputation. Contact Strategic Marketing today to learn more about the importance of review and reputation management, and its impact on your business’s marketing plans.