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In today’s internet savvy age, businesses are working harder than ever to avoid those dreaded negative online reviews. Nobody wants to see a customer complaint plastered on the web for all to see. What if while you were avoiding the negatives, you also made a concerted effort to actually seek out the positives? Customer reviews (even the bad ones) can be a very powerful marketing tool for your business. In fact, they can be one of the driving forces behind increasing your sales.

If you’re not yet prompting your satisfied customers to share the love and review your products or services online, here are 5.5 reasons why you should start.

The numbers don’t lie. Think online reviews don’t really get that much attention? Think again. In fact, recent extensive research conducted by BrightLocal revealed that 82% of consumers take the time to read through online reviews prior to choosing a company to do business with. Positive online reviews make them trust a business more. We’re no math wizards, but we’re pretty sure this means that if your business doesn’t have a lot of positive reviews, and your competitor does, you’re getting the short end of the stick.

Source: https://www.brightlocal.com/resources/online-reviews-statistics-2020/

Free is for me! You’ve already got a team of cheerleaders – your staff – who love your brand and are happy to spread the word to others. The problem is, you have to pay them. Your satisfied customers, on the other hand, do not collect a salary from you. If you can tap into this valuable resource and get your clients to offer positive reviews online, you’ve just beefed up your army of supporters without putting a dent in your wallet.

Word of mouth is king. Don’t believe us? According to a Nielsen’s survey about consumer trust in advertising, word of mouth ranked at the top with 92% of participants listing recommendations from friends or family as their most trusted resource for making a purchasing decision. Even if a prospect doesn’t know the person writing the review, the fact that another customer is endorsing your product or service and it’s not a biased advertisement or marketing ploy is often enough to tip the scales.

Source: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows/

Search engines love them. Online reviews mean your business is being mentioned in a lot of places around the web, which is something that can help with your search engine ranking. The bigger the buzz about your brand, the better it is for your SEO, so keep those reviews coming.

Consumers appreciate them. By encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences and recommendations online, you’re inadvertently pleasing your prospects at the same time. Given the numbers above, we know that people rely on reviews to help them make buying decisions. So, it only stands to reason that the more online reviews consumers can find about your business, the better an online shopping experience they’ll have and the more likely they’ll be to choose you over your competition.

Nobody’s perfect. The last ½ reason to ask for customer reviews takes into account those few comments that might not necessarily paint your business in the best possible light. You know, those backhanded compliments that start out with a positive but then end with a list of not-so-positives. Or even those downright negative ones. Try not to take it personal. Instead, look for ways you can use negative reviews to make your business better and move on. Nobody’s perfect.

Another point to remember is that the way you respond to not-so-nice reviews can influence the response from future prospects and put a positive spin on an otherwise negative situation. By addressing the complaint or negative feedback in a positive, apologetic and professional way, providing real solutions, you’ll show the reviewer and all others who read the review in the future that you’re listening and you care. It’ll also demonstrate that you’ve taken steps to correct any problems so that they won’t occur again, boosting the confidence of your future prospects.

You work hard to make your customers happy, right? Why not tap into their positive experiences and get a little ROI for all your hard work by asking them to share their experiences through online reviews? We promise you – it’ll be well worth it in the long run.

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