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Five Stars: The Importance of Online Reviews to Your Sales

Why Online Reviews Matter

 

How often do you find yourself choosing to watch the Netflix shows with the highest ratings, or browsing Amazon for 5-star product listings?

Online reviews are surely changing the way that we utilize services and shop for products while on the web. Decision making has become a community-based and public endeavour, and positive reviews have the power to boost your sales and increase your professional regard.

What are Online Reviews?

Online reviews are publicly developed and generated opinions of a product or service through an online platform. There are various websites dedicated to the production and encouragement of customer reviews. You’ve probably heard of Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google + Local.

These review platforms allow a business to build trust with their public and increase their sales through inbound traffic and a positive rapport. After all, an online review can be a potential customer’s first point of interest on trust-building in understanding your service or product.

Online reviews are critically important. Google monitors online reviews on a multitude of different review sites and even hosts one of their own. It is a factor in SEO results, especially for brick and mortar business locations.

How Online Reviews Reflect on Your Company

Companies stand to benefit greatly from online reviews – whether these are positive, or negative. Rave reviews are positive marketing in and of themselves. If a potential customer notices your company has a 5-star rating on Google or other search engines, they are more likely to feel more comfortable to consider buying from or working with you.

They are also predisposed to have a positive opinion, even before their personal experience with your team. People are results-driven and will take the route most likely to lead them to a positive outcome.

Negative reviews also have the potential to help your business develop and grow. You can learn a lot about what you could do better – whether it is in your marketing, the service you provide, or the product(s) you are selling. Negative reviews allow you to reflect on your business performance and make changes where necessary.

Or a negative review could be positive – “thought the brunch spot was kid-friendly, turns out we should have left the kids with the sitter.” isn’t saying anything was wrong with YOUR business, more like the impression the customer had and their experience did not match. And this type of review would be helpful to know for the brunch fans both with and without kids.

For more serious negative reviews, it’s not uncommon to have happy customers come to your defence if the review appears to be mean-spirited or based on bad information. If the poor review has legitimacy, you now have the chance to turn that experience around.

You have the opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your clients by handling a poor review with integrity and professionalism. There are ways to mitigate a poor review before it gets online, talk to us about the types of online review campaigns we run for clients and how we handle this situation.

Generating Positive Online Reviews

There are multiple ethical and organic methods of generating online reviews to boost your business reputation both on and offline. Some genuine routes of grabbing positive online reviews are:

  1. Clarity and Communication in the Importance of Reviews:
    Communicate to your clients or customers that you really do take the time to review and reflect on all input they give you. Place positive reviews in your marketing campaigns, on your website, and actively interact with posted reviews – letting the customer know that you genuinely care that they took the time to leave you an online review.
  2. Create a Platform for Reviews to be Placed:
    Giving customers the option to leave a review after they purchase a product or utilize a service is an efficient ways to collect and share online ratings. Placing this option your website after a customer completes a purchase or include a link to a review page in your next newsletter to allow your clients to help others and provides you with honest feedback.
  3. Pay Attention:
    Be actively involved once reviews are received. Say a simple “thank you” for positive reviews and let them know that their input is valued. Attending to your reviews is even more important when responding to negative reviews. If possible, reach out to these individuals in a more personal fashion – via email, or perhaps even a phone call – to get to the root of their unhappiness and show that you want your business to serve them as best as possible.

How Online Reviews Can Increase Your Sales

Since Google monitors many online review sites, boosting your rapport and number of reviews across a variety of sites increases the inbound traffic to your business’s website. Excellent reviews are what potential customers look for when using a search engine to find a service to fulfill their needs – and will most likely try and choose the best of the best.

To boost website traffic with online reviews, dedicate space in your marketing strategy to include gaining positive reviews and responding to all reviews that are placed. By being active in your online presence, you are building a trust amongst your growing community of clients and customers.

 

Jen Kelly New Initiatives Marketing Inc.

Jen Kelly is a marketing consultant in Toronto and CEO of New Initiatives Marketing Inc. (NIM) serving growing businesses in Canada and the USA. NIM is the team to call for marketing execution excellence. Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation about your company’s online reviews (aka: online reputation management). 

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