A man pointing to 5 stars

A Business Owner’s Guide to Online Reviews

Nowadays, online reviews matter. This is one of the essential factors of business success. We might not see it for now, but in this digital age, consumers look at online reviews before making any purchase decisions. Most of them even trust online reviews rather than personal recommendations. This online review guide will help you make the best out of your online customer feedback.

Having online reviews can hugely benefit every type of business. No matter how many dollars you spent on Google SERPs, if you have bad or zero reviews, you will never gather potential customers.

Why does a business need online reviews?

Positive online reviews can help you get the trust and confidence every time a consumer tries to search for your business online. However, studies have shown that if a customer trusts your online reviews, they are likely to spend more compared to companies with lower reviews.

Here are 5 reasons why you should integrate online reviews to your business.

Reason #1 – Customers use a variety of online review sites

If your product is consumables, people tend to look up online reviews on Amazon or Google. If you’re selling a service, customers might check you on Yelp or TripAdvisor. Whatever products or services you are selling, always remember that getting reviewed on as many sites as you can help your business grow.

Online Review Sites

Reason #2 – Purchasing behavior is greatly affected by online reviews

According to Bright Local, 88% of consumers trust online reviews compared to a personal recommendation from somebody they know. This means that most of the time, consumers are going to check online reviews before making any purchase decisions.

Reason #3 – Reviews can improve your search rankings

One of the most prominent ranking factors for local search is online reviews. It helps the business rank even if they have low-quality link profiles. Google is more likely to trust your company if you’re getting more online reviews. It tells the search engine that your business is operating legally, and people have interacted with it that can help potential customers decide whether to invest in your products/services or not.

Google local search results with online reviews

Reason #4 – Reviews generate more reviews

If a business has currently received a handful of online reviews, it encourages other visitors to leave a review as well. The appearance of having a couple of online reviews seems to be enough to give new customers the courage to leave feedback about their experience.

Reason #5 – Reviews are doing the marketing for you

Positive reviews might be hard to get, but they are remarkably valuable. Reviews are like a micro-marketing campaign that keeps on working long after the reviews have been posted. It gives the brand a positive image to potential customers, that greatly benefit the business in the long run.

Online customer reviews will last for a lifetime, and the longer you wait to start encouraging your customers, the more you lose something so valuable for your business. If these reasons are still not enough for you, then take a look at these five reasons why online reviews can be used as your advantage.

How to use online reviews to your advantage?

1. Improve brand awareness

Before the internet was born, people would praise or rant about a particular brand via word-of-mouth. Today, this word-of-mouth concept has already been carried over to online reviews, which increases your business’s visibility by allowing people to share their customer experience in your establishment. Positive reviews will not just help your business progress, but they can also help improve your search engine optimization.

Brand in Laptop

2. Collect keywords from products reviews

By monitoring your online reviews, you can identify common words that customers use to define your products and services. Implement these keywords into your product positioning, keyword targeting, tags, and content creation so you can improve your search rankings.

3. Take advantage of positive reviews to outreach PR and influencers

Celebrities or public figures can be used to influence others to check out your business. Positive product reviews can be an effective way for you to convince influencers, PR teams, and journalists, to introduce your products and/or services to a specific group of people.

4. Use customer feedback to improve brand

Listening to your customers is what makes you a better brand. With reviews, you can quickly determine which part of the product or service you should improve so you can come up with a better version for your customers. This will not just improve your online reviews, but also boost your sales efficiently.

Feedback word in blackboard

5. Engage with your customers to increase sales

Responding to customer reviews can build brand loyalty. It makes them feel recognized and appreciated by your company for taking the time to respond to their online reviews.

Customers will be more eager to buy if they have seen the progress of the product’s quality as well as the company’s investment in its customers.

You can also use negative reviews to resolve poor customer experience by sending them a personal message about what went wrong, suggestions, and resolution that you can provide to give their trust back to your company.

Online Review Guide: How to take control of your reviews

Now that you already know the reasons for and advantages of incorporating online reviews to your business. Let us walk you through a step-by-step process for taking control of your customer reviews and reputation with this online review guide.

Step 1: Start with Google and Yelp

Google continues to be the primary search engine used by millions of people to search for products and services. Start by making a business profile in Google My Business to attract new customers.

Google and Yelp

Your Business Profile will appear right when you are searching for a business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps. You will be able to build strong relationships with your customers by responding directly to messages and reviews.

Yelp is one of the most favored consumer review sites on the internet. They currently have 187 million consumer reviews as of March 31, 2019. In the first quarter of 2019, Yelp has an average of 167 million visitors per month on mobile web, app, and desktop. Yelp review pages also rank highly in Google and are pulled directly into Yahoo and Bing search results.

Step 2: Claim/Setup a review page on industry-specific sites

The next step in this online review guide is to set up or claim your business page on industry-specific review sites. There are a lot of review sites that are well suited to your business industry, and many of your potential customers are also searching for it. You just have to find for the best review sites that you think that is valuable and effective for your business.

Step 3: Review Google search results for your industry and company name

Search for your business in Google and check what other sites are ranking for your business name and industry-related search terms. Your potential customers are likely to engage in review sites that you have listed your business into.

Step 4: Start asking for reviews

At this point, you should already have an idea of what your online review situation looks like. Don’t make the same mistake of implementing your online review strategy in the first few months only. Make it as a habit of asking for customer reviews during your day to day tasks.

Hand holding Reviews word

Pick the top 3 sites that you think is the most important for your business. Integrate those sites to your website and to your physical store. In order for you to get the buttons for your website, or stickers for your window, simply search google for “Review Site Name + Button For Website”. So for Yelp, you would search “Yelp Button For Website”. You might also consider integrating review sites on menu’s, emails, business cards, or product packaging.

How should you ask for a review?

Ask your customers in person. If a customer promised that they will leave a review but have forgotten about it, then follow up one time via email. If they don’t respond, move on to the next customer.

Step 5: Monitor and respond to positive reviews

Making sure that you’re actively monitoring and responding to your online reviews is one of the most important points in this online review guide. Because happy customers are more likely to leave a positive review if they know that the business owner is going to read it. Another reason is you will have the opportunity to apologize publicly and resolve issues privately.

How to respond to positive online reviews?

Always thank your customers when they leave a review and tell them that you are very happy that they had a great experience. If they suggested some improvements, thank them for it as well.

How to respond to negative online reviews?

Not all businesses are perfect, so you will get a negative review at some point. If you handled it correctly, you can actually turn the customer’s bad experience into a good one. Take it as a lesson for you not to make the same mistakes again. It doesn’t matter if your poor review stays as long as other customers have seen your effort in taking the complaint seriously and did your best to resolve it.

Related Article: How to Respond to Negative Reviews For Small Businesses

Step 6: Integrate positive reviews into your marketing

Review sites actually owns the copyright to the online reviews that are left on their site. You cannot simply copy and paste the full review into your own website or any of your marketing materials.

Thumbs up

There are ways on how you can add customer reviews to your own site without tagging you for copyright infringement.

  1. You can quote the reviews as headlines and slogans. But give credit to the site wherever the online review was made.
  2. You can create statistics from your review pool.
  3. You can take advantage of what your customers love about your products and services and use it as a theme for your emails and promotions.

The Bottom Line

If you will not take control of your online reviews now, how will you see some results? It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the initial work done, everything will fall into place. Learn how you can take control of your online reviews with Meegle now.

We hope you found this online review guide for business owners to be helpful and insightful enough. If you think we missed something, just let us know through the comments.