We live in an era in which brands are defined by those who experience them, rather than by those who own them. With unlimited access to sharing and receiving information online, there’s never been a time when consumers have had so much influence on brand reputation.
With the advent of social media, online reviews have the power to both make and break small and medium businesses. As consumers flock online for information about products and services, nearly 70% of them are making purchasing decisions based on what others are saying (Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages Report).
Some businesses scoff at the idea of virtual opinions having that kind of power. Others are ignorant, or perhaps too overwhelmed by the online world to give it any real consideration. But smart business owners are taking advantage of online reviews—rather than treating them as another thing to manage, they’re taking them and spinning them into business gold.
For digital agencies serving small and medium businesses, read on to find out how they’re doing it and why gathering more reviews is important for your clients regardless of their online savviness.
1. Increase Sales
The biggest reason why businesses need more online reviews is because they’re proven to drive sales by supplying consumers with pertinent information about products and services. On average, customer ratings increase sales by 18% (Bazaar Voice The Conversation Index), and 90% of people claim positive reviews influence their purchasing decisions (Dimensional Research The Impact of Customer Service on Customer Lifetime Value).
2. High Marketing Value
Online reviews are word-of-mouth on steroids. Every day, millions of consumers are conducting local searches and reading-up on what others are saying about businesses. This is a prime opportunity to leverage great reviews and spread them across the web for customers to feast on.
3. Boosts SEO Rank
Reviews have huge value in local search rankings—out of hundreds of SEO ranking factors, reviews are rated the fifth most important (Local Ranking Factors). The more reviews a business has, the higher they climb in local search listings.
4. Establish Relationships with Customers
Online reviews provide an opportunity for businesses to join the conversation and engage the customer. Whatever the situation is, they can respond personally and build a relationship for future transactions. When others see positive dialogue happening, it goes a long way in gaining their trust and turning them into customers too.
5. Provide Better Products and Services
Reviews are a great yardstick for what a business is doing well and what they’re doing poorly. Seeing how customers react to their offering provides good fuel on how to ratchet-up their strengths and play-down their weaknesses.
6. Updated Reviews Convert Sales
Fresh and relevant reviews are essential for healthy business results. Not only do they strengthen online presence but it directly impacts sales conversions—63% of consumers are more likely to buy from a site with current product ratings (iPerceptions).