Did you know 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as a personal recommendation?
As a business owner, it’s easy to forget about the importance of online reviews. As long as your website is bringing in sales, you have little reason to care about what people are saying about your brand.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the truth is online reviews are a double-edged sword. They can drive your business to the ground or push it to the next level.
In detail, here is how online reviews can impact your business.
Increase Your Sales
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on online advertising. If your business has negative reviews, you’re probably leaving money on the table, and here is why.
A whopping 97 percent of customers looking to buy from you will first read your business’ reviews before making a physical visit. In other words, in every 10 people your online ad reaches, 9 will want to know what other people are saying about your business.
If your business has tons of negative reviews, they will look elsewhere. But if it has positive reviews, they’ll look forward to doing business with you.
Keep in mind, though, negative reviews don’t necessarily spell doom for your business. A lot depends on how you respond them. A good number of potential customers won’t look elsewhere if your responses to negative reviews are polite, authentic and offer solutions instead of empty promises.
Boost Your Search Engine Ranking
Over 91 percent of people turn to search engines for information. And many of them never go past the first page of search engine results.
“How does this affect my business,” you ask?
Well, it doesn’t make sense to have a business website if you don’t give a hoot about search engine rankings. Search engines drive the vast majority of traffic to business websites.
If you Google your business or products and don’t find your results on the first page, negative online reviews could be the reason.
Search engines want to make it easier for people to find the best local businesses. And to know whether a business offers the best services, they look at reviews. If your business has positive reviews, it stands a solid chance of showing up in the first page of local search results.
A first-page ranking sends more traffic to your websites and depending on the effectiveness of your lead conversion game, you can significantly increase your sales.
And that’s not all. Read more to learn what else reviews can do for your SEO.
Increased Customer Loyalty
Drop your entrepreneur hat for a moment and think about yourself as a consumer.
Don’t you feel proud when your favorite brand has a positive online reputation?
Now, what would be your reaction if you Googled the same brand only to find a negative review from a mistreated employee? You will likely start shopping elsewhere and even if you don’t, you’ll no longer hold the brand in high regard.
The same applies to your business.
When your business has a strong online reputation, your customers will develop a sense of pride in your brand and keep buying your products. Loyal customers are also more likely to recommend your business to people in their social circles. This means more revenues.
On the contrary, negative reviews will hurt customers’ confidence in your brand.
Save on Reputation Repair Expenses
‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” This Warren Buffett quotes couldn’t be more appropriate.
In business, it’ll take you hundreds of 5-star reviews to build a positive reputation, while a single 1-star review can throw your reputation into the mud.
Nonetheless, negative reviews are sometimes inevitable. Nothing stops a sore competitor from posting negative comments about your business. Even then, it’s still possible to transform a negative review into a positive review.
This is where online reputation repair services come in handy.
It’s vital to hire a reputation management expert to address negative reviews and ensure your business maintains a positive reputation.
Thing is, though, if your business receives a lot of negative reviews, you’re going to spend a lot more on this service. This is money you could otherwise channel into other activities like social advertising.
Increased Employee Retention
Negative reviews do more than send customers away. Turns out they can also send your employees away.
In a recent survey, 84 percent of respondents said they would consider leaving their current job if an employer with a better reputation came calling.
When your employees depart, you have no option but to dive into the labor market again. Unfortunately, more shock awaits you if you don’t fix your negative reviews. 69 percent of job seekers won’t accept a job offer from a company that has a negative online reputation!
This boils down to increased retention and recruitment costs. You’ll have to work twice as hard to keep your existing employees and spend more money bringing in new hires.
With positive reviews, none of these would be an issue.
Online Reviews Can Wreck or Build Your Company
Whether your business is online or brick and mortar, it’s bound to attract online reviews. But reviews don’t come equal. While negative reviews will discourage potential customers and decrease your brand’s reputation, positive reviews will drive sales and push your brand to greater heights.
So if you weren’t paying attention to your reviews, it’s time to start! And while at it, here is more marketing advice for your small business.