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Online reviews have become a huge part of the consumer decision-making process. When a user searches for products or services, it’s almost certain that they will turn to reviews before solidifying their purchase – especially if they’ve never bought from that business before. Reviews are a make-or-break situation. Positive reviews can build trust and credibility for your business, leading to increased conversions and customer loyalty. But bad reviews? They can discourage any potential customer from buying from you and can even hurt your brand’s reputation. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of online reviews, the different types of reviews, and the top tips on getting more online reviews for your business.

What Are Online Reviews?

Online reviews are basically public testimonials, feedback, and comments left by your customers about your product or service and their experience with you as a whole. Most of the time, they discuss what features or a product the customer likes or dislikes, whether the product or service matches what was advertised, and the quality of the service they received such as quick delivery, great customer service etc.

Types of Online Reviews

You might not know it, but there are actually a few different ways customers can find and leave reviews on products.

Aggregate Reviews

There are a few popular aggregate review sites around that are great for collecting reviews, such as Trustpilot and Feefo which host customer reviews for a wide range of businesses. These platforms collect and display reviews in a standardised format that makes it easy for users to compare different companies.

Google Reviews

Google Reviews are extremely important for local businesses when they show up in Google search results and on Google Maps. GBP (Google Business Profile formally Google My Business) allows businesses to manage their online presence and interact with customers through their reviews.

Social Media Reviews

Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are powerful spaces for customers to share their opinions. Many potential customers look to social media to see what others are saying about a particular product or brand,so reviews on here can significantly affect a brand’s reputation.

Influencer Reviews

Influencer marketing is growing year upon year, so it’s no surprise that influencer reviews can sway someone’s decision as to whether or not they buy from a specific brand.

Why Are Online Reviews Important?

Understanding why online reviews are important is key to making the most of them for your business. Here’s why they matter.

They Can Improve SEO Rankings

Yep, that’s right! Having a lot of positive reviews can improve your website’s rankings in search engines. This is because users are literally showing Google that this is a great product, service, or brand.Google’s mission is to show a user the most relevant and helpful results, andreviews are a great contributing factor to your SEO campaign.

They Can Sway Customers’ Decisions

Positive reviews can encourage potential customers to buy the product or shop at that specific business. They essentially serve as recommendations to potential customers who might be trying to decide between a few different products. For many, a great review can mean being the deciding factor that leads to the purchase of your product.

They’re Helpful

Not only do reviews help sway customers’ decisions, they can also provide customers with helpful information like the fit, the sizing, the colours, and how to use the product, and can even include more helpful information about your brand. This information can help customers choose the best product or service for them.

They Provide Opportunities to Right Wrongs

Online review platforms provide an opportunity for brands to interact with customers directly which can help them build loyalty and help if a customer wasn’t happy about something. For example, if a customer received the wrong product and wrote are view, the brand has the opportunity to reach out to the customer to amend the mistake. This also creates an opportunity for the customer to write another review about how helpful the customer service team was.

Top 5 Tips to Get More Online Reviews

It’s all well and good telling you why reviews are so helpful for your business, but what can you actually do to get more?

Create a Seamless Customer Experience

The first step in gaining more positive reviews, is making the customer want to write one.This means providing them with incredible customer service, and top-quality products or services. A seamless customer journey lays the foundation for satisfied customers who want to express their gratitude towards your brand.

Ask for Reviews at The Right Time

Timing is crucial when asking for reviews. It’s important to choose moments when customers are likely to feel positive about their experiences. For example, after a successful transaction when they are excited about their purchase and willing to share their happiness, or as part of a follow-up shortly after the service.

Simplify the Process

Get rid of any barriers that could prevent customers from leaving reviews and make the process as simple and convenient as possible. For example, use QR codes or direct links, and use mobile-friendly platforms to ensure the customer can leave the review whether they’re at home or on the go.

Respond to Reviews

Engaging with customers who leave reviews showcases your commitment to customer satisfaction and can encourage a sense of community around your brand. It’s just as important to respond to the positive ones thanking them for their feedback as it is to the negative ones to resolve issues.

Incentivise Feedback

While offering incentives for positive reviews is unethical and against review platforms’ guidelines, you can incentivise honest feedback from customers in a range of ways. For example, offering discounts or entering customers into contests and giveaways is a great way to get extra reviews and see customers’ honest feedback about the service they received. We must stress,this incentivisation is purely for the review – good or bad. If you are found to be requesting positive reviews in exchange for gifts etc. you will be heavily penalised by search engines and the aggregate website.

How to Use Online Reviews

Online reviews can be extremely valuable for both consumers and businesses. However, it’s important to approach them carefully.  Here’s how to make the most of your online reviews:

- Look for consistency. Focus on recurring themes within multiple reviews. Consistent feedback provides more accurate insights into your business’s strengths and areas for improvement which can be used to your advantage.

- Consider the source of the review. It’s always important to assess the credibility of the reviewer and the platform they’re using. Be aware of fake reviews or biased opinions that could affect customers’ decisions.

- Balance positive and negative feedback. You can’t get away from negative reviews. So, embrace them both! Respond constructively to negative reviews whilst showing your dedication to resolving issues.

Online reviews are great tools nowadays. They can influence consumers buying decisions and improve your brand’s rankings and awareness. Authenticity is the foundation of a successful review strategy. Leverage the power of customer feedback to enhance your offerings, build trust, and create lasting relationships with your audience.

Want to discuss your Google reviews and how we can help you improve your local area rankings? Then get in touch with us today and a member of the team will be on hand to help you.

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About Chris Simmons

Chris is our onpage SEO Specialist at 427 Marketing, having joined the team in early 2023. He works with our content team to cover the 4 pillars of SEO; content, onpage SEO, technical SEO and offpage SEO. Prior to joining the 427 Marketing team, Chris spent almost 10 years applying his SEO and content skills across several different industries in marketing agency and inhouse roles including tool hire, auctioneering, health care within the NHS and high end luxury retail in both B2B and B2C capacities. His passion for writing, content, UX, technical and on page SEO has expanded our content offerings, helping provide reliable advice about all things SEO to 427 Marketing.

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