Thumbs up or thumbs down: Online reviews matter – a lot

So many people don’t ask for reviews or testimonials in any systematic way (I’m guilty of this too and it’s something I plan to work on this year). But they are really important.

In my last post where I talked about including content on your site for people at different stages of the buying cycle, reviews or testimonials were one of the types of content suggested for people in the ‘purchase’ phase. Good reviews are great for helping people take that final step to buy from you but they bring other benefits as well.

1. Reviews make you more visible online

A strong online presence is pretty much essential for any business these days. Whatever product or service people are looking for, many of them will look online for reviews before making a choice. You need to be there and visible when they search.

If you have testimonials on your website, Google reviews, recommendations on LinkedIn, reviews on your Facebook page and maybe reviews on an industry-specific platform, you can really stand out online. Everywhere people look, there you are and you become a serious contender for their business.

2. Reviews open a pathway for communication

Reviews give you an opportunity to listen to and speak directly to your customers. Whether a review is good or bad you can (and should) respond to it. If people raise problems you can address them and show your willingness to accept constructive criticism and act on it.

Your response to reviews can be a real insight into what you are like to work with and even a bad review well-handled can leave a good impression of your business. It shows that you care.

3. Reviews increase your trust factor

People are increasingly swayed by star ratings and scores on online reviews. Everyone’s busy and when you’re choosing a supplier a star rating is a quick and easy-to-understand measure of a business.

If other people have had good experiences with you and they share that, it will increase others’ trust in you. Good ratings increase confidence in your brand.

4. Reviews can be a deciding factor

If people are almost ready to buy but still feeling a little bit nervous about whether your product or service is the right one for them, a good review can mean the difference between them buying or not buying.

Like your interactions and followers on social media, reviews are a form of social proof. People are very swayed by what others say about you. A potential buyer will place more trust in another customer’s views than in the marketing material you write yourself.

5. Reviews can give you valuable insight

Good or bad, detailed feedback from a customer is valuable. Read reviews with an open mind and you can glean ideas for changes to the products and services you offer or new ones to add.

You might also get ideas for improving your processes and your customer service, which will benefit you and your customers.

6. Reviews can be a shortcut to getting ahead of your competitors

Businesses often keep an eye on their competitors so they can spot opportunities to get ahead.

One relatively quick and easy way to get ahead of the competition is simply by being better at getting reviews! Having more and better reviews than your competitors will increase trust in your business. In most cases, people are more likely to choose you over a similar competitor who has worse reviews, less reviews or even no reviews at all.

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