Building Your Brand with Online Reviews

Online reviews can make or break your business. In an increasingly digital world, your brand’s perception online matters more than ever. Online customer testimonials help shape that perception, driving consumer decisions and impacting both your business’ brand identity, and overall sales.

In fact, 91% of consumers regularly read online customer reviews to determine whether a business is good or bad, and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Not only can your brand utilize customer reviews in other marketing endeavors, such as social media or website content, but they’re also valuable tools to help convince buyers to shop with you over your competitors.

Why Are Online Reviews So Important?​

These digital testimonials have the power to build your reputation, or tear it down, with 74% of consumers saying that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Positive reviews are proven to significantly improve trust and first impressions with potential customers, and they increase your brand’s online exposure and local SEO. In fact, according to Moz, roughly 9% of Google’s entire search algorithm is driven by review signals like the ones you’ll find in a business’ Google reviews. Speaking of Google, online reviews can increase your business’ organic ranking on the search engine, and in turn, improve click-through rates to your corporate website.

It is important to note that in order for online reviews to be more effective, your business should have plenty of customer feedback to serve as valid social proof. It is true that people looking for a local service or product would prefer to see a business with 40 or more reviews. However, 57% of shoppers only need to see 11 or more reviews. Remember, your competition also matters here. If you have 5 reviews and your competition has 36, who do you think will get the first call?

How To Encourage Reviews from Happy Customers

So, how can you encourage your happy customers to leave online reviews for your business? We recommend starting by setting up an automated survey to deliver to email subscribers or contacts. Here, you should include questions about your customer service, along with a standard, “How likely would you recommend {Your Business} to your family or friends?”

Anyone who selects over 7-8 out of 10., are your target audience to send a follow up email to, requesting they write a full review for your brand online, say, on Google My Business. 

In most cases, the most reliable way to collect customer reviews is by simply asking for it. According to a study by BrightLocal, 68% of consumers who were asked to leave a review by a local business did so. We find that most businesses can reasonably expect a response rate ranging from 40-60%. However, your individual results will rely on a few factors, such as the type of product/service you offer, the number of customers who respond to your initial email, and more.

What About Negative Reviews?

Of course, not all online reviews will be positive. You’ll have to work hard to monitor and respond to negative customer reviews in the right way, to ensure they do not steer any potential buyers away from your brand. We strongly recommend responding to all online reviews, whether they’re positive or negative. In fact, 30% of consumers name this as key when judging local businesses. By responding to all of your online reviews, you can demonstrate first-hand how important customer service is to your business, while showing that your brand is grateful for positive feedback, and open to making changes when criticism is received.

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