If there’s one digital marketing trend that business owners don’t want to ignore, it’s customer reviews.
Popular websites like Google+Local, Yelp!, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, Amazon and others let users write reviews about businesses, products and services. Consumers will often read reviews before making a buying decision, so the details posted could affect your company’s reputation and even your bottom line.
In fact, nearly 9 in 10 consumers say they read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39 percent of consumers say they read online reviews on a regular basis, according to BrightLocal search consultants’ 2014 research.
Six tips for managing your business reputation online
Here are six tips to help you manage customer reviews and your business reputation online.
- Claim your stake. Show consumers you’re open for business and make sure your business information listed online is up to date. With Google my Business, for example, you can list your business hours, phone number and directions for free.
- Grow your gold-star ratings. Customer reviews through Google+ Local and Yelp!, for example, are tallied to create scores on a five-star scale. Why is this important? The details help people make more informed browsing and purchase decisions. It can also help your business stand out from sites with fewer stars and reviews.
- Give customers a reason to click. The real point of reviews is to give people a reason to click on your listing and then pick up the phone or visit your website. If a customer finds your business through a search and sees a low rating or no rating, you’re already potentially losing business.
- Help boost organic search results. Customer reviews can help boost your rankings on some search engines and help increase website traffic.
- Ask for feedback. The best way to increase online reviews is just to ask your customers. You could post a sign in your workplace and add information on your website to encourage your customers to write reviews.
- Have a plan to respond to bad reviews. In general, it’s best to handle a negative review by responding quickly and empathize with the reviewer’s concerns. Ask the reviewer to take the conversation to a private message or offline. Use the feedback as an opportunity to improve your business.
Online reviews are not only here to stay, but they’re also entrenched in the customer journey. Don’t miss this opportunity.