As you undoubtedly realize by now, online reviews can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your business. Consumers have become so web-savvy that they’ll check to see what other customers are saying about the business like a donut shop or food truck on Facebook or Yelp before they spend a single dollar.
Don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at what the numbers say:
- In a Harvard Business School study, it was estimated that increasing your Yelp review by a single star could boost revenue by 5-9%.
- 84% of respondents to a survey by Bright Local said they trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Moz did a study that showed online reviews affect more than two-thirds of all buying decisions.
These figures aren’t outliers, and they just reinforce what we already know: any online review directed at you or your business is important. However, there are seven different types of feedback that are particularly impactful on your marketing. Let’s take a look at each one:
#1 Reviews From Skeptical Converts
When reviewers admit they were initially hesitant to buy from you, but did so anyway and were happy, that says good things to other skeptical potential customers. Ultimately, the name of the game is to win over people who aren’t sure, and this type of feedback can help quite a bit.
#2 Specific Types of Praise
All positive reviews are helpful to your online marketing, but the ones that point at specific aspects of your products, service, or pricing carry more weight. They signal to you what buyers appreciate, and tell other customers which particular features or benefits have the most value.
#3 Recurring Criticisms
If customers keep saying something negative about your company again and again, don’t ignore that warning sign. Not only will that be a turnoff to future buyers, but there’s a good chance other existing customers feel the same way. Take any recurring criticisms as a sign that there are things in your business that need to be improved.
#4 Feedback From Industry Experts
If there are experts in your industry or field, you obviously want them to say good things about your business. Others will respect their opinions, and you’ll notice that many reviews will mirror the sentiments left by those who are “in the know.” Also, some people only read expert reviews, so these tend to stand out.
#5 Reviews Left by Influencers
Also important are reviews left by men and women who have a huge online following. This applies even when the individuals in question don’t have any special knowledge or experience with your products or services. The fact that they can reach lots of readers still carries weight.
#6 Reviews That Seem Off-the-Wall
If you’re in business long enough, you will get reviews that are comically bad, or don’t seem to make any sense. For the most part, these can be ignored. However, feedback that’s too far off the wall can be indicative of a couple of things. First, it’s possible the reviewer is confusing your business with another one. Or, in extreme cases, it could be the case that a competitor is trying to use fake accounts to bash you online. You should keep your eyes open for both possibilities.
#7 The Overall Tone of Your Feedback
We saved the most important review for last: your overall star rating or satisfaction level. A lot of people won’t read individual reviews, or won’t peruse past the two most recent ones. What they’ll almost always notice, though, is whether the majority of customers seem to be satisfied with your business or not.
As a business owner, it’s up to you to be aware of your company’s reputation on the internet. Ideally, you should be doing whatever you can to encourage the right kind of feedback and monitor any criticisms that come your way on a weekly basis. That’s difficult to do when you’re running your company, of course.
How to Monitor Your Company’s Online Reputation
Keep track of what is said about your company using free Google Alerts to follow your company name. Use your company name AND personal name as alerts so you will be notified when those are mentioned on the Internet.
Mention.com is another tool that you could use to monitor your brand. They give live updates from the web AND social media. It’s easy to set up and very accurate. There is a monthly fee for their service but definitely worth the money for the time you save searching.
No matter what kind of review you are getting for your company, always thank the person for writing it – good or bad. Customers will see you are listening and it also gives you a chance to tell your side. Be professional in your response to encourage more reviews from clients. Remember it is up to you to be aware of your online reputation so monitoring reviews and encouraging them regularly will help you stay ahead of the competition.