3 Ways to Use Internet Reviews to Help Your Business
To make better decisions when purchasing products, consumers are relying more and more on online reviews. These reviews, both good and bad, are having a dramatic effect on business’s profits. Yet, few business owners actually take the time to consider the impact reviews can have on their success. After all, this is new territory. It is still kind of hazy how reviews can affect your business.
We do know a few statistics that can help us understand how important internet reviews are for your reputation:
Half of consumers are more likely to choose a business after reading a good review.
87 percent use glowing reviews and high ratings to reinforce their decision to make purchases.
73 percent are more likely to trust a company after reading good reviews.
Five percent of reviews are by users who have no record of purchasing or using the product.
22 percent of consumers read seven or more reviews before making a purchase.
Two-thirds read six or fewer reviews.
Only one out of nine consumers does not read any reviews before making a purchase.
Online reviews are second only to recommendations from trusted associates in influencing buying decisions.
So, how can you use this information to help your business succeed? Below are three ways.
Take Control of Your Profile
On sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, Google+ Local, and TripAdvisor, you have the ability to control your business’s profile. Each of these sites has a link on the profile that essentially allows you to take ownership of the profile. Once you have done this, you can update it with links to your website, a list of services or products, business descriptions, review responses, and contact information among other things.
If you do not have a profile on all of the above review sites, you should definitely create one right now. This is essentially free advertising.
Offer Incentives for Customers who Visit Your Profile
Most of the review sites tell business owners not to encourage customers to review them. The reasoning is that this may hurt the subjectivity of the site. Instead, you are advised to encourage customers to just check out your profile. We recommend going a step further and offering little incentives to customers to visit your profile. For example, you could offer a free appetizer if you run a restaurant. You can tell customers visited your profile when they leave a review. As a bonus, customers who actually want your products will be more likely to take you up on this offer.
Respond to the Bad Reviews
Companies in the United States spend billions of dollars every year doing market research to find out what consumers like and dislike about their products. You have plenty of information right before you, and it does not cost you a penny.
We suggest the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach. If you are getting consistently bad reviews about one aspect of your business, consider making improvements on that aspect. Then, publicly announce that you have made these changes.
If a bad review is based on bad information or is just factually wrong, address it unemotionally with just the facts. Whenever addressing a public relations issue, which bad reviews essentially are, you should be truthful and factual above all else. And, do not let your emotions get the best of you.
Finally, there are people out there who are just plain miserable. Nothing you do will please them. Do not worry about them. You and your customers will be able to sniff them out and subsequently ignore them.