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Did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation?
This is what is known as social proof, and it's why reviews are beneficial to your company.
Yet, if you're like most busy business owners, capturing reviews is the last thing on your mind.
It's time to put reviews at the forefront of your marketing strategy.
First, let's look at the benefits.
People follow the crowd
Most shoppers do some research before doing business with a company. They are looking around to see what other people think about your business.
They definitely trust online reviews more than they trust your advertising.
The more positive reviews you have, the better you look to potential customers.
Reviews are free advertising
Each time you encourage your customer to leave a review and they do, you are garnering free advertising.
Reviews are another way to get your company out there in front of new viewers. Consider the customer who posts a review on Facebook. Several new people visit your business page, see the featured review and decide to follow you.
That didn't cost you anything, and you gained several potential customers.
Google likes reviews
You can bet that Google likes to see businesses with lots of reviews.
If you visit Google's help center, you'll find the following: "High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business' visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location."
In other words, Google is going to show businesses with reviews higher on search engine results pages than those with few to none.
This is why it pays dividends to provide your customers a link to your Google reviews page because reviews on Google can directly affect your bottom line.
You learn something
Sometimes it can be hard to step away from you company and realistically know what is working and what isn't.
Reviews, both positive and negative, can show you how customers feel about your products and services.
You might be surprised to learn that what you thought was everyone's favorite product has some flaws. You also might learn that one special thing that could turn a dud into a best seller.
Another thing reviews can tell you is how people feel about your business and your customer service as a whole.
You can find places to improve – so reviews provide you the opportunity to make your products and services better.
You build relationships
Let's say that Dave just purchased your products, and he leaves you a terrific Yelp review. You notice this and respond, thanking him.
Then, you see another positive review from Susan, and you respond back. Later that same day, Bob leaves you a negative review. You take the time to respond with empathy and try to solve his problem.
In all three of these instances, you are building relationships with your customers. At the same time, you are letting visitors to Yelp know that you care about all of your customers and all of your reviews, both bad and good.
Reviews let you humanize your business so you can nurture relationships with your customers.
How to get reviews
Now that we've looked at the benefits, let's look at some ways you can get reviews.
The most important thing to remember once you've gotten your reviews is to acknowledge them.
If the review is negative, make sure your response is kind and sympathetic. This isn't the place to be defensive. Remember – the Internet is watching, so be very careful with your response.
Reviews are a powerful tool for your business. Teach your employees how to ask for them, and make sure that as a business, you are proactively gaining them.
When you start getting reviews, you have an edge over the competition. Good reviews, bad reviews – they both matter. It's your response that defines you.
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Blog courtesy of Escalon Services
Photo: Gina Zee
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