How Much Are Online Reviews Actually Worth?
Have you Googled your business lately? You might be surprised by what you’ll find. Online reputation, especially for brands, is not to be taken lightly. We now live in a world where it can either be your strongest asset or a liability. What shows up in the search results could mean the difference between new customers and lost opportunities.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to be aware of their online footprint, particularly the feedback consumers leave behind. Research shows that 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews before making purchases. More so, 84 percent trust them as much as recommendations from friends and family. This means a business that consistently gets new reviews will have a fighting chance against its competitors.
Small businesses need online reviews to survive. Unfortunately, while many small business owners are putting some dollars toward digital advertising, only 36 percent are investing in review marketing. So how much are they really worth? Reviews can boost SEO which leads to a higher search ranking. They are also social proof, which refers to the idea that “if other people like this brand, then it is also safe for me to like it.”
So if someone is browsing through your online reviews, its because they probably want to make a purchase. A survey by Neilsen found that 82 percent of consumers visit review sites to find information about a service or product. While only 29 percent of them make a purchase on the same day, a staggering 89 percent make a purchase that same week!
How to Find Your Business’s ReviewsWhere do consumers leave and read reviews?
It depends on where the business is listed and varies by business and industry. You can use several review sites to monitor your online reputation, reach a wider audience, and keep track of what customers say about your product or service. Your business may even be listed on some review sites without you knowing it. Do your research by doing a Google search.
The most important review platform also varies by business and industry. It helps to know which sites your competitors use. Using Google, search for your “industry + reviews + location”. For instance, if you have a nail salon in Phoenix, Arizona, search “nail salon reviews Phoenix AZ.” If you see your competitor, make sure your business is there too.
What Can Positive Reviews Do for Your Business
Modern consumers are savvier than ever. The average shopper will Google your business before using it, especially if they’ve never heard of it before. Positive reviews means people trust your business, which in turn is a great marketing tool to new customers. Consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more on a business with excellent reviews and 92 percent will pick a local business if it has at least a four-star rating.
If there’s little to no information about a business online, you could be losing out on the opportunity to increase your customer base. You need to reassure potential customers that you’re worth checking out. A few positive reviews can do just that.
In a Cornell University study, researchers observed how reviews at TripAdvisor, a platform for hotels and restaurants, can move markets by influencing consumers’ purchasing patterns. It was found that hotels can raise their prices by about 11 percent for every one-point star rating increase without losing customers.
Review platforms are great marketing tools to get the word out about your business and even increase your revenue. The big contenders include Google and Yelp. However, where you list your business will still vary by industry. You should not neglect industry-specific review sites. Let’s look at how much reviews are worth on each platform.
Google Reviews Increase CTR
Google, being the biggest search engine in the world, accounts for 64 percent of all searches online. This makes Google Reviews more important than Yelp. A potential customer can type in a search query and stumble upon local businesses with reviews from actual customers.
From that moment on, they can make an informed decision on whether or not they should purchase from a certain company. According to a study, consumers are 29 percent more likely to buy from and 38 percent more likely to visit a business with a Google My Business page.
Your Google Review rating will appear next to your business name in the results page, so positive feedback will increase clicks through to your site. Study shows that around 56 percent of users will choose to click on a business listing with a good star rating. Once a customer clicks through to your page, you’re near the end goal.
Google Reviews can also be powerful enough to make a conversion. A Harvard Business Review study reveals that 78 percent of mobile local searches ended with a purchase.
Yelp Reviews Boost Revenue
Yelp was developed to help online consumers find local businesses that can deliver good products and service. It is referred to as the “godfather” of online review platforms. It has more than 80 million unique visitors who write reviews every month. Yelp currently shows more than 127 million reviews.
Businesses on Yelp can add their own content which gives them more control over how their company is presented. For instance, uploading business photos to make the page more appealing. Customers can also add their personal photos when writing reviews.
Yelp can do a lot for local businesses. Increasing your overall rating by one star can lead to a 5-9 percent boost in revenue. This is because Yelp helps in influencing people at the right moment. The moment a user is reading Yelp reviews, he or she is on the verge of becoming a customer. A couple positive reviews will be enough to get them into your store.
A research conducted shows that 98 percent of Yelpers ended up making a purchase from a business they found on the platform.
Facebook Reviews Improve Sales
Facebook, the biggest social media site, also has a star rating system that lets your customers share their experiences with others. Facebook shares that star ratings encourage more people to rate a business. This helps businesses create greater brand awareness and allows readers to discover new businesses.
Around 74 percent of people use Facebook to find more information about businesses. The social media site influences more than half of these users’ purchase decisions. Researchers surveyed 12,000 respondents from the U.S. and UK and 81 percent confirmed that they were directly influenced by their friends’ recommendations and posts.
In another study, it was also found that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a local business if it has positive Facebook reviews.
Featuring Business’s Reviews on Your Website
Featuring reviews on your website is telling potential clients know that you’re a trusted brand. Reviews add social proof to your website. More so, each feedback will give you insights on how to improve your products and services. Placing reviews on product pages is the way to go. It can increase review volume by 324 percent and increase conversions.
Just one customer review on your website can increase your conversion rate by 10 percent. At 100 reviews, conversion rates can be boosted by as much as 37 percent. Meanwhile, 200 reviews can increase conversion rates to a whopping 44 percent.
Can Negative Reviews Hurt Your Business?
Negative reviews can be quite powerful in undermining a business’ reputation. According to research, they can cause four out of five consumers to reverse their purchase decisions. In Yelp, one bad review can cost your business 30 customers. In Google search results, four or more negative feedback will cause you to lose 70 percent of potential customers.
But on the flip side, consumers don’t always trust a business’s reviews if they’re all positive. The best solution is to face the negative review head on and turn the bad experience around. As it turns out, responding to an unhappy customer is enough to convince that person to use the business again. You just need to extend a sincere apology and genuinely try to make it right.