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Generating Positive Online Reviews Will Boost Your Reputation

by Kate Thompson, Terralever / January 10, 2013

Note: This blog entry is available in English only.

 

 

Overall reputation (online and offline) can influence purchase decisions and ultimately impact your bottom line. When it comes to online reputation management, local businesses do not have much control (if any) over their customers’ reviews. However, you can in fact influence the conversation and potentially turn a negative review into a positive experience. Search Engine Land published an article on March 12, 2012 listing the Local Consumer Review Survey results (survey conduced between January 15 – March 1, 2012) of which included the following key statistics:

  • 65% of consumers read between 2-10 reviews
  •  7% of consumers read more than 20 reviews
  • 58% of consumers trust a business that has positive online reviews
  • 52% of consumers are more likely to try out a business if they have positive reviews
  • 28% of consumers cite location and/or price as main factors in their decision-making process to use a business

Online reviews reach more people and can convert more customers, if done correctly. Most online reviews are found within local search directory pages and local community sites. The local search market is a rapidly evolving area of search marketing. Local consumers are both more elusive and more connected to their local market than ever before; therefore, necessitating local business owners align their local search marketing strategy to their customers’ online behavior to remain top of mind in their specific market.

As a business owner, it’s important to claim the most popular and most widely used citation profiles on the local search directory sites. This ensures your business information (address, phone number, hours, etc.) is correct and also allows you to manage that information moving forward. Once you’ve completed the claiming process (or partnered with an agency who’s done this for you), the most important thing you can do to boost your online visibility is to get reviews (simply put). Having a positive review can help with overall brand awareness, driving new customers and new business via positive word of mouth.  Some sites allow users to sort by positive ratings, which can increase your business’s visibility within the search results and even some local search listings will use customer reviews as a factor for how prominently the business appears on the results page. The volume of reviews and the sentiment of those reviews affect how visible a business is displayed within that local directory listing. Businesses that can successfully encourage customers to post positive and authentic reviews will benefit with a wider reach.

6 Tips to Generate Reviews: 

1.)    Add icons of review sites (as applicable) to your website, microsites, social media channels, etc. Include stickers/decals of review sites in a visible area in your store, such as on windows, doors, etc. (e.g. Yelp stickers).

2.)    Encourage reviews in-store

  • Mention or link to review sites on receipts (takeaway)
  • Business card/postcards asking for reviews (takeaway)

3.)    Encourage Reviews via Social Media

4.)    Encourage Reviews via Email

  • Include the buttons/links to the review sites on “post-purchase” emails asking customers to rate their experience on the review site of their choice (one they use most frequently).

5.)    Simply Ask

  •  Leverage your true brand advocates (most loyal members) and ask them to write a review for you if they are active on certain local review sites. Explain the process as needed.

6) Respond Online & Follow-Up Offline

Showing customers that you care about their review is important (whether negative or positive). Leaving bad reviews unanswered does not make them go away. It just makes visitors to your profile wonder what, if any, resolution your unsatisfied customer received. By responding to bad reviews, you show potential new customers that your goal is to make sure everyone is happy no matter what. Oftentimes after mitigating a negative experience, consumers will either remove their negative review or follow-up and write a positive review on your excellent customer service and how quickly and effectively you took care of them.

Various review sites (even social media channels) have become powerful platforms for brands to engage with customers on a personal level, but that engagement isn’t always positive. Mistakes are going to happen and frustrated customers will not only verbally complain about a bad experience with their networks, more and more they are turning to social media & local directories to voice their displeasure. At first blush it can be a frightening proposition. After all, these platforms can be a powerful soapbox for frustrated customers who have a large following creating the potential for a serious PR nightmare that can also hit your bottom line.

However, these review sites and social media channels also allow you to proactively find complaints, reach out to those frustrated customers, mend fences, and then potentially create more brand advocates. Generating online reviews from current customers will inform prospects of the great product or service you have to offer and ultimately lead to more sales and new customers. Good or bad, online reviews will also give you valuable insight into your business model, employees, customer service practices, etc., which will hopefully lead you to improve certain business practices that need to be addressed. So start asking for those reviews and start monitoring the feedback!

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