The world of commerce has seen a predominant shift to the web in recent years.
Even those businesses that don't offer e-commerce or online services are expected to have an online presence to connect with customers.
As a result, online reviews have become an essential part of a brand strategy.
If you want to get in on the action, here are seven reasons why you should focus on reviews as a core part of your brand.
Provide Social Proof
One of the first steps before making a purchasing decision is often checking online reviews.
Why? Well, these tidbits of information provide evidence that someone parted with their money and got what was promised in return.
In other words, reviews are a form of social proof.
Social proof is a powerful psychological influencer that causes people to adapt their behavior based on others’ experiences.
Without social proof, your potential customers won’t feel comfortable making the transition through the sales funnel into a paying customer.
Improve Customer Service
By reaching out and responding to reviews, companies are showing that they care about their audience and sparking a connection.
Keep in mind that reviews stem from more than just completed transactions and experience with a product or service. Customers will leave reviews about various touchpoints, from positive call center interactions to website navigation.
Businesses have an opportunity to request feedback after making contact using a progressive dialer (click here to learn about what is a progressive dialer) or following an in-person transaction.
Another compelling reason to bring your review management to the future is the direct impact on SEO.
Google uses a variety of factors to rank website results, including relevant content and user experience.
However, online reviews also play a significant role in local SEO. Having more online reviews than the competition can be the deciding factor in which business gets listed first after a search query.
It’s human nature to click the first result on a SERP (search engine results page) — review management can ensure the first result is you.
Stand Apart from the Competition
The unfortunate reality of business ownership today is that your product is likely far from unique. Numerous other businesses are probably offering any service or solution you offer.
As with rankings on SEO, having more (ideally positive) reviews can be the deciding factor between your business and the competition.
Not all reviews are positive, and that’s fine. Negative feedback presents an opportunity for targeted improvement.
If you see numerous people complaining about poor communication or slow processing times, you know where to focus.
Positive reviews can also highlight future opportunities. Satisfied customers might use keywords and offer expansion ideas that can add value to your offerings and drive profits in the future.
Build Trust Throughout the Sales Funnel
84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends and family members.
Having online reviews that are continuously refreshed and updated can help build trust throughout the sales funnel.
While someone in the awareness stage might not be interested in purchasing yet, seeing positive feedback will encourage them to keep reading.
Retained customers will enjoy being a part of something, and are more likely to pass along recommendations based on the collective experience.
If your business isn’t already actively pursuing and managing online reviews, it’s time to get started.