Social media and the advent of user-generated content online has revolutionized the way businesses attract new customers. Gone are the days of static advertising as the primary way to spread the word about your business. In its place are online reviews – today’s version of word- of-mouth referrals, but with much broader reach and impact.
Online Reviews Help You Get You Found Online
The proliferation of social media and online review sites (aka user generated content) represented a paradigm shift in how search engines index content and return search results. While we’ll never know the actual algorithms, we do know that online reviews are now indexed as well. This is a game changer for businesses with limited advertising and marketing budgets, leveling the playing field and providing a powerful tool to help companies get found in more local searches.
Establish Trust Among Strangers
According to the 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey, “Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.” This reinforces 2 important points about the impact of online reviews: 1) review volume matters and 2) reviews establish trust before a person ever visits your site or you store.
When online reviews match your company’s advertising and marketing, you’ve validated your brand, making you more trustworthy, and more appealing to online researchers.
Online reviews can alert you to problems you may not otherwise learn about, and gives you an opportunity to address the problem and thank your customer for bringing it to your attention. This is one of the hidden values to negative reviews.
When you engage with your online reviewers, you humanize your business and create a feeling of inclusiveness and community, which develops into loyalty. Customers will take pride in being your customer.
Online reviews affect every aspect of the buyer journey from first impression all the way through to creating a loyal base of happy, returning customers.