Are your online reviews killing your website traffic? It’s true — many customers won’t click if they see your reviews are less-than-favorable.
When is the last time you felt strongly enough about a product or service to leave an online review? While some people do it as a matter of course for every restaurant, doctor’s office and retail establishment they visit, most people only take the time to review something when they were either extremely pleased with the service or over-the-top mad about their experience. Unfortunately, this can result in some pretty painful online reviews, but does it really impact the traffic to your website — and ultimately your business revenue? You might be surprised to learn that more than 95% of people aged 18-34 read reviews for local businesses before making a decision and 86% of all consumers do the same. Still think reviews don’t matter?!?
When customers leave your business, it can be challenging to know if they’re satisfied with their goods and services. It may not be until you read an online review that you find the uber-polite professional who left your office with a smile is now posting to all their friends on social media about the horrid experience that they had. In general, people are not fans of direct conflict and may leave their poor feedback in a very visible and damaging way for your business — through online reviews. Yelp, Google and many other sites provide an easy way to aggregate both positive and negative comments about your business, all of which can be visible from within a Google search of your business. Google adores reviews and according to Moz data, their search algorithm could be impacted by up to 9% by consumer reviews. Google wants to present the most trusted and relevant search results and one of the best ways to do that is to listen to the audience: your consumers.
As you can imagine, if Google takes up nearly 10% of its algorithm to focus on your reviews, a few poor reviews can drop you significantly lower in the all-important search engine results page. Reviews are a vital part of your SEO strategy, and it’s challenging to bounce back from negative reviews in the past. One of the things new customers are looking for is the responsiveness of the business to this type of feedback. If you watch your main review sites carefully and audit for positive and negative reviews, you can offer timely feedback that shows you recognize there are issues and you are taking steps to solve them in the future. This can help turn a negative review into a positive, encouraging new customers to take a chance and click through to your website.
Did you know that a Harvard study shows that a one-star increase on Yelp can lead to a 5-9% increase in sales? That’s what you call a direct correlation, and it makes reviews fully relevant and worth working for. Fortunately, those same customers who are ready to spout off about a negative experience are also surprisingly willing to post a positive review — but only if you ask. Up to 68% of consumers will take the time to review your product or service, and all you have to do is ask! Your marketing strategy should include a simple tactic that some of the best businesses in the world use (think Amazon): send a quick followup note via email requesting that customers leave a review on your preferred platform. When you flood the web with positive reviews, your business is more likely to rank higher and receive more high-quality traffic than a competitor who is not focused on improving their online reputation.
The moral of the story is that reputation still matters, even in a world where digital rules the day. In decades past, word of mouth reputation was what needed to be protected and that truly hasn’t changed as we edge into the future. Protecting the online reputation of your business is relatively straightforward and that quick automated email after a sale may be your very best selling tool — and the least expensive marketing tactic that you deploy!