According to research from Northumbria University, online customer reviews have more influence than most other marketing communications. Though customer reviews range in reliability and clarity, they do hold a powerful influence on customers’ behavior, and hence your brand performance. It is no secret that online customer reviews are significant, but how important are they to the success of your marketing campaign? Can they make or break a sale? Can the quantity or quality of online customer reviews have a substantial impact on your bottom line?
The number of customers who read and trust online reviews is increasing. According to a survey by BrightLocal, nearly 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, which is surprising considering most online reviews are posted by strangers. The same survey found that almost 12 percent of customers do not regularly read online customer reviews.
This means not offering or ignoring customer reviews is similar to depriving 88 percent of your buying population of the information they need to help them make buying decisions.
On-site and off-site ranking benefits
Allowing customer reviews on your business website can have a positive effect on your organic search rankings. For beginners, each new review about your product or service on your website increases the amount of unique content, thus improving chances of getting those pages ranked.
The number of positive reviews you have on third-party websites might have a bigger impact on your search engine rankings than the reviews on your own website. This is because Google’s search algorithm considers data from third-party sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. These sites tend to review complete businesses, rather than specific services or products, which has a higher impact on your rankings.
The more reviews you have on third-party sites, and the more positive they are, the higher likelihood you have at ranking in Google’s local 3-pack. In addition, some of the Google reviews can be included as “rich snippets” associated with your business.
Having more online reviews for a product may result in a higher conversion rate. This is because bad reviews can also have a positive impact on the conversion rate. A healthy mix of good reviews and bad reviews shows that you are not trying to hide anything, which makes the good reviews seem even more genuine. The more positive customer reviews you have, the more will be your conversion rate, only if the negative reviews do not overshadow the positive ones.
Do not ignore negative reviews
Negative reviews can damage your reputation. Almost 35 of customers say that negative reviews have the power to make them decide against a business. Of course, the quality and quantity of reviews also matter. If you have way too many bad reviews online, there is a way to turn things around. Negative reviews are an opportunity to improve and grow your business. If you address the customer’s problem publicly and try to resolve it to the best of your resources, potential customers will appreciate you for your attitude.
Online customer reviews are an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. It is vital for marketers to comprehend what makes online reviews helpful and how this process affects a customer’s buying decision. Reviews are often the only way for online shoppers to get unbiased feedback about a product or service. Make it simple for your potential customers to buy from your business.