Think of the last time you went on vacation, or maybe you're planning one right now. I would bet some Bitcoin that you visited at least one review site, or looked at reviews of your hotels or places you're looking to visit. Am I right?
Planning vacations is only one small part of today's "review economy." I define "review economy" by how consumers purchase goods and services in the 21st century, using reviews and ratings to decide on specific purchases. Ninety-two per cent of US consumers now read online reviews for local businesses, and about half of those consumers formed an opinion after only 1-3 reviews! (source: BrightLocal) Imagine how quickly opinions can form about your business or products.
Here's a few items to remember about living in a "review economy."
Reviews come from customers.
It's easy to forget that reviews come from our customers, and not any Joe Shmoe off the street. In our continuous focus on new sales and new customers, we lose focus on existing customers. If you make an effort to get your existing customers to make an online review, getting new customers will be that much easier!
Ask your customers for reviews.
Yes, you read that right. While this may come off to you as asking people to laugh at your own joke, studies show that only 1 in 10 Americans "always" or "almost always" leave reviews. Just goes to show how important it is to encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business.
Reviews drive traffic to your website.
If you look up reviews for the latest tv or other gadget, you'll probably end up on Amazon.com. Why? Because each product has hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews. Now think about your business and the products or services people will be searching for on the web. Will they find reviews on your business? Or will they more likely find reviews of your product on someone else's website? Or worse, reviews from a direct competitor? The more online reviews you have for your business, the more likely search engines will show your website in results. (source: LocalSEOGuide)
Bad reviews can help your business.
Customers spend more than five times as long on site when they interact with bad reviews, trust the reviews they see far more, and convert nearly 85% more often. (source: ReeVoo) The reality of online reviews is that every business will receive negative reviews, you can't make everyone happy. It's how you and your business respond to those reviews that can make a difference.
Reviews are the new Word of Mouth.
You've heard the old adage: "The best advertising is word of mouth." Guess what? 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Your customers and potential customers see reviews as a review from a friend, not just some anonymous person on the internet. So what are you doing to encourage the 21st Century version of word of mouth marketing?
Moving forward with online reviews.
Don't worry if you can't do everything right away; the current state of online reviews evolved over the life of the internet. Start with one thing first and go from there! Instead of reacting to the periodic negative review, you'll now be proactively seeking reviews from the people who love you best: your customers.
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