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Why Online Reviews Matter

Why Online Reviews Matter

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

Every business owner likes to see positive reviews from satisfied customers. Good reviews can be a real encouragement, helping you to see the ways in which your products or services have made someone’s life better.

Of course, reviews don’t exist just to help business owners feel good. They actually play a critical role in the consumer decision-making process; the reviews your business accumulates on Google, Facebook, and similar platforms can have a decisive impact on your bottom line. As such, being thoughtful in the way you court reviews, monitor reviews, respond to reviews, and utilize reviews is an important aspect of digital marketing.

What makes online reviews so important, exactly? Consider just a few reasons why business owners should take their reviews seriously.

The Importance of Online Reviews

Online reviews are essentially an example of “word of mouth” advertising.

Marketers and advertisers have always been clued into the power of “word of mouth.” Simply put, consumers put a lot of stock in recommendations and referrals they hear from others like them. Many a purchasing decision has been made based on the endorsement of a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or family member. These personal testimonies carry weight and generate trust in ways that other advertising methods never could.

Online reviews are essentially a digital extension of word of mouth, allowing consumers to hear what other buyers think about a particular product or service, in a way that tends to be viewed as authentic and trustworthy.

Reviews can create confidence.

Along the same line, online reviews can go a long way toward building confidence in a product or service.

Of course, one of the fears consumers have about buying anything is that it’s not going to work as advertised, that it’s going to be a “lemon,” that it’s going to be difficult to use, or that it’s not going to offer the necessary benefits.

Seeing testimonials from other consumers, attesting that the product or service does indeed do what it claims to, goes a long way toward empowering confident purchasing decisions.

Online reviews are part of the consumer journey.

Because reviews are an extension of word mouth, and because they can potentially inspire consumer confidence, it’s only logical that they have become an important part of the buyer’s journey. Specifically, reviews play a vital role in the research phase, as consumers seek products or services that can address their pain points or help them reach their goals.

In fact, studies have shown that as many as nine out of 10 consumers consult online reviews before making a major purchase. Because of this, business owners really can’t afford to be absent from online review platforms.

They also help with local SEO.

It’s not just consumers who love seeing online reviews. The Google search algorithms place a lot of stock in them, too.

In fact, reviews play a significant role in determining your business’s placement in the search rankings, especially for local searches.

This in itself is a sign of just how meaningful reviews can be: Google has imbued them with so much SEO clout precisely because they are relevant to consumers, and thus relevant to Google’s mission.

The bottom line: For businesses looking to bolster their local search visibility, accumulating online reviews is a critical step.

Negative reviews can be devastating.

Positive reviews can make a world of difference on behalf of your business… but regrettably, the same is also true of negative reviews.

This is simply an extension of how meaningful reviews are, how impactful they are to consumers, how they can make or break confidence in a purchase. Imagine: If you saw that a company had 10 reviews, with an average score of 4.8 out of 5, you’d probably feel pretty good about buying from them, assuming the business to be basically reputable and above-board. But if you saw a business with 10 reviews and an average score of 2.5, you’d think twice.

Indeed, even a single negative review can sometimes be enough to scare away potential customers, to shake their confidence, and to adversely impact your bottom line. This is what makes it so important to monitor and manage reviews effectively.

Reviews can provide an opportunity for service.

Of course, whether your reviews are good or bad, they always provide an opportunity to flex your customer service muscles. The way you respond to a review matters almost as much as the review itself, and if you ever do get a negative appraisal, you can seize it as a chance to exhibit empathy for your customer. Be prompt and polite in trying to make things right.

These are just a few examples of how reviews matter for your business. As you consider tools and strategies for managing your digital notices, we welcome you to contact enCOMPASS. We’d love to chat with you further about the options available for attracting positive reviews, using them to enhance your brand’s reputation.