Online reviews: a key element of marketing

By Megan Arevalo, Website Builder

There are many elements of online marketing, from social media to paid advertising, but one area that is often overlooked by business owners and marketers or simply left to develop by itself is online reviews.

Public feedback from customers on your own website or review sites is a powerful form of social proof. It tells potential customers that the business is active, has a certain degree of popularity, and if the reviews are mostly positive – that the business is what it says it is and does what it says it does.

In fact having no reviews at all can have more of a negative impact on attracting customers or clients than a few negatives among the positives.

Think about it – would you want to be a guinea pig going in blind for a product or service, or one of many customers trying a business that may have had some faults along the way but is generally favored by the public?

A new infographic from Website Builder presents several important bits of data that prove to foster online reviews should be a key element of any business’ marketing strategy.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important points:

Build Brand Trust by Responding to Reviews

A business needs to be active within its online review footprint because it demonstrates to existing customers and future customers that they care about people’s opinions and experiences.

This is even more important when you receive a negative review, which could turn away 22% of consumers that read it. Furthermore, negative reviews featured prominently in the Google search results could cause a business to lose 70% of potential customers!

The good news is that if you’re seen to address a negative review, losses are greatly reduced. In fact in the retail sector when businesses respond, a third of negative reviewers either deleted their comments or replaced them with a positive review.

68% of the highly coveted millennial demographic say they trust online reviews, which is around double that of TV commercials. Likewise, consumers are 12 times more likely to trust reviews over a business’ own descriptions or sales copy.

If you want to build trust then reviews are integral.

But, Not All Reviews Are Equal

Having some form of public feedback is better than none, but some reviews carry more weight than others. For example, at the bottom of the heap are unverifiable testimonials that you promote on your own website. This is such a played out the form of sales copy that it might even have a negative effect – people assume they’re fake even if they aren’t.

The next best option is to allow users of your site to leave reviews directly beneath the product or service page itself. According to the data consumers who view such user-generated content show a 133% higher conversion rate.

It’s even better to have a presence on third party review sites like Google Business, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Glassdoor; or social media platforms like Facebook.

Because you have less control over the content, it gives the comments more legitimacy.

Warning: Don’t fall into the trap of buying or publishing fake reviews. Consumers aren’t stupid and can often spot reviews that are too good to be true or similarities between multiple fake reviews. Even if nobody can tell, it’s not worth the risk of exposure.

Bottom Line: Reviews Increase Sales

The goal of marketing is to inspire consumers to purchase your product or service. A positive online review profile increases sales by an average of 18%, thanks to the trust and social proof they build.

According to Google business listings that had at least 3-star reviews took 41 out of 47 clicks, and 50 or more reviews per product can result in a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.

Find the infographic below, and read more about online reviews at Website Builder.

Megan Arevalo is a writer and the community director at websitebuilder.org

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