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Online Review Building Tips for 2019

The role which online reviews play in a buyer’s decision-making processes has steadily increased over the past few years. In a 2017 survey by Podium, it was revealed that approximately 60% of consumers look at online reviews at least once a week. Due to the power reviews now have in the marketplace and their ability to boost conversions, it is important to include them in your digital marketing strategy and a good starting point is our Online Review Building Tips for 2019.

How online reviews affect conversions

According to Bright Local’s most recent Local Consumer Review Survey, 91% of 18-34 year-olds (millennials) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. For this demographic especially, reviews are a form of social proof for the value that a product or service will provide. Positive reviews increase customer confidence that a product or service will help solve a problem or meet a need, while negative reviews reduce confidence.

Additional key statistics from the Bright Local survey are:

  • 86% of consumer read reviews for local businesses
  • Consumers will read 10 online reviews (on average) before feeling able to trust a local business
  • 40% of consumers will only take into account those reviews from the past 2 weeks
  • 57% of consumers will only use a business if they have 4 or more stars for their average rating
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews

Companies such as Amazon have understood the impact reviews have on product sales and consumer confidence which is why they utilize such a well-developed review system. For this same reason, an important aspect of digital marketing now includes a focus on building online reviews.

Tips for building reviews

  • Provide a truly fantastic service. Any business that provides subpar products, service, or customer interactions is naturally going to be prone to getting less than stellar reviews. While a business might not be able to update or change products, they can always focus on providing great customer service and positive customer interactions. Policies and procedures should be in place so that all employees are making the best efforts during customer interactions and touch points along with following up on issues and concerns. Once a business is set-up for positive feedback from customers then reviews should be pursued.
  • Understand the platforms – There are multiple places where people can leave reviews for your business aside from a business website if that element is part of the design. Directory listings, review sites like Yelp, and Google are basic starting points. It is important to be aware of what platforms are used for your type of business, learn about them and then use them as well to respond and interact with customers.
  • Monitor and respond consistently. When customers write a review, regardless of if it is positive or negative, a business should take the time to respond. That will show prospective customers that your business listens and also provides an opportunity to explain the other side of the story for any negative interactions or instances. All sites where reviews might be posted should be reviewed at least weekly If not more often. Tools such as Reputology can be used to help monitor online reviews rather than checking each site individually. For negatives reviews, avoid arguing and apologize if a mistake was made or clearly explain the events if the poster was mistaken. Fake reviews should be responded by asking for clarification of the time/date/event should be made to reflect that this interaction might not have taken place. Positive reviews should be responded to as well to thank customers for their patronage.
  • Consider social media accounts for reviews. For certain industries, customers consider what a social media profile reflects of a business as much or more than some review sites. For example, businesses in the food or hospitality industry should consider Instagram as it is a popular platform for reviews because people provide photos to reflect their experience which can be much more powerful than words.
  • Request reviews. Reviews can be asked for; however, each platform has specific terms and conditions that should be reviewed and followed. For example, while Yelp does not allow solicited reviews, you can link your website to your Yelp listing. Google states you cannot only request reviews from people who have had a positive experience. A business could request reviews on receipts, emails, or postcards to maximize online review building.
  • Use questions with review requests. By asking customers specific questions with a review request it can generate responses that will include keywords or topics your business might wish to accentuate. For example, asking, “Did you enjoy our outdoor seating area?” could generate responses that showcase the ‘outdoor seating’ your restaurant offers. Certain terms and keywords can help with local rankings as well as general relevance

The bottom line

The bottom line is that conversions are a critical aspect of any business. The more generated, often the healthier a business’s profits will be. Our list of online review building tips for 2019 is an excellent starting point to help your business generate more positive reviews and thus conversions.


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