Online reviews range from just about every mood out there. But you can rightfully say that they are all essential in improving all aspects of your brand in the online world, even the negative ones. Whatever business you have, an online review can have a tremendous impact only if you will leverage them correctly.
Don’t worry about bad customer reviews. They are as helpful as positive ones. As a smart entrepreneur, you have to be open-minded with what people are saying about your business. Take them as constructive criticism for the growth of your small business to adjust to the demands of your target market. Because along the way, it will help you boost your online presence and of course, your revenue. It’s what every businessperson aims.
What is the Review Management?
Review management is an effective online marketing strategy, especially on SMEs. This strategy allows small or local businesses to track, manage, and engage in the feedback that customers leave about their business on review sites like Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc.
Are Online Reviews Important?
Did you know that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses? That’s how influential online reviews are. Internet users and potential customers consider your business more credible than your competitors if you have more online reviews on your page.
As the newest edition of yesterday’s word-of-mouth, online reviews bring brand exposure to big and small businesses. Having online reviews from online consumers increases your company’s online visibility, whether poor or excellent. These reviews help your brand rank high in search engines. Especially when you have great reviews, you will surely stand out in “best…in…” searches.
The technique here is that your company will not be the one to find customers, but let potential customers find YOU. You get to achieve that by increasing your business’ brand visibility through different platforms on the world wide web.
You can also use your reviews to find keywords for your product and services. You can identify what kind of words people or potential customers use to search for your business by analyzing how they describe you in their reviews.
By doing so, you will get a better picture or idea to improve your product positioning, long-tail keyword targeting, content creation, or tags. Identifying keywords will again help you rank higher in search engines.
Why Does Online Review Management Matter?
It matters because your brand’s reputation is your business’ most valuable asset. That’s why owners of small businesses need to monitor brand mentions and reviews to protect their brand’s integrity and image.
Online review management is not that complex once you have a plan in place on how to manage customer feedback from your different platforms. You will start to see more reviews coming your way if you continue to impress your consumers. Make it easy for your customers to show their approval of your brand.
The Beginner’s Guide
This article doesn’t necessarily mean it’s exclusively for beginners. Experienced or not in the business industry, this read is all for you. Whether small or big, a business can’t dodge online feedback. And they shouldn’t. Below, you will read how to manage customer feedback.
? Gather your listings
Business listings are one great way to acquire your online reviews. It’s the first and best place to start when you’re leveraging online reviews for SEO. When you talk about what’s essential for leveraging SEO, local citations on review sites is one of them. You must gather as many as you can because a lot of consumers pay attention to businesses that have a variety of online reviews that they can base their decisions off. And because we are talking about boosting your SEO campaign, search engines like Google prioritizes giving higher rankings to businesses that have a broad reach and more visible. What’s more, claiming business listings on review sites are for free, and they give you an authority in the industry.
Examples of review sites where you can claim business listings are Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Facebook, FourSquare, and Yelp. Equally important is keeping your contact details consistent across all platforms to not cause any confusion or negative impact on your SEO campaign.
? The positives boost online reputation
When you receive a positive review, it satisfies the businessman in you. While most marketers suggest responding more to positive reviews, you also have to choose if you will answer all of them or the only ones that stand out. Some marketers respond to reviewers privately to maintain the genuine feeling of the response. However, other sites leave you no choice but to answer them publicly. In responding to positive reviews, avoid rewarding gift vouchers or advertising something, at all costs.
Online reviews are a brilliant way to boost your credibility in the eyes of your online customers. It’s a solid social proof that your brand is legit and lots of people trust your business and everything it brings to the table. Remember, what you are building online is your brand’s credibility and trust from your customers. It’s not your product or the services you offer that needs promotion. The whole brand itself requires it.
In this industry, branding is what’s more important. You can establish the quality of your product or service right after acquiring inquiries from internet users and visitors to your webpage.
? The negatives provide valuable insights
The fear of negative online reviews is real for many businesses. They are afraid that having negative reviews will drive potential customers away and might end a budding relationship with an existing client. Fortunately, managing negative customer reviews is now possible as it is also a part of the functions of online review management tools. Most importantly, staying calm and having an open mind is what you need when you encounter negative feedback. Make sure to assess if those reviews are worth responding since you also have to be wary of fake reviews.
If you go through your business’ online reviews, you can see suggestions on how to improve your product’s quality and customer experience. Customers can get very creative and insightful, but you must only consider those you feel earnest enough that’s worthy of your time.
Encourage customers to rate their experience of the services you have provided them along with mentions of your company to help you improve your rank in search results. Improvement of products and services is synonymous with running a business. You will not last long in the industry if you keep on providing the same thing to your consumers without constant improvement and evolution of your brand.
Take bigtime companies, for example. They stay relevant to people because they always consider what their customers think about their products and services, and online reviews are great sources to base off.
? Encourage more online reviews
Be proactive in encouraging positive reviews from your loyal customers. One way of doing this is by displaying the logos of every review site you joined on your website. You can also have a button that says “Review Us Now,” which redirects the customer to the review site.
If you have a new product or an improved quality of service, introduce it to your target audience. Avoid sending an email to your entire customer list and asking them to post positive reviews. Doing so will make the post appear forced and filtered. Also, getting positive reviews at the same time all at once will alert review platforms of spam.
However, you can still encourage online reviews through email. It’s important to be personal when sending them invites to post online reviews for your business when doing so. Your customers will appreciate it more when you mention their names or job titles. Addressing your customers by their first names will let them feel you, as a business owner, really know them personally. With just a mention of something close to their heart, your customers will sense that you took time personalizing the email you sent them. In no time, a response will appear in your email inbox.
Social media is also a great channel to invite your subscribers to submit online reviews. Launching a campaign with the sole mission of gaining online reviews is the go-to move. You can opt to generate posts that directly encourage your subscribers for online reviews. It increases your brand’s reputation in social media, which contributes to establishing trust between you and your loyal subscribers.
? Respond to your reviewers
Part of online review monitoring is to respond consistently to your customer feedback. It builds rapport with your loyal customers, and it makes them feel appreciated because a business company as busy as yours took the time to respond to their concerns.
Attending to positive reviews is just as important. Customers will keep engaging with your brand if you give attention to what they have to say online. You’ll never know, through time, they’ll be your brand advocates. It only takes a very thoughtful response from your company. It doesn’t necessarily require the business owner to be the one responding. Their thoughts can also be helpful for potential buyers who seek insights about the quality of your products or the way you handle your customers.
? Monitor your online reviews
To monitor your online reviews, you have to possess an online review management tool. It will help you understand more about your business and identify industry trends that you need to capitalize. A great idea on how to monitor your online reviews is by checking back on your review sites periodically and take time to respond to customers by saying your gratitude towards them or addressing issues from negative online feedback.
Because everything online is changing and always evolving, so should your online reputation. You will need to monitor your online reviews from time to time to keep in step with what people perceive your business to be. It is what the top brands in the world are doing to maintain their authority in the business industry. Continue to keep gathering and leveraging excellent customer feedback and engage with your customers all the time. You can build a community out of that while establishing that trustworthy image along the way.
To Sum Things Up
Whether you are a greenhorn in the online marketing world or not, there are aspects and methods to market your business that are underutilized. Leveraging online reviews and online review management are no exceptions. To further your growing business’ presence and brand influence, you must take advantage of your customer reviews.
Every conversation concerning your business and every mention of your brand online matters if you’re serious about building trust between you and your customers. Because what’s essential for small businesses is not acquiring a large number of customers, it’s brand loyalty that drives customers from coming back to your business. You must always aim for customer retention.
Elizabeth Walker is a professional digital marketer who prides herself on helping businesses reach their potential in the industry. She is currently a Marketing Outreach Specialist at Meegle. She manages everything that involves content marketing and SEO. When she’s not in the office, Elizabeth can be found in her home desk, writing helpful blogs and reading books. You can reach her on Twitter.