Online reviews can impact your reputation and eventually your whole business. That’s a fact. Want proof? According to research, a massive 80% of consumers can change their purchase decision after reading a negative review online. They do this even if the business in question was referred by a family or friend as a separate study by LMG showed that of those who searched online for referred businesses, 52% looked for reviews or ratings. Online reviews are that powerful.
But reviews aren’t always bad. In fact, they can spur new life into your business and even boost your bottom line. What impact they make – whether positive or negative – will depend on what actions you take today. See what we mean through a short video on online reputation management.
Negative Reviews Are Bad for Business
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. If bad reviews about you or your business are present online, then you need to do something about them. You can’t just sit there and hope prospect customers who find them will be fair in their judgment. They will base your reputation on what they see and read online. According to LMG, 87% of respondents search online for more information about a business that a friend or a family member referred. Also, 85% of consumers read online consumer reviews just to determine if a business is a “good business,” according to a BrightLocal survey.
Meanwhile, findings by Cone Research show that reading a negative review online can spur 80% of consumers to change their purchase decisions. That means if there’s one bad review about you out there online and people saw it, 8 out of 10 interested buyers would change their mind about your product or service. You don’t want to lose that much of your market to competitors, right?
Inevitable: People Read, Write Reviews
Here’s the sad truth: whether negative reviews about you online are true or not, consumers are bound to read and believe them. Various research and marketing firms have already conducted studies on this topic and their findings are similar. BrightLocal says 78% of Americans online use reviews to decide whether to purchase a product or not. Some 79% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Nielsen’s figure is a bit lower – with 70% trusting online reviews – but is still significant. Another respected research company, Forrester, says 71% of consumers trust online reviews.
People even use all types of devices to find more information about a business a friend or family referred. According to research by LMG, 41% use a laptop, 25% use a mobile phone, 25% use a desktop computer, and 8% use a tablet in their search. They will look for you and your reviews, whatever device they currently hold in their hands.
Not only do people seek out, read, and believe consumer reviews, they also write them! In fact, 50% of all Internet users aged 18 and above have left a review online. Needless to say, you cannot escape online ratings and reviews; you can only deal with them.
Be Positive: Seek Help from Happy Customers
While you cannot prevent customers from posting their opinions of your products or services online, you can encourage your happy customers to leave nice remarks about you on the Internet. You can also collect their positive statements and publish them online. You cannot use fake reviews.
The best way to dilute the effects of bad ratings is to have more positive ratings. A study by Dimensional Research found that 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their decision to buy. In the social media sphere, Chadwick Martin Bailey / iModerate Research Technologies found that 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.
Beyond Reviews: Online Reputation Management
To give prospects the best possible perception of your business, you need to start beating bad reviews with better ones. But that’s just the start. Online reputation management is more than just publishing genuine consumer reviews; it means giving you and your business a positive visibility anywhere on the web, from your own website, to search engines, to reviews sites, to social networks. Here are a few tips based on our experience with online reputation management:
• Always ask for initial consultation with an online marketing agency or reputation manager before you do business with them. This gives you an opportunity to feel whether you like to work with them or not. This is also the time to evaluate the agency’s knowledge on ORM.
• Seek reports. An in-depth web reputation analysis is crucial to know where you currently stand against your competitors. A keyword research report shows what keywords you need to target for the ORM campaign. Use these keywords for your articles, blog posts, and other content.
• Publish genuine consumer reviews only in relevant websites. Always take into consideration your niche, target market, and location in choosing where to publish the reviews.
• Optimize your social media accounts, especially Facebook and Twitter, so your “official” accounts become more visible than fake accounts or negative reviews that are out to ruin your reputation online. Then, join groups and discussions using your official accounts.
• If your website doesn’t have a blog yet, have it set up today and start publishing content that can outrank negative reviews about your business. Make sure the content uses the right keywords, is relevant to your target market, and will establish you as a trustworthy business.
• Finally, track everything. Know how many positive comments you were able to post in a particular timeframe. Know how many articles, blog posts, and press releases you published so you can track your progress. It’s nice to see ranking reports, too.
How We Manage Reviews & Your Reputation
We’re not shy to say that we are experts at online reputation management. We apply the tips above and do more. We start everything with research and back it up with reports. In between, we implement ethical and effective measures to ensure your positive media outrank negative reviews on Google. We use blogs, social media, and reviews sites to give you have a widespread, solid reputation all over the Internet. And best of all, we provide free in-depth consultation so we can analyze your business and target market – allowing us to prepare an ORM plan tailored to your business.
Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on online reputation management.