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A successful business is one with a stellar reputation. Their customers know exactly what to expect and receive the same service each and every time.

Word gets around and those positive experiences begin to help your business grow. But when many businesses are marketing online, it’s difficult to spread the word on your own.

That’s where user reviews come in handy. Whether they are good or bad, the reviews tell a story about your product or service.

A story that your business cannot provide. It must come from outside sources.

Keep reading to learn more about why reviews should become an important part of your online marketing strategy.

Sharing the Experience

When you walk into a store you can touch the merchandise. You can hold it in your hands and speak to a sales professional about it.

Often, that’s enough to help you decide whether or not the product is for you. But not always. Sometimes, it helps to get extra feedback.

There are times, like when there’s a new restaurant in town, where you can get feedback from friends and family who have already tried out the restaurant.

But sometimes, you’re trying to purchase or try something no one you know has any experience with. That’s when user reviews come in handy.

Your Customers Want to Read Your User Reviews

90% of people go online to do research before they make a purchase. Even if the purchase is made inside a store.

84% of those people reading the user reviews trust what they’re reading as if they were receiving a recommendation from a personal friend.

The more positive reviews your business gains, the more trust it gains. At least 74% of people reading positive reviews feel they can trust a business more.

But if there are too many negative reviews, your company may lose business. If a negative review is found on the first page of a search, they’ll lose up to 22% of their business.

That number rises to 44% if there are just two negative user reviews found on the first page of a search.

Where People Go to Find Reviews of Products

Your website is not the only place consumers will find user reviews for products. The most popular site to read reviews is Amazon.

Even if your business doesn’t sell its products on Amazon, if you sell the same products, people will do their research there, first.

The other most popular places consumers visit online to find reviews is Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Having positive reviews about your business found elsewhere online will help improve your SEO.

Don’t think that having a page on your website for user reviews is enough. The more places your products are reviewed, the better it is for your business.

Customers will also look for reviews on local sites specific to your region. They’ll also look at sites related to your industry.

Most Consumers Only Read, but Don’t Write Reviews

The ironic thing about user reviews is that most consumers don’t write them. Even on Amazon where leaving reviews is often encouraged only about 0.5-3% of consumers are leaving reviews.

Which means only a small portion of people are making a huge impact on everyone else’s purchasing decisions.

Always encourage customers to write reviews for your products and services online. By doing so, you gain a few benefits.

You’ll gain the trust of other consumers if positive reviews are left. You’re also cushioned if you have a lot of positive reviews and someone leaves a negative one.

If you only have a few positive reviews and a negative one is then left, this could seriously damage your online reputation. Encourage reviews.

But not only that, reviews are a great way for your business to grow into a better, stronger business. It’s an opportunity to listen to what your consumers are saying and make necessary changes within the business.

Changes you may never have known about if you didn’t encourage people to leave reviews.

What to do Next to Increase Reviews Left on Your Site

There are some simple steps your business can take to ensure that more people leave reviews on your site.

Consider using a star rating system. It’s easy for customers to simply point and click on the number of stars they feel your product deserves.

Making it easy for consumers ensures people are more likely to take a few seconds out of their day to leave a review.

For those businesses who are brick-and-mortar, ask your customers to leave a review immediately after they make a purchase. The USPS actually has their employees circle the website in front of their customers so you can review them when you get home.

Follow up with any and all reviews. If it’s a good review, thank them for taking the time to leave such a great review. If it’s not a good review, thank them and promise to make changes to ensure their experience is more positive next time.

If a customer gives a compliment and it’s not in the review section, contact them and ask that they provide an online review. Send them the link to make it easier for them.

Other Ways to Get Reviews

Ask your customers to leave you reviews on industry-specific sites. This will help give your company an edge over your competition.

When you send out your newsletter, include a link to leave a review. You can also add that same link to your email signature.

Don’t forget about social media. Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Company Pages both offer a place to provide feedback on your business. You can even install the LinkedIn Recommend button on your website to make it easier.

Get Help

Most companies aren’t large enough to afford an in-house marketing department. And most business owners aren’t marketing experts.

Which is why it makes sense to get help from a marketing company. We provide a variety of services to help ensure your business gets found online.

Don’t wait until your competition gets the better of you. Start separating your business from the pack now. Learn about our services here.