How important are Online Reviews and how to boost them?

Local search and reviews impacts the major part of your valuable customer’s journey, who is out looking for a product/service that you provide.

Do you know that over 50% of all local searches end in a purchase and 80% of local searches on mobile phones get converted. Now let’s talk about the ways in which the reviews help customers find your storefront/website and how you can make the most out of this critical channel.

Importance of Online Reviews

Ensure Visibility

When you are being searched through Google, the reviews play a vital role in determining your visibility in the local search. We cannot determine which aspect is the most important player in the search (number, average rating, recency). But positive quality reviews will impact your “page placement” in organic search. Poor or less reviews will definitely affect your page rank and give in the positioning to competitors.

What makes it even more complicated?

Google’s user interface! It’s a buzz these days and have become very common, especially in the local search. Google allows users to filter results based on the review scores.

It simply means that visibility is a product of search engine’s algorithm and also a review doorway set by the user. All this is happening before the customer is even aware of your existence or you offering what he needs.

Do we like what we are seeing?

Let’s say your listings are visible, but poor or less reviews are shown upfront. Do you think the customer will click on your website with almost nil reviews or poor reviews, than the other website who is boasting their positive reviews?

comScore’s 7th annual Local Search Study has brought these statistics into limelight:

● 92% of consumers read online reviews

● 68% say positive reviews makes them trust a local business more

● Star rating is the number one factor used by customers to judge a service/project within seconds

● Only 13% of consumers consider a business with a 1 or 2-star rating

Visibility with good reviews is enough to make your potential customer come to your website. In order to win a customer and become their preferred choice, you have to bring positive reviews to the forefront. Which means, you have to manage your reviews actively.

Review Management Platform

Now that you understand–reviews are important enough to get you customers and that you should include it in your marketing strategy, let’s move to the next part.

Review Management–it isn’t easy, agreed. But don’t make the mistake of considering it invincible, because it’s not!

For you to take complete control over your review, you will require a review management platform. You can find plenty out there with a variety of price points.

But, in order to be effective, remember these five points; your review management must–

● Provide an overall dashboard that allows you to see the progress

● Integrate reviews from the other major aggregators such as Facebook, Google etc

● Help you develop an overall strategy

● Allow you to respond to the responses easily

● Highlight the incoming reviews to allow for a prioritized response

How can you maximise your review strength ?

These five tips can help you get the most out of your efforts in actively managing your reviews.

1. While selecting the review management platform, check for the review acquisition products and services. Monitoring and responding to reviews is only one part of the entire plan. Your must strategize on acquiring those positive reviews.

2. Utilize the members from social media, SEO and operations and build a cross-functional team for your review management strategy. Everyone of those hold a critical POV and will play an important role in devising and executing a good strategy.

3. Prioritize your focus through your platform. Check where your current customers are posting reviews, Facebook, Quora etc. Which review site can impact your domain?

4. Remember, many key customer touch points occur offline. Use customer journey mapping and collaborate to your operations and other team members to identify customers key touch points in order to ask and enable reviews.

5. Last but not the least–never miss an opportunity to ask for reviews. Don’t be one of those marketers whose customer journey ends with the delivery of the product/service. There are many ways to get the feedback, use email, customer service, automated ranking calls, delivery confirmations etc. Every small opportunity to extract a good review is important to your business in the big picture.

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