How much is your business affected by your online reputation? A ton. According to BrightLocal’s latest survey, 92% of consumers read online reviews.
While many small businesses rely on “word-of-mouth”, word-of-mouth is now plastered all over the Internet. And most people leave online reviews if they’ve had a very good experience or a very bad experience.
If you want to encourage clickthroughs, or physical visits, you need good reviews. In a nutshell, it’s the power of social proof. People need reassurance and confirmation that their actions are the right ones.
So, when people are thinking about buying a particular camera, seeing an average review rating of 4 stars, or reading positive reviews may provide the extra push they need.
For local searches, if you see a restaurant with an average score of 4.6 from 465 reviews… then it looks like a safe choice. View the full post… searchenginewatch.com
Reviews first started with restaurants, but quickly moved to contractors and other local businesses, commercial products, etc. I know people who won’t buy anything new without checking the reviews on Amazon first.
So here is what you should do…
Promote: Don’t be shy, ask your best customers/clients to submit an online review of their experience with your business.
Facilitate: Make it easy to leave an online review
Monitor: Stay abreast of your online reviews
Interact: Respond to online reviews, both good and bad.
Play by the rules: No ‘fake’ reviews – don’t buy reviews from places like FIVERR, don’t coax your family or employees to leave reviews, don’t bribe your clients/customers with giveaways to leave a review.
Of course, as a small business owner, if you are running a poor business there’s not much you can do. These days, you can’t hide it forever. Use your online reputation as an incentive to correct any mistakes you or your staff are committing.
We use a system that, in addition to monitoring reviews, can place a review page on a client’s website. If the review is a 1 to 3 star, the review stays in our system and can be replied to by the client. But, if it’s a 4 or 5 star review the reviewer is prompted to post the review online. That’s what I mean by “reputation management”.
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