By Grayson Kemper, Senior Content Writer for Clutch
People value and increasingly reference online reviews for your company during their vetting process for services providers.
Reviews are the online form of word-of-mouth marketing. Evidence shows that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
According to a recent survey, almost all consumers (97 percent) take customer reviews into account as they are making purchases. In addition, customers spend over 31 percent more on a business that has predominantly positive reviews on their site.
These statistics demonstrate that online reviews can both influence whether a customer decides to partner with or purchase from your company and how much they are willing to pay to do so.
Given these stakes, your business needs to use online reviews to engage people online and improve your public relations. If you can do so, you open the opportunity to make a positive impression of your business, better promote your products, and generate more sales.
How Online Reviews Can Benefit Your Business
Reviews can improve your relationship with customers. Customers trust and often engage with online reviews. Reviews also can result in increased customer conversions. Customers who read positive reviews about a business have a 133 percent higher conversion rate.
As clients browse the reviews posted on your site, they will gain more confidence in your products and business as a whole.
Negative reviews can actually work in your favor as well. As long as you handle negative reviews properly, you can prove that your business values excellent customer service.
Online Reviews and Directory Sites Help SEO and Web Traffic
There also are SEO benefits to online reviews.
All major search engines offer reviews, such as Google Reviews, particularly for local listings. Allowing your site to be listed and reviewed increases the chances that people encounter and click through to it, which increases your website traffic.
In addition to search engine reviews, you can list your company on directory sites such as Angie’s List or The Manifest. These sites generally rank well in search engine results for a broad array of terms, which presents the opportunity to earn secondary traffic. They also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the results you can produce for your clients, a crucial factor of consideration for every potential client.
How to Turn Online Reviews Into PR Tools
Your business should encourage your customers to leave reviews on your site.
Client reviews largely contribute to your company’s reputation. Positive reviews can increase your company’s credibility. Even if you have negative reviews, you can improve your image if you can demonstrate a sincere willingness to fix an issue or improve on past mistakes.
Online reviews are a powerful marketing tool, as they play a significant role in influencing customer purchase decisions. If handled correctly, reviews can be used as a PR tool to improve the reputation of your business.
Grayson Kemper is a senior content writer for Clutch, a B2B research and reviews firm in Washington, D.C. He focuses on marketing and emerging technologies research.