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Online reviews need to be a strategy in your digital marketing toolbox. Reviews from customers impact other prospective customers. They drive decisions as to whether they should visit your business or not, and are now more prevalent on search results pages. That means a lot of eyes can see what is being said about your company online.

The influence that reviews have on shoppers is staggering. More than 87% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions (BrightLocal, 2020). Businesses are told to get more reviews on review websites to keep attracting new customers.

With so many review websites out there, where does a business even begin? Your business may be afraid to manage customer reviews on review sites as you may not want to end up in one of these situations:

  • Zero reviews
  • Zero recent online reviews
  • Negative online reviews
  • Unmanaged online reviews across multiple review websites

Unfortunately, your business is missing out. This lack of free online word of mouth hurts your business through inaction, because reputation drives conversion.

1) Business reviews and social posts help shape your company’s online reputation

One of the worst things your business can do is ignore online reviews and social posts. Sure, you can make a mistake when handling your business’s online reputation. However, it can also be easy to recover if done properly, and especially with an apology. A negative business review can damage your company’s reputation, but you can repair that damage with a thoughtful response. If you want to help shape the reputation of your company online, then you need to get into the conversation.

2) Business reviews provide valuable feedback for your business

It can be easy for your business to take negative comments to heart. It is more important to recognize that reviews are constructive feedback. They help your company gauge performance. View it as free advice on how you can improve, and we all know there is always room for improvement.

A lot can be learned even from positive business reviews. Your business can see which products or services you should be boasting and which need work. You can even discover which employees rock at customer service.

3) Your business reviews can now appear in search results

Search engines have caught on to the popularity of reviews, and now display them more prominently. When a user performs a search on Google, Google will find and possibly display review summaries from review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Below is an example of a search result for Popeye’s Chicken.

How can businesses get more reviews?

There are a number of ways your business can ask for more business reviews, including:

Three important review website management tips:

1) Remember to add or claim listings on the top review sites

  • It’s a good idea to add or claim a listing or business profile on the most popular review sites. Make sure your business fits the niche.
  • Correct your business’s listing information.
  • Start getting more business reviews!

2) Keep asking customers for reviews

Asking the average customer for a review can be hard work. It is often easiest to get reviews from consumers who are either really happy or really unhappy with the level of service they received. Busy customers may forget unless they are asked or reminded to leave feedback.

3) Customers are more open to leaving reviews on review sites than your website

Why not just ask for business reviews or testimonials on your business’s website? Well, asking consumers to leave a review on your business’s website seems screened and inauthentic. Ask consumers to leave reviews on a trusted review site. Since the review site is a third party, it feels more open for customers to leave an honest, unbiased review.

Business reviews are here to stay

In conclusion, there’s no getting away from business reviews. The good news is that there are methods to get more business reviews, as well as effectively manage reviews from customers. Also, businesses needn’t fear negative online reviews, as there are ways to negate the effect of negative reviews.