Traditionally businesses have grown organically, via grassroots marketing and word of mouth. Growth was slower and incremental, but since the internet has reached a critical mass, things have changed drastically. Consumers are no longer relying solely on their friends, family, or coworkers for recommendations. They now have access to recommendations and reviews from thousands of individuals in their community at the push of a button.
It’s amazing to see how a review from a well-respected Yelper or blogger can make or break a business. That’s why it is important for your small business to take control of its online reputation. If you aren’t proactively soliciting reviews and curating positive experiences your customers have with your business, you leave yourself vulnerable to exposure from a bad review. Online reviews shouldn’t be viewed as a nice to have tactic, but rather an integral part of your business’ growth strategy. Below are three ways that online review monitoring can help increase your business’ bottom line.
Reach for the stars
When you’re dealing with a perfectly competitive market like automotive sales, any way to differentiate your business from the competitor could mean the difference between winning and losing a customer. Customers are looking for an easy, painless purchasing process and will scour review sites prior to visiting a business, looking for the best fit. One factor that has proven to be important to customers is the overall star ranking. In fact, according to Harvard Business School, a 1-star increase in your overall rating can result in a 5 to 9% increase in total revenue.
Inspire purchases, drive loyalty
According to a recent article in Econsultancy businesses with 50 or more reviews per product can see an increased conversion rate of nearly 15 percent. Additionally, online reviews can produce an average sales uplift of 18%. This means that business reviews do more than just increase awareness, but also have a significant influence on purchase decisions. Soliciting reviews from customers shows that you have an interest in and value their opinion, which will hopefully, in turn, engender loyalty and increase the lifetime value of your customers.
Turn browsers into buyers
Online reviews are also a good way to push consumers to take the step from browsing to buying. As the Bazaarvoice Conversation Index points out, visitors to your site that interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting your site. The best way to ensure you have an adequate number of reviews to answer potential customers questions and concerns is to actively ask your customers for reviews.