Online Reviews Matter to Your Business
Why do online reviews matter to your business? Over the last few marketing tips, we have been discussing the myths of referral marketing and how to create a successful word-of-mouth marketing campaign. In the not-so-distant past, a stranger’s recommendation would have held little weight in our decision-making process. We looked to friends and family for product and company reviews and recommendations. But this all changed very quickly as people started looking to the internet for information on what and where to buy. Anymore, online reviews have to be considered as a huge aspect of any word-of-mouth marketing strategy.
The Power of Online Reviews
Within a decade, we went to thinking that a stranger’s opinion would be absurd to take into account, to actively seeking out semi-anonymous reviews from someone named Tom34 or Cat_Lover1005 (apparently, there are a lot of cat lovers). Online reviews now play a huge part in our decision-making process. In fact, if one friend told us to check out a great restaurant but 10 people wrote a bad online review, we would be more likely to accept the online reviews over the friend’s recommendation. Recent studies have shown that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends (INC.com). That means if more online reviews disagree with your friend, we’re more likely to accept the reviews, despite the trust and relationship we have with the friend. We’ll just write it off, thinking that the friend got lucky with a positive experience or vice versa.
Online reviews are not just for big companies either. They are just as, if not more, important for small businesses. 97% of people read reviews for local businesses and, when searching for a local business, 60% of customers check Google My Business for reviews (Review42). These figures are even bigger when taking into account Yelp and Facebook reviews.
Word-of-Mouth vs. Online Reviews
In reality, there is very little distinction between word-of-mouth and online reviews. Today, the two have merged into one. Online reviews matter to your business because people are actively seeking them out. They show up everywhere and actively affect how people think about your business and their willingness to purchase from you. In a lot of ways, online reviews are much more powerful than old-school word-of-mouth referrals. A personal referral reaches just a few individuals while online reviews can reach hundreds, even thousands, of potential customers.
How to Generate Positive Online Reviews
Generating a steady stream of positive online reviews is vital for success. 85% of consumers believe online reviews older than three months are irrelevant (Review42). That means you need an active and focused strategy to encourage happy customers to give you a shout-out online through a review. But how do you accomplish this? For a quick reference, go back and take a look at Marketing Tip #10: Successful Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Many of the same tactics can be used to ask for and generate positive online reviews. Ready to learn more? Read 5 Easy Ways to Increase Positive Online Reviews