Can Online Reviews Really Increase Sales?

online reviews marketing initiatives

Your Marketing Initiatives: Determine the Importance of Online Reviews to Your Sales

How often do you find yourself choosing to watch the Netflix shows with the highest ratings, or browsing Amazon for 5-star product listings? Online reviews are changing the way that we utilize services and shop for products while on the web.

Decision making has become a community-based and public endeavour, and positive reviews have the power to boost your sales and increase your professional profile.

What are Online Reviews?

Online reviews are publicly developed and generated opinions of a product or service through an online platform. There are various websites dedicated to the production and encouragement of customer reviews of a company or organization, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook and Google + Local.

These online reviewing platforms allow a business to build trust with the public and increase their sales through trust and a positive rapport. After all, an online review is a potential customer’s first point of interest in understanding a service or product from other customers’ experiences.

From a marketing standpoint, online reviews are of the utmost importance. Google monitors online reviews on a multitude of different review sites and even hosts one of their own. Reviews are like third-party endorsements of your product or service. These help Google to understand if you really do sell what you say you do and how well you do it.

***What do your online reviews say? Click through and choose I want to see what my online reviews say. You’ll have your free report and will know in 60 seconds.***

How Online Reviews Reflect on Your Company

Companies stand to benefit greatly from online reviews – whether these are positive, or negative. If a potential customer notices a certain company has a 5-star rating on Google or other search engines, the more likely they are to feel comfortable learning more about and contacting that business. Most people are results-driven, want to work with the best and will take the route most likely to lead them to a positive experience and outcome.

Negative reviews also have the potential to help your business develop and grow. You can learn a lot about what you could do better – whether it is in the service you provide, or the product(s) you are selling. Negative reviews allow you to reflect on your business performance and make changes where necessary.

Let’s go a little further with negative reviews – not all of them are harmful. Let’s say you’re looking up a restaurant locally and a review says “Great food, amazing service but not at all suitable for family dining. Leave the kids at home if you’re planning to eat here.” This sounds negative, perhaps. However this review could be very helpful to those with families – they’ll move along to eat somewhere else – and those looking for a kid-free dining experience may very well book a reservation this evening.

Uptick Marketing has compiled more reasons why online reviews are important to your businesses.

Generating Positive Online Reviews

There are multiple ethical and organic methods of generating online reviews:

  • Ask! Just ask. Once the service is complete or the product is purchased, ask if your customers will leave you a review.Explain to them that online reviews help those who are not yet familiar with your business feel more comfortable with taking a chance on you once they learn about the positive experiences previous customers have had and are willing to share.
  • Make it easy! Most of your customers want to help and want to leave you a great review. It’s just that they get busy, or it isn’t always that straight forward to figure out how to leave a review as every site is different.By placing a pop-up on your website after a customer completes a purchase, or including a link to a review page in an email or in your next newsletter allows your clients to help each other out and give you honest feedback on your service or product. Most people will be happy to leave a review particularly if you make it very easy for them to do so.
  • Pay attention! Be actively involved in all reviews left for your business. Say a simple “thank you” (in writing – most review sites give the business the chance to respond to all reviews) for positive reviews, and let them know that their input is valued.Attending to your reviews is even more important when responding to negative reviews. If possible, reach out to these individuals in a more personal fashion – via email, or perhaps even a phone call – to get to the root of their unhappiness and show that you want your business to serve them as best as possible. Some review sites alert you to negative reviews before they are published online. This allows you the chance to get to the bottom of the problem and correspond with the customer to make it right.

How Online Reviews Can Increase Your Sales

This article explains how to use reviews during each stage of the sales process.

Reviews are trust marks, proof and shows that others have had the good experience your potential customers wish to have with your business. Knowing the opinions and experiences of others takes away the fear and uncertainty of taking the leap to do business with your company.

Jen Kelly is a marketing consultant in Toronto. She leads New Initiatives Marketing Inc. (NIM) an outsourced marketing agency serving clients in Canada and the USA. Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation about how the right marketing can help your business grow, and how online reviews would support your business.

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