The Value of Written Reviews for Online Reputation
Review and reputation management is a critical part of your branding and your local search engine optimization (SEO). Written reviews have more influence. The written reviews that you receive about your business, service, and products are powerful testaments for your online reputation. What makes written reviews so valuable, and how can you get more of them?
Five-Stars vs Written Review
Why is a written review a more powerful determinant of business success? What is it about the written review that connects potential customers more closely to your business?
A study conducted by Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management with collaboration from the University of Massachusetts – Boston studied more than a million reviews given to books, restaurants, and movies and discovered that regardless of the number of stars given on the review, it was the emotionality of the written review that predicted success. Star ratings, on the other hand, had an inverse reaction.
Written Reviews Help Overcome Fake Review Syndrome
Consumers rely on reviews, however, they are very skeptical of fraudulent reviews – and there is a significant issue with fake reviews, especially on bigger sites like Google and Amazon. Fake reviews can be both negative and positive. For example, a disgruntled former employee can create a negative review to lash out at a company. However, some companies unethically pay for positive reviews of their products or services to inflate their position. Obtaining genuine, emotionally connected, authentic, and verified reviews of your brands, products, and services can help you stand apart from the competition.
Written Reviews Have More Influence
Written reviews – when reviewed by potential consumers considering your product or service – have more influence than a simple star review. This is due to the stronger level of authenticity that comes through in the written review. When the reviewer appears to have been emotionally affected by the product or service they are reviewing, it carries much more weight than a simple star rating. This may be because, as the study discovered, almost all reviews are 4- and 5-star, with the occasional 3,2-, or 1-star review intermittently appearing. Because the star reviews are so commonly the same, consumers have no way of discerning how the reviewer really felt about the product. When someone takes the time to write about their experience with the product, service, or brand, it lends more credibility to the review.
Consumers Use Reviews to Make Purchasing Decisions
Consumers rely on reviews. In fact, next to a personal recommendation from a trusted family member or friend, reviews are the next most influential factor in deciding to make a purchase. According to BrightLocal, 79% of consumers say they trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations. And according to Trustpilot, 89% of consumers check reviews before making a purchase; 62% of them won’t buy from a brand that hides negative reviews. Reviews are a crucial part of the purchasing process whether the purchase is made online, in the store, or through services.
Local SEO Relies on Reviews
No matter what you’re selling, if you want a written review with convincing emotionality, you’ll need to deliver the type of customer experience that makes your customers want to leave reviews, then you need to make it easy for them to do so. However, it’s more than consumers that rely on the reviews left about your business. When consumers search for the products and services they need, they read reviews from a variety of sites, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Dealer Rater, and others are included in the algorithm for your brand name are seen in search results, too. This means for local businesses, searches drive traffic (think of all the “near me” searches that are performed) and reviews drive you to the top of the results. Reviews on Google Business Profile are used in the algorithm Google uses to decide which listings appear at the top of the first page. In fact, online reviews are one of the most influential factors in local search engine visibility.
Where Do Consumers Go to Read Written Reviews?
While Google dominates the review competition with more than 60% of consumers relying on Google reviews when making purchasing decisions, it does depend on the industry. Restaurants and other hospitality sites may get more reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor. Others may get more reviews and recommendations on Facebook. Because you can receive reviews in multiple places and reviews can have such a dramatic impact on the overall success of your brand, product, or service, outsourcing Reviews & Reputation Marketing can help ensure that you’re both leveraging your reviews as effectively as possible as well as protecting your business from negative reviews without losing your authenticity and credibility.
Is It Ok to Ask for Reviews?
There is an enormous difference between asking paying customers to leave reviews of your products and services and compensating people to leave reviews. You absolutely should request reviews from your customers – not only for reputation marketing purposes but to understand where your weaknesses are so that you can engage with customers, make improvements, and demonstrate that you are listing to their feedback. What it’s not ok to do is to pay your customers to leave reviews or have employees leave fake reviews.
Make Reviews & Reputation Marketing Part of Your Arsenal
Competition in most industries is fierce, and the internet allows people to review several of your competitors alongside you every time they shop. Your reviews and reputation help you get seen and make sure consumers choose you over the others. If you want to increase the local traffic to your business, Reviews & Reputation Marketing with Peak to Peak Marketing can turn your customer reviews into your competitive edge. Grow, monitor, and market your online reviews and reputation.