Do you have a small business? If so, then online review management is something that you should not be ignoring. The importance of reviews and ratings for your business can't be stressed enough - it's an essential part to the success of your company. Reviews are important because they help consumers make decisions about whether or not they want to do business with your company. They also give potential customers peace of mind that what they're purchasing will actually work and last them long term. In this blog post, we'll cover why review management is so important for small businesses, how reviews affect growth, and some strategies on managing the process!
Online review management is a process of monitoring and responding to reviews left about your company online by people who have either purchased or tried your products. Review management is important because it helps you ensure that the review being left is accurate and not abuse, while at the same time addressing any issues with what was said in the review, so customers feel more satisfied with their purchase.
While review management and reputation management are both strategies to maintain a positive online presence, they’re different in some ways.
Review management should be considered part of your overall SEO effort. Online review management helps your business show up in searches, and it also helps with getting more clicks to your website. Additionally, review management is a strategy that can help build trust with consumers or clients, even before your business has interacted with them.
Reputation management on the other hand, tends to focus more on a more broad, overall presence online, which includes brand mentions and social media profiles.
Basically, every business should be performing online review management. Online reviews have become more and more important in recent years and they play a significant role in business success. If you are a small business owner, this is even more true. Your online reputation, and thus your success, can be determined by what people say about you online.
You should perform an audit to get an overall picture of your online reputation. An audit will let you know what you need to work on, as well as what websites or platforms you should focus on for improvement.
The reviews sites that need to be focused on are the sites where your customers or clients are finding you. For example, if you are a local business and your customers find you on Yelp then it is important to review the reviews that appear on the front page. You can not ignore this review site because they have already found you! The same goes for any other review sites where people may be finding out about your small business.
Keep in mind that each site may have different guidelines you must adhere to. For example, you can't offer a payment, gift card or the like on Google. If they find out you are 'paying' for reviews, you could be penalized. Just check to make sure you are playing by the rules.
Here are some examples of the top sites and review platforms:
Protecting your online reputation is essential to building trust for your business. Let's face it, the chances are that every not customer is going to be totally satisfied with your products or services. But in the event that they are not, their review can have a significant impact on your business' online reputation and future success—especially if it's posted to one of the most popular review sites like Yelp or Google. These negative reviews can be combated though, by getting more positive ones.
Businesses cannot be passive when it comes to getting reviews. It is important for businesses to develop a culture of reviews and feedback.
The first thing you should do is develop a strategy for generating online reviews. This is a critical component of review management. This may include asking your customers for feedback in person, or developing an outreach strategy to get more online reviews. There are some great tools available that can automate most of the process of requesting reviews online.
One tool we like and use is BrightLocal's reputation management platform. With BrightLocal, you get the following benefits:
Using a review management platform like BrightLocal's is a great option for local business owners, because it saves time and can actually help grow your business.
Generating reviews is important, but so is monitoring reviews. Monitoring reviews can help you measure your performance against competitors, identify and respond to customer service issues before they blow up online, and ensure that customers are happy with the level of support provided by your team.
With reviews scattered across the internet, it’s easy to lose track of, or not see them altogether. Fortunately, review management software can help you consolidate reviews from multiple sources and make them readily available on a dashboard or within an app.
Many of the review management tools available provide alerts about new reviews. If you are able to respond quickly, and resolve any issues that are pointed out in the review, it will not only be a good experience for that customer, but also make them likely to post another review or recommend your business in their network of friends and family members.
It is also important to monitor for review spam. Review spammers will often post numerous reviews about your business, but they are not even customers of the company! Use online review management software to identify and filter out these posts so that you can focus on legitimate customer feedback.
The manner in which you respond to online reviews is a critical step in managing your reputation. A negative review, even if you feel that it’s unjustified and unfair, can be challenging to address (especially for small business owners with limited resources). In order to respond appropriately, there are some ground rules you should follow:
Don't attack the reviewer or make offensive comments. Remember, everyone else will see your response.
Respond to negative reviews with a solution to resolve the issue, if possible. Your response might be "We apologize for the inconvenience. Our phone is on, so please call us and we'll do our best to resolve it right away."
If you can't offer a solution, acknowledge that there's nothing you're able to do. Say something like, "I'm sorry about your experience. We appreciate feedback from every customer, as it helps us understand where we can make improvements.
The most important thing is to stay professional. This will help you build a positive reputation and increase customer confidence in your brand.
Now that you are monitoring and generating reviews, what's next?
The next step is to use the online reviews you've earned. Here are some ideas:
These days, your review management strategy is more important than ever. With online reviews being such a crucial part of customer trust and acquisition, it's imperative that you set up the right steps to make sure your business thrives in this new arena.
Putting together a strategy and not leaving it all up to the customer can help improve your online reputation boost your chances of success.
Talk to Engaged Digital today about review management and how it can help. Click HERE to get in touch and let's schedule a call.