Reviews are an extremely effective form of “earned” online marketing. It’s earned because you’ve obtained it with promotional efforts other than paid advertising. Reviews spark word of mouth marketing (on and offline), increase brand reputation, improve search engine optimization and provide excellent social media content – all of which lead to increased revenues.

Having online reviews within high traffic sites like Google +, Yellowpages, Facebook, Yelp etc, improve your search results significantly. They’ll get people’s attention and drive traffic to your website over a competitor’s. Positive reviews can be just what a potential customer needs to make the purchase decision.

Here are some interesting statistics from that shows how online reviews and having a strong online presence influence decision making and how important they are for your business. View the full infograph below for more stats (click for larger image).

  • 65% of people say they used their mobile device to find a businessImportance of online reviews
  • 65% of consumers read between 2-10 reviews
  • 68% of women consult online reviews, along with 66% of men
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 70% of people have used the internet to find a local business in the last 12 months
  • 27% of consumers regularly use online reviews to determine which local business to use
  • 16% of consumers said they used the internet every week to find local businesses

The secret to getting reviews: Asking politely

Many of your satisfied customers are more than willing to provide reviews. Reach out and ask for them in person, using social media and by email. Make it part of your customer service and email marketing strategy.

Dealing with negative reviews.

Relax, it’s not such a big deal. If you operate a tight ship you shouldn’t have many negative reviews. Your first negative review will probably seem worse than it really is. Negative reviews can be removed if there is some type of breach in the reviewer’s Terms of Service agreement for the site (personal attack, issues out of your control etc).

If it’s a legitimate issue, view this as an opportunity for improvement. Address the issue by responding to the review (most sites allow for responses by management), do not get overly defensive or at all negative. Keep it short and simple and make it up to the customer if possible. People who read the review – and your response, will be glad to see you address the problems quickly and efficiently, increasing online brand value and reputation.

Compass Media can help

If you’re like many business owners, you might not have the technical abilities, time or energy to manage reviews and online reputation. Compass Media can help; we provide this and many other marketing support and management services including email marketing, social media, website content management and Search Engine Optimization. Contact me for a free 30 minute consultation today!