The right review management strategy can mean the difference between running a successful business or managing a mediocre one. Online reviews benefit companies and consumers alike. For businesses, reviews are a vital asset where they get essential feedback from customers. For consumers, reviews influence purchasing decisions and give an opportunity to shower praise on a company.
Online reviews are a form of word-of-mouth marketing. And, your customers can leave reviews for just about any type of business. So, from large national restaurant chains to a local plumber or gardening services, reviews influence the way people spend their money. So, if you want them to spend their hard-earned cash on your products or services, you need to get more reviews.
This article examines in detail the many reasons how a review management strategy can boost your company’s success. You will also find out about tools that can help manage reviews with minimal effort.
Why Review Management is Critical
Online reviews are everywhere. Nearly every online search for local businesses contains information gleaned from reviews. It may be yellow stars that appear next to a business name or product. Or, the search results could have information that customers have written.
The importance of having a review management strategy is evident when you consider how consumers search for a local business. First, they might carry out a web search with something like, “the best plumber…” Google will probably automatically offer the search suggestion, “the best plumber near me.”
The search results will then show the top three results, along with a map, directions, opening hours, and average star ratings. With a single click, consumers can read reviews, see pictures, and get more information about the company. However, the search doesn’t stop there. Most customers will then search the business name and reviews.
Related reading: how your business can dominate local search listings.
Before a consumer decides to engage with your business, they already have a fair idea of what to expect. Here are some vital statistics that prove this fact:
- According to a survey by BIA/Kelsey, 97 percent of people search out reviews for local businesses.
- Over 90 percent of people say that positive online reviews influence their purchasing decisions.
- A 2016 survey revealed that seventy percent of customers would leave a review if a business asks them.
- Google reports that 93 percent of people who use a mobile device for search will then complete their purchase—mostly in “bricks and mortar” stores.
Because people find reviews so useful in making purchasing decisions, Google also places great importance on reviews. If you have a strategy to get a constant stream of real, relevant reviews, Google will index your site more often. You will also see that your rankings in the search engines start to improve.
The Right Type of Review Management Strategy
When implementing a system to manage reviews, it’s vital to choose the right kind of strategy. Only the right review management strategy will make a difference to your business.
For example, some businesses have a “wait and see” type of review management. They don’t pay much attention to the reviews they receive, and they hope customers will leave positive reviews. However, this kind of review strategy is agonizingly very slow. You may wait for months in between getting reviews. You will also not have enough positive reviews to offset any negative reviews you might get.
The best type of online review management strategy is to invite your customers to leave feedback. Then you should have a system in place to streamline the review process. This type of review management software sends automated invitations. Then you receive notifications of any new reviews received.
How to Manage Online Reviews Successfully
Let’s look in depth at how to develop a review management strategy to boost your business success.
1. Choose the right review platform
First, you need to pick the best review platforms where you will manage reviews. Currently, Google and Facebook are the leading players. So, you must optimize your “Google My Business” page and have a business Facebook page.
Please read this article on setting up a Google business page if you don’t have a business profile yet.
2. Pick the right review management software
Unless you have got plenty of time on your hands, it’s usually worthwhile investing in automated software to make it easier to get reviews.
For example, Starloop makes it easy to start getting more reviews. It’s not just the easy-to-use software that boosts the number of reviews you receive. As an incentive for your customers to leave a review, we’ll plant a tree for every review you receive. Our members tell us that using Starloop has helped them get more customers, rank higher on the search engines, and increase revenue.
3. Ask for reviews
Asking for reviews is fundamental to a successful review management strategy. After all, you’ll have nothing to manage if you don’t have any reviews. As already mentioned, three-quarters of consumers will leave a review if you ask them.
Starloop review management software sends engaging, low-pressure emails or text messages to your customers. They can easily rate their customer experience and share feedback.
In our experience, sending email invitations has advantages over SMS text messages. People tend to read their emails when they’ve got some time and are more likely to leave a business review.
4. Monitor reviews
You can’t tell people what to write on the review, so it’s vital to monitor all reviews and respond appropriately.
By providing excellent customer services, you will notice that you start getting lots of positive reviews. Take the time to respond to these with a personalized message of thanks. Thanking someone for the review helps to build a loyal customer following. Responding to reviews also helps build your online reputation—after all, what kind of person never says thanks?
It’s vital to respond to positive reviews—but it’s even more important to respond to negative reviews. By responding in the right way to bad reviews, you can also build customer loyalty. For example, by taking the time to address any underlying issue and rectifying it, you show the customer that you care. If you help to resolve the problem, the customer is more likely to continue using your business.
Remember that other potential customers are also reading reviews and your responses. Publishing 1-star reviews, responding to negative reviews, and engaging with customers shows transparency and builds trust.
5. Share reviews across social media sites
You can turn your customers into advocates of your product or service. If you get a stellar review, why not share it with the world? All you need to do is select the review you want to share. Click on the share button. Then copy and paste the link on your social media feed.
Another way to share reviews is to post Google reviews on your website. This type of review management strategy helps to strengthen your online reputation.
Related reading: how to develop a social media strategy for small businesses.
Using Review Management for Your Business Success
Reviews have a powerful effect on your online reputation. You can leverage the power of reviews to get more customers and increase revenue. However, getting more reviews doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult.
Starloop’s review management software makes acquiring reviews easy. In fact, it’s as easy as putting in your customer’s email address and letting the software do its work. Your customer receives up to three automated invitations to share their feedback. Our unique “one-tree-for-one-review” policy creates an ethical incentive to leave a review.
Find out how easy it is to get more reviews by filling out this easy online form to contact a member of our team today.