Each time you have a choice to make that involves money, you have a process you go through to make that decision. Somewhere in that process, you look at online reviews. And at the end of the day, why wouldn’t you? 

For consumers, online reviews are an excellent way to get a strong idea of what to expect from a product or service before shelling out of their wallets. 

For businesses, that makes them an important part of the way your brand and products are perceived by the world. 

In this article, we will cover the following: 

  • Consumers trust for online reviews
  • Social proofing your business
  • Online reviews and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Increasing conversions with reviews
  • Understanding your demographic and target market

So Why Are Online Reviews So Important?

Online reviews are extremely powerful. 

BrightLocal research found that 82% of consumers read online reviews about local businesses. They read an average of 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business. 

For consumers, online reviews feel like the best snapshot they have into what they’ll get when they make a purchase from you. Beyond helping prospective customers in the research phase of the purchasing process, online reviews also provide local businesses with a number of important benefits. 

  1. Consumers Trust For Online Reviews,

You may feel your branding and marketing presents an accurate and trustworthy picture of the experience you’ll provide. But most of us have been burned by a scam, a bad product, or a negative customer service experience at some point. 

Those businesses can be just as good at talking themselves up as legitimate businesses. For a consumer, hearing from another customer is more convincing. A customer’s point of view is immediately more trustworthy than the word of a business, because they have nothing to gain by praising a company or product. 

Say you are considering a pair of runners you’ll be wearing on your morning runs. A customer review that comes from another runner or shoe enthusiast provides valuable information about how someone like you rates a shoe in the categories that matter to you, like comfort or durability.

  1. Social Proof

Social proof is the idea that people are more likely to make a decision if they know a lot of other people have already done so.  It can take a number of different forms—brands promoting newsletters by saying how many subscribers they already have, or businesses boasting that they are the most popular option in a particular niche. 

For example, if someone’s trying to decide what photo-editing software to choose, knowing that the majority of editors have gone with a particular brand such as Adobe, makes the sale significantly easier for Adobe.

Seeing a bunch of other people use a product because the website says so tells you something.  Even more so, knowing a person uses it for the kind of purpose you plan to use it for tells you more. In fact, their positive or negative experience will tell you more than you need to know to make the purchase.

Social proof also comes into play regarding the number of reviews you have. People have heightened trust in a star rating if it comes from an average of 500 reviews versus two or three. 

  1. Online Reviews and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) encompasses all the tactics you can use to increase the chances of your website showing up in popular search engines. 

For local businesses in particular, online reviews play an imperative role. 

In a 2019 analysis of local rankings factors, experts surveyed by Web Analytics estimated that business reviews account for over 15% of how Google determines rankings for the local pack—the results that show up alongside a map in local results.  They figured they account for about 6.2% of local organic rankings. 

While that means that getting a lot of good reviews isn’t going to put you at the top of Google alone, it suggests they can make a very significant difference. 

If your business cares about SEO—as any business with a website should—endeavouring to get more online reviews is an intelligent tactic to include in your ongoing marketing strategy.  

  1. Increase Conversions

When online reviews are readily accessible to interested prospects, they bolster their confidence in making a purchase. Someone on your website trying to decide whether a product is worth the money or not will be much more likely to go through with the purchase if they can scroll down and see reviews from dozens of other customers. Surprisingly, it’s not just good reviews that have that effect. 

Bad reviews can increase a conversion rate by 67% according to marketing guru, Neil Patel. At first glance, it doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Think about it…when a customer sees a mix of good and bad reviews, it tends to make the good ones even more convincing. 

If a product has 1,000 reviews and all of them are five stars and only talk about the product very positively, you might start to get a bit suspicious. Not one person out of 1,000 had a less than perfect experience? Having a multitude of reviews exhibits a diversity of experiences and opinions makes them more convincing to the prospective consumer. 

  1. Understand Your Demographic and Target Market.

One of the golden rules in business is you need to comprehend who your audience is, and learn how to speak directly to their wants and needs. 

Businesses go to great lengths to better understand their prospects and customers—audience research, focus groups, customer interviews and surveys, and data analysis on user behaviour.  All of those are valuable, but reviews give you the same kind of information for free.

Every time a customer provides a review, they deliver unbiased, honest feedback about your product and services. 

Satisfied or not?

Reviews often get into the details of how consumers feel. They may include very specific mentions of features they like or think could be better. Reviews provide keen insights into who your primary target and demographic is, as well as what they care about most. 

They reveal the language your customers use when talking about your products, something especially important when choosing what keywords to target in your SEO and marketing strategies.  If you get enough reviews to give you a variety of information on how different customers feel about your brand and products, they become a treasure trove of information to help you build a more successful business over time. 

Whether or not your business chooses to be intentional in encouraging and monitoring your online business reviews, they will still play an integral role in the purchasing decisions your target market makes. 

With all this being said, do you want to increase trust in your brand and drive more sales?

You can’t force customers to leave a review, the ultimate decision is always left with them. Although, you can take steps that increase the overall likelihood they will take the time to leave you a review. It may be a lot to take in, but that’s why we’re here!

Ekomi Australia pioneer reviews management and provides the industry standard in boosting your online presence for increased conversions. If you’d like a no-obligation, free consultation, get in touch with us today for a chat with our Managing Director, Mat!