Today company reviews are an essential part of the user shopping experience. When was the last time you tracked your ratings and online customer reviews? What about finding the correlation between reviews and sales performance for your products?
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According to Buffer.com, Social Proof is when one matches the actions of others, intending to correct behavior for a specific situation. If we are unsure how to move forward in a situation, we tend to look at prior customers, or experts, who have already experienced a particular situation. Online reviews are a perfect example of Social Proof. For example, if there are many poor reviews for a restaurant, new patrons might be reluctant to try it since many have voiced their negative experiences. Reviews are the vocalization of consumer opinion and are the new norm that should be part of the business plan.
A Company should look at their online customer reviews, mainly because reviews impact how they appear in search engines. Especially for small businesses, these reviews are essential for promoting digital visibility, which is key to growing their business in a world with a lot of competition.
Formerly known as Google My Business, a Google Business Profile is the easiest way for a consumer to find information about a business. Whether it be the hours of operation, phone number, or physical address, having a profile set up with Google is critical to bring traffic to your website. Google Business Profile also includes ratings for consumers to find.
Since its development, Google has also implemented a rating system that reflects not just on Google search but also through Google Maps. This rating defines the user’s rating of the company itself and shows in search with the google business profile. This rating can be affected by any aspect of the business, and users can write reviews that are tailored to their personal experiences, whether they are good or bad.
Online customer reviews can impact businesses’ ability to receive walk-in traffic (if they have a physical address) or sales of their digital services and products. In addition, new customers use company ratings submitted by other users to gauge the company’s reliability and quality. Despite all efforts to instill trust in a brand, a new user will look towards others’ past experiences to decide if they are worth their time and money.
Additionally, there is something called Schema, a structured code that helps search engines understand a website and how it connects to other information. Google wants to promote positive experiences, and Schema helps with that. MRS Digital Media recently wrote about this if you would like to learn more about creating your own Google Business Profile. Please click here.
Don’t Forget that Product Reviews Count too!
When shopping online, the user scrolls to where the reviews are to understand better what to expect if they go through the purchase. The consumer is, at this point, reasonably curious to make a purchase and is looking for reassurance that they are making the right decision in their investment. Having a lot of positive reviews is critical since a company should try its best to keep all experiences positive. However, things can happen, and the product or service can receive a negative review. Keep in mind that negative reviews are good for company growth. They are not inheritably bad, but too many of them will hurt future sales. Many companies have instilled processes to correct unhappy customers and request that they amend their reviews once the mishap is corrected.
The best way to understand this is to get more positive reviews to outweigh a few negative reviews. Consumers quickly write about negative experiences, whether with the product or with the company’s customer care quality. Therefore, it is imperative that, as a company, assuring that negative experiences are corrected should be a primary goal. In addition, reviews impact the placement of the website’s ranking. Remember, Google wants to promote businesses that have a good public perception. Public perception is even more severe regarding local businesses, as a negative public perception can impact their E.A.T. signals. E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Additionally, consumers are not just looking for positive reviews but also noting when the reviews were posted. Was the post made recently? Have there been poor reviews more than good reviews as of late? How many stars? Are there more five stars than three stars? These are things to think about, and they can sway the decision of an uncertain buyer in either direction. Finally, if the product is not exclusive to one website, the buyer will venture off to get customer reviews from other websites to cement their decision further.
Testimonials and your Target Market
When checking out a website, especially one dedicated to product or service sales, testimonials are often seen at the very top. Testimonials are prior customers that had a positive experience with a product or service and shared a personalized review for other users with a profile picture. Not all testimonials have profile pictures, but a photo of the customer helps build that trust with new customers—some companies contract with influencers or celebrities to endorse their products or services. At times, the company will feature the celebrity or influencer on the main page of its site. Celebrities and influencers have already created trust with their following. If they speak positively of a company, it encourages the consumer to make the purchase too.
Additionally, companies have invested in creating short-form videos where the customer testifies about their experience. For example, if a previous customer shares how great things were, it communicates to the new customer that it will likely be the right thing for them to do.
In conclusion, ratings, testimonials, and reviews are all helpful in improving ranking with Google’s algorithm as it promotes products and services with positive public perception. Have you seen your online customer reviews lately? Why not see where you stand?
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