A recent survey revealed that over 81% of customers need to see a 3 or 4 star (out of 5) rating for a business in order to trust them and likely engage. This means the businesses that take advantage of these insights are likely seeing more brand trust, better local SEO, and more leads/customers.
They’re the businesses that are proactive about their online reputation and digital marketing efforts. They’re also the businesses that are likely establishing strong local roots thanks to the business insights and alterations that are possible thanks to online reviews.
But what about the other half?
What about all of the businesses that “go with the flow”, if you will? Is it possible to be reactive with a business’ online reputation and still succeed?
Sure it is – but it’s becoming more and more rare. With 92% of consumers now reading online reviews, it’s clear that purchasing decisions are often made before the customer even takes foot in your place of business.
With that said, it’s imperative to your business to ensure your online reputation isn’t hindering your growth and success. We’ve put together the top 3 ways to identify if your online reputation is killing your business.
#1. You’re seeing a trend of mediocre or negative reviews
In online reputation, nothing is as bad as a 1-star review. But, a 2 or 3-star review is a close second. What these middle-range reviews can tell potential customers is that while your business provided a mediocre experience, they can likely find a better experience with a different firm, at a similar price.
This type of issue is extremely common in industries that are perfectly competitive. A good example is car dealerships. The major difference between two Toyota dealerships isn’t cost or quality, rather it’s probably more along the lines of selection, experience, and service. While location plays a role, it’s not uncommon for a car buyer to go out of their way to ensure their large purchase (often the purchase of the year) is a safe and protected one.
If you think you’re business is seeing a trend of mediocre or negative reviews, make some changes very quickly. Chances are, there are hundreds or thousands of searches happening every month that display those ratings to the public.
#2. You’re not receiving any reviews at all (or very few)
Having mediocre reviews is actually be better than not having any reviews at all. In fact, quantity happens to be a large factor for many consumers when determining the quality of a business (right behind average star rating). Without reviews or visible stars, a consumer is often left to hypothesize that you’re business is one of the following:
- Not mature enough
- Not a credible business
- A business with which not many others engage
The 3 mentioned hypotheses aren’t always the case. But, is it really worth risking?
If your business is receiving very few reviews or none at all, it’s important to build a review strategy as quickly as possible. As mentioned in the last section, which hundreds or thousands of searches happening every month, you could be risking your online reputation and missing out on opportunities to create brand recognition, increase local SEO, and build brand trust.
Weigh your options and be sure to consider online review management software to help facilitate and manage your strategy.
#3. Your competitors are killing you in local search results
Love it or hate it, businesses that appear near the top of search results are often the businesses to get the click-throughs to their website, brand recognition, and ultimately the customer.
Over the last few years, intelligent businesses with a local presence, have taken notice to the fact that reviews can help them appear higher in the search rankings. This occurrence has many advantageous effects on a business’ online reputation.
For one, businesses that appear higher in the search rankings are more noticeable, often putting off a sense of establishment and maturity. The catch is, many of these businesses haven’t earned their spots through SEO optimized sites, but rather through online reviews and have accomplished this in a relatively short period of time.
Perform a quick search, see how you stack up to your competitors, and determine whether or not your undiscoverable for services/products in your area. If you are undiscoverable, it’s likely time to put a review strategy in motion to increase the pressure on nearby competition. If you already have a high-ranking position for multiple queries, be sure you have a plan to maintain that spot. Nothing in search is certain – not with the ever-evolving algorithms.
Many aren’t aware that their online reputation is killing their business. It’s not only hindering growth, but it’s dissuading existing customers from re-engagement and pushing them to re-evaluate your business-consumer relationship.
Enter the crowd of wise businesses that understand that brand recognition, positive online reputation, and better SEO is what’s helping businesses with a local presence push forward in today’s market. At the very least, understand where your business stands in regards to online reputation and reviews. This will allow you to stay proactive at a minimal level, at the very least.
Be sure to get our #1 downloaded eBook: The Complete Guide to Online Reviews.
This article was written by Nico Dato from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.