Customer reviews have always been crucial for businesses for a variety of reasons. Not only does your brand presence on review sites help you promote your brand indirectly, but it also guides customers in their decision-making process and persuades them to purchase your products or services.
Naturally, review sites were eventually created to collect customer testimonials from different websites or to provide a user-friendly platform to leave reviews. However, how useful can such review sites really be?
In this article, we take a look at review sites and how they work. Then, we will go on to discuss the 11 key advantages they can bring to your business.
How Do Review Sites Actually Work?
Review portals are typically websites that allow customers to leave reviews about products and services. These may include ratings, comments, photos, videos and other types of content that can help inform potential customers.
Most review sites also have a rating system where customers can rate their experience with a company on a scale from one to five stars, or even in terms of percentage. This provides a quick snapshot of how customers view the business and thus encourages more people to leave feedback.
Usually, businesses can respond to customer reviews directly on the review platform, which gives them an opportunity to engage with their customers and provide further insight into their services or products. This two-way communication helps build trust and loyalty between the company and its customers.
Finally, review sites can provide valuable insights into customer trends and preferences that can help businesses further improve their services. Such data is invaluable for companies looking to stay ahead of the competition.
These are only some of the reasons why review sites are useful to buyers and businesses alike in today’s digital age. Now, let’s take a look at some of the main benefits.
What Are the Advantages of Online Review Sites?
- Increase Brand Visibility
- Get More Social Proof
- Drive Sales Through Persuasion
- Stimulate Online Discussions
- Improved Search Engine Rankings
- Look More Trustworthy
- Grow Your Authority
- Shape Your Online Reputation
- Use Feedback to Make Decisions
- Build Your Link Profile
- Communicate with Customers
1. Increase Brand Visibility
First and foremost, review sites help you increase brand visibility. The more clients write reviews and testimonials about their experiences with your company, the more potential customers will hear about you. To put it simply, it is the perfect way to spread the word about your business in a natural way.
One of the best things about review sites is that there is a variety of them which means your brand will gain visibility on multiple platforms at the same time. In many cases, you can even create your business profile if your company isn’t listed on the site already. The more sites you are on, the more options your customers have for leaving comments.
2. Get More Social Proof
Customer reviews are a form of social proof, and social proof is crucial to any kind of brand. According to research, 88% of consumers trust online user reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. This is most likely because both come from real people rather than companies or corporations.
People want to hear “real” opinions about a brand or its products or services. This is why they tend to listen to customer reviews as well as personal recommendations from friends and family members. When a company claims that its products or services are good, it seems less believable because it doesn’t appear as if a real person is making these statements.
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3. Drive Sales Through Persuasion
The more customer reviews from review sites, the more social proof you will have. And the more social proof you have, the more sales from potential customers wanting to purchase your products or services.
When this happens, it is indirectly targeting potential customers. Individuals find the reviews on their own and then decide whether to make a purchase.
However, you can still use reviews strategically to reach your target audience in marketing campaigns. Review sites are good sources of real-life testimonials because they are all in one place. All you need to do is choose the most relevant and useful ones and start using them in your promotional activities (e.g. on your site or social media).
4. Stimulate Online Discussions
By increasing your brand visibility, you will be exposed to both those who are your customers and those who aren’t. As a result, you can expect more people to start talking about you which will, in turn, stimulate word-of-mouth marketing and potentially boost conversions.
Moreover, review websites themselves can become the perfect spaces for discussions about your brand. For example, if someone is looking for a web development agency that could help them with their website, they can go on a relevant review site and compare different providers. There, they can ask other customers who already ordered services from a particular company about their experiences.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” In this regard, even customers who post bad reviews about your brand could help promote it. There will be different opinions about your business, but all of these discussions eventually increase your brand visibility (if handled correctly).
5. Improved Search Engine Rankings
Having your business listed on review sites can also improve your search engine rankings. When a business is mentioned on different websites, it sends signals to major search engines like Google and Bing that this website is popular and relevant in its industry. As a result, the visibility of the business increases and its chances to rank higher in SERPs (search engine result pages) improve significantly.
Reviews also give you an opportunity to use targeted keywords and backlinks in order to attract potential customers. Make sure that the key phrases you choose are relevant to your business and its related products. For example, if you’re a web design company, use “website design” instead of “web design services”. This way, you will be able to reach your target audience more easily and drive more traffic to your site.
6. Look More Trustworthy
Despite a negative review here and there, you can still expect people to write good things about your company. Of course, that is only possible as long as you actually offer good products or services and clients genuinely enjoy doing business with you.
Once customers start sharing their positive experiences, you can expect your brand to look more trustworthy. The more positive reviews you have, the better your business will look to potential customers.
That being said, having only positive reviews could actually make you look suspicious. This is why you shouldn’t be too upset with a few negative reviews. Most people realize that no business is perfect, so negative comments can help your company look more “real”.
7. Grow Your Authority
In addition to trustworthiness and transparency, customer reviews boost your brand authority. Authority is something that is hard to measure, but it is definitely necessary to increase the influence and power of your company.
Authority can be achieved in a variety of ways. Firstly, it can come from your business achievements (e.g. interviews, awards, expert opinion pieces, industry research publications). Secondly, you can boost it via authoritative figures in the industry (e.g. media outlets and industry experts who talk about your brand in a positive way). And thirdly, brand authority can come from your own customers.
Customer reviews pretty much validate your business statements. They serve as evidence that your brand is legit and that your products and/or services are truly of the quality you state they are.
As a result of the above and the way you cultivate reviews, your brand can decidedly gain more authority and credibility.
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8. Shape Your Online Reputation
Monitoring and managing your online reputation is fundamental to the way the public sees your brand. This is precisely why you need to utilize customer reviews in your marketing strategy. You can shape your online reputation according to the feedback you receive, and perfect the digital presence of your business.
By encouraging people to leave reviews, you can create a more positive image for your brand. Also, by implementing these customer reviews on other platforms, you can further shape your reputation. To put it simply, it all goes back to the previous points already discussed above.
9. Use Feedback to Make Decisions
Customer reviews can be quite useful when implementing internal changes. They can offer important insights that allow you to refine your business operations and processes.
10. Improve Your Link Building Profile
One more reason why review sites can be so valuable to your brand is that they can help you improve your link building profile. A brand’s profile on a review site contains basic information about the company as well as a link to the company’s social media profiles and official website.
The more review sites that have links to your website, the better your backlink profile will be. While the majority of these might be no-follows, even just a few of them can be a great addition to your link building profile.
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11. Communicate with Customers
Last but not least, review sites can be helpful to customer relationship management. They provide you with feedback that you can then use to improve your relationship with your customers. Reviews allow you to respond to your customers directly.
For example, if your company has a Google My Business profile, clients can leave reviews and even ask questions. It should also be noted that not every review site allows you to respond to customer reviews, but those that do can be incredibly important to building a good relationship with your customers.
Overall, review sites are extremely useful for businesses. They can help you to increase brand visibility, get more social proof, and drive sales through persuasion. Additionally, they can encourage online discussions, improve search engine rankings, make a company look more trustworthy, grow one’s authority, and shape one’s online reputation.
Review sites are also a great way to communicate with (potential) customers and build your backlink profile. That is why businesses should definitely take advantage of all that review sites have to offer!
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