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How do online reviews affect your brand and its ability to grow?

Research shows that negative online reviews in the search engine results for your business could cause you to lose 70% of potential customers. Seventy percent. 

While negative reviews make people question the quality and integrity of your business, they’re not always bad. Some research suggests that businesses could turn negative reviews into positive marketing or communications opportunities simply by responding publicly. One survey found that 45% of consumers would be more likely to visit a business that responds to its negative reviews.

The Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center also reports that “customers who are very unhappy with their purchase are much more likely to go to the effort to post an unprompted review.” 

Think about your own habits. Are you more likely to become a keyboard cowboy after a positive experience or a negative one? What motivates you to go to online review sites to share your experiences with others?

Online reputations are earned — and managed

 

For small- and medium-sized businesses, allocating the time and manpower to actively manage an online reputation might feel impossible. But without active, methodical reputation management, businesses are leaving their online reputation to chance. Research shows that 92% of consumers now read online reviews.

You might assume that no news is good news when it comes to online reviews, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. A consumer is 270% more likely to purchase a product with five reviews than a product with no reviews. No reviews could make your business seem brand new, or worse, it could send the message that customers had such unmemorable experiences with your business that it wasn’t worth their time to leave a review. 

When resources are already scarce and there’s more — seemingly — urgent work to be done, it’s common to ignore an online presence that you might feel like you can’t control. But pushing online reputation management aside is a major mistake when the majority of your customers are spending time researching your business online. 

While you can’t control what people write about your business, you can absolutely impact the volume of reviews for your business which can help dilute out the negative reviews and make them less likely to be seen or paid attention to. Reputation management tools also help you determine which customers to seek online reviews from (hint: go for the ones who you know have had the most positive experiences), including methods for successfully reaching and persuading these customers. 

Impact of positive online reviews 

  • For every star a business gets, there will be an approximately 5 to 9% increase in revenue
  • Consumers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • Google reports that business listings with at least 3+ star reviews took 41 out of 47 clicks
  • Of hotels with the same rates, guests are 3.9 times more likely to choose the hotel with higher ratings

Source: Small Business Trends

Negative reviews — turning bad into good

 

While you’re going to want lots of reviews, and positive reviews are always better than negative, there are important online reputation management opportunities via your business’s (hopefully few) negative reviews. 

The ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey found that negative reviews convinced 94% of consumers surveyed to avoid a particular business. A BrightLocal survey found that 73% of consumers surveyed said they trust a local business more if it has positive customer reviews, whereas 50% of consumers said that negative customer reviews make them question the quality of a business.

But active reputation management can turn these numbers around. You need to enlist the help of tools, such as Advice Media’s Review Power, that combine technology and online reputation experts to help your business automate the process of its reputation management. 

“Allowing negative reviews on your site helps build credibility with shoppers. Rather than trying to eliminate negative reviews, monitor them and respond to them,” according to the “Evidence of the Power of Online Reviews to Shape Customer Behavior” report by Spiegel Research Center. 

Impact of negative reviews

  • 22% of consumers will not buy after reading just one negative review. After three negative reviews, that number jumps to 59%
  • Four or more negative reviews about your company or product might take away 70% of its potential customers
  • 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. 
  • On average, a single negative review will cost you 30 customers. 
  • Negative reviews in Google search results can cause you to lose 70% of your potential customers. 

Source: Small Business Trends

What’s more, consumers are increasingly skeptical of too many positive reviews. According to the Spiegel Research Center report, 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews. 

“This is consistent with our theory that near-perfect ratings undermine the credibility of the review. Readers are skeptical of reviews that are too

positive and, in many cases, a negative online review is seen as more credible,” the report states. “Additional research by social commerce specialist Reevoo indicates that consumers spend four times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews, with a 67% increase in conversion rate.”

With so many consumers — and that includes customers reviewing their experiences in the medical and legal space — turning to online reviews before making purchase decisions, this is no longer a task your business can ignore. In 2019 alone, Advice Media helped generate more than 16,000 reviews for our clients with an average reputation score of 4.5 stars. Don’t let your online reviews harm your reputation or your bottom line. Our product will help you leverage this important marketing tool into an asset that helps you grow your brand. 

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