Its a no-brainer that word of mouth advertising is the most powerful and effective form of advertising you could ever possibly have. It is the most cost-effective way to generate new customers because genuine reviews are freely given and comes from satisfied customers who have used your product or service, and have first-hand experience of your skills and expertise.
Getting more positive reviews can present a bit of a challenge. However, they are worth the time spent acquiring them because they can make a quite considerable difference to your business.
A study by Bright Local shows that 85% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to 10 reviews. This means that the more reviews you have, the better it will be for your conversion rate. According to 72% of consumers, positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more. For 69% of consumers, reviews need to be written within 2-3 months to be relevant.
Here are some of the advantages that lots of online reviews can provide to your business:
Powerful Social Proof
Lots of positive online reviews from strangers about your business increases a visitor’s trust and confidence in your business. Online reviews are especially important because traditional marketing techniques are becoming less and less effective, especially with millenials.
This is quite significant given the fact that millenials make up a quarter of the UK population, and are now the largest generation in Western history. Research indicates that millenials aged 18 to 34 are five times more likely to rely on social proof when researching a brand, compared with baby boomers (ages 55+).
What Is Social Proof?
According to Wikipedia, social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people rely upon the actions of others to influence their own behavior. In simple terms, if lots of people like and trust a particular business, this will affect the behaviour of other consumers with respect to that business. People take high ratings and positive reviews as social proof that a product or service is worth the purchase. Consequently, online reviews have emerged as the most potent form of social proof today, and have a significant effect on purchasing decisions online.
Get More Leads
If you are able to generate more leads than your competitor, then you will be in a much stronger position, even if you have an average product that is not quite as good as your competition. This is why it is important to generate as many reviews as possible from satisfied customers. The more reviews you are able to get on your Google My Business page, the better your chances of getting more qualified leads from Google.
Boost Your Organic Search Ranking
According to Moz, there is a clear link between online reviews and local search ranking factors. In fact, reviews are now the most important factor in increasing your organic ranking in local search.
Google holds a market share of 85.7% in the UK as of April 2017. Consequently, increasing the number of reviews you have on Google should be a top priority for your business. Having lots of genuine reviews on Google has a strong impact on local SEO, and will significantly increase your organic search ranking in Google Maps. This will make you more visible to users who are actively searching for your products or services on their smartphones. It also separates your business from competitors with less favourable reviews.
Make You More Visible Online.
Having positive reviews on lots of trusted review websites increases the number of ways you can be found by your target audience. This will ultimately increase the number of leads you are generating online.
Stand Out In The Search Results
You can use rich snippets to mark up your web pages so that your reviews appear prominently on the search results page. Rich snippets have the effect of making listings stand out from similar results on the search results page, so even though you might be on the 7th position on the page, your reviews will draw attention to your listing, especially if none of the other listings have marked up their reviews in the same way. In fact, some websites have attributed a 30% increase in CTR to rich snippets after implementing structured data markup.
Having Lots of Reviews Leads to a Higher Overall Star Rating
Having a lot of positive reviews can prevent you from being affected by a low number of bad reviews. This is the best way to counter malicious or negative reviews. Consumers expect to see a few negative reviews because they know it is impossible to please everyone. In fact, if all you have are 5 star reviews, they may become suspicious because that just doesn’t appear natural. So, if grumpy people represent a tiny fraction of your reviews, those negative reviews will not have a significant impact on your business in any way.