Reviews play a big role in the purchase decisions of today’s consumers. Over 70% of consumers ages 25-34 seek out reviews before making a decision to purchase, and almost 90% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. At the enterprise level, it can be difficult to make the most of reviews, let alone utilize them to garner visibility and brand awareness. Yet, reviews are an important facet of every marketing campaign, and brands with active reputation management strategies often surpass their competitors in visibility, satisfaction and loyalty. Learn five steps to successful reputation management, and find out how Brandify helped one enterprise drive 40% more website traffic through online reviews.
Why Reviews Matter
Aside from their impact on consumer buying habits, reviews matter for local search rankings. Review signals account for approximately 10% of Google ranking factors, including review quantity, velocity and diversity. This means that brands need to have a wide range of reviews across multiple platforms, and while Google has been known to show favor to brands with positive star ratings, research shows that review diversity (both good and bad reviews) is critical for building consumer trust in a business.
With 25% of all search results returning user-generated content from review sites, blogs and social media updates, a lack of reviews can significantly impact a brand’s online traffic and visibility. In order to rank in Google’s Local 3-Pack, brands need to have reviews across multiple platforms, such as Yelp, Google, Facebook and Foursquare. While an honest diversity of reviews is important, consumers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews, making an effective reputation management strategy a must-have.
Steps to Successful Reputation Management
Make Reviewing Easy
When you ask for reviews, you ask for someone’s time. You should always be respectful and considerate of your customers’ busy schedules when asking for reviews, both in-store and online. Your review process should be quick and painless, meeting customers on their preferred channels by setting up profiles across various review platforms. With so many channels to read reviews and submit feedback, your brand could risk business and lose customers by failing to appear on various channels. Wherever they like to read and write reviews, consumers should be able to find your brand’s profile.
Request Reviews in Person
If possible, have location managers ask customers for reviews in person, after they have completed their transaction. Store associates working directly with customers can better sense the difference between satisfied and disgruntled customers to know when it is appropriate to ask for a review. Be careful to ask for customers’ general feedback, and avoid asking them to only leave reviews if they had a positive experience. Do not ask customers to leave reviews at your location, as reviews from the same IP address can result in penalties from Google and other review sites. Let customers know where they can leave a review, and always thank them for their time and consideration.
Respond Quickly to Negative Reviews
Never attempt to remove or suppress poor reviews. Instead, be proactive about responding to negative feedback as quickly as possible and work to resolve customer issues in such a way that heals negative perceptions and creates an opportunity to win back lost patrons. Differentiate your brand by addressing customer concerns in a timely, original and empathetic manner. Engaging with disappointed guests demonstrates that your brand is attentive and customer-centric, and can greatly deter the impact of negative reviews. Sometimes the difference between your biggest haters and most loyal fans is determined by your review response strategy.
Resolve Issues In-Store
While having a reputation management strategy is an essential step to garnering visibility and continued feedback from your customers, the ability to resolve issues privately, in-store is invaluable. If possible, do not give customers the chance to leave your locations unhappy. Turn negative moments into loyalty-building opportunities by resolving problems and molding long-term relationships. Customers who experience a problem followed by a quick, proactive resolution are 62% more likely to make another purchase from your brand. What matters most to customers is not that your brand makes mistakes, but how you handle the situation when something goes wrong, and the difference could mean lost customers or brand advocates.
After your brand has established an effective reputation management strategy, it is important to have a system in which you can manage reviews for multiple locations across multiple channels in one central database. A good content management system (CMS) will allow brand marketers to moderate and respond to reviews from the corporate level, while also managing permission levels for store managers who want to take an active role in review response.
The ideal content management system will also include filtering capabilities so that your brand can search for reviews by star ratings or keywords and make informed decisions about how different locations are performing based on their sentiment score. Enterprise marketers should also look for content management systems that provide competitor intelligence and brand insights to access actionable data to jump ahead of competitors and measure the effectiveness of the company’s reputation management strategy.
Find out how Brandify helped one brand gain 99% page one visibility for thousands of locations across Google by implementing native reviews into branded properties, such as local pages. By using the entire Brandify dashboard to measure all aspect of its performance, our client was able to increase total website traffic by 40% and see 84% of its local listings rank in the top three of Google’s Local Pack.