The Importance of Online Reviews

Before and After
May 5, 2017
Referral Plan
May 11, 2017

The Importance of Online Reviews

Put eWOM to Work for You

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Online customer reviews–both positive and negative–have a huge influence in attracting customers for small, local businesses. The typical consumer checks more than ten places online before making a decision. They don’t go to review sites (Angies’ ListYelp) first, they Google. And online reviews do more than just influence consumer buying decisions; they create visibility on Google and other search engines, too.

​Having online reviews is one of the most effective and inexpensive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics out there. A “real” review on a respected third party site is one of the most powerful signals you can send to Google. The more reviews you have, the more visible your business is across the web.
​Getting customer reviews is a numbers game, and you can improve your numbers.​As a small business owner looking to increase online visibility, you need to become a participant in “electronic Word of Mouth” (eWOM). Yes, it’s a thing. eWOM is a term that encompasses online reviews, social media and discussion forums.

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And who uses eWOM? “Empowered consumers”, that’s who. Empowered consumers are more demanding than ever, and they have the ability to make or break your business. Thanks to incessant tv commercials and over-hyped products on the web, consumers don’t trust what you say about your services yourself and they don’t trust ads.
​But it appears that they do trust online reviews. Because customer reviews are written by “regular folks” with no agenda.

Wait… There’s More

​People who read and post online reviews tend to be younger, wealthier and more in tune with technology – an attractive demographic for businesses to reach.
​Still not convinced of the power of online reviews? Let’s look at some myths and truths about reviews that hopefully change your mind if you’re skeptical.

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Myths and Truths

MYTH ​Only unhappy customers write reviews.
TRUTH The vast majority of online reviews are positive. AS LONG  AS POSTING A REVIEW IS RELATIVELY EASY, the positive reviews outweigh negative 8 to 1..
​Still, unhappy customers have a greater-than-normal urge to bad mouth a business online. These people know that complaining publicly creates pain for the business that made them unhappy.
MYTH: Customers only care about the number of stars in a review.
TRUTH: Consumers consider star ratings in context. Customers who look at reviews actually read the reviews. They are suspicious of both positive and negative reviews. Fake reviews are common and people know it.
MYTH Negative reviews hurt reputation. Good reviews make good reputations, bad ones bad ones. Right?
TRUTH All reviews can help your reputation. It’s the mix of opinions that tell the real story about a business’s online reputation. Research has shown that readers of mixed reviews judge a business more favorably than those with only positive reviews. Nobody’s perfect, and real reviews by real people are what prospects are looking for. ​Negative reviews contribute to building your reputation more than they ruin it. Unless of course they
completely overwhelm the conversation about your business. Then you have bigger problems than how many reviews you have.
MYTH The more positive the review, the better. Why should a business want anything other than praise in its customer reviews?
TRUTH: To be valuable, a review should relate how real customers experienced a product or service so that other real customers can decide whether that product or service is a good fit for them, too. Also – reviews with substance (details that outline your business’s products and services) get search engine attention.
MYTH Your reputation will take care of itself. Shouldn’t a small business focus on its products and services and let its reputation take care of itself?
TRUTH  Be proactive in getting customer reviews. .

​You have to make a commitment to get reviews

Customers who have good intentions to write a review still won’t do it if they forget, or it’s too hard, or they’re too busy. Your job is to invite each customer to write a review and make the process easy for them.

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What’s the best approach to use when asking for reviews? Honesty. A simple, sincere, no-stress request with no financial incentives and no pressure. You simply “invite” them to give feedback. Keep the request “soft” and nuanced. You “invite”, you don’t “ask.” You “remind”, you don’t “nag.” Email, thank you cards, a printed card with an invitation to review are all good ideas.

Never offer a financial incentive in exchange for a positive review. This practice is violates the terms of service on review sites! And will get you banned!

Kitchen Design Partner Stands Ready to Help

Kitchen Design Partner will work with you to get your customers into what is called the “REVIEW FUNNEL”.  KDP knows what motivates customers to write a review, and using this knowledge, they “funnel” your customers from their experience with you, all the way through completing a review.
After your customers are in the funnel, KDP will create a simple, easy-to-use landing page that guides them to the third party sites – like Angie’s List and Yelp – where potential customers discover, evaluate and compare businesses, products and services.
You control this landing page that shows your customers the available review sites and gives them the tools to write and post their reviews.

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eWOM is all about your reputation, both online and in the real world. When you consider the influence consumer opinions carry, getting your business into this peer-to-peer conversation can have a greater marketing impact at a lower cost than almost any paid advertising.
Your former clients will lead you to your future customers; all you have to do is ask. Wait, we mean “invite”. All you have to is “invite” them to tell others about their experience with you.
Let KDP get you in the Review Funnel and move your business on to online credibility you need to get growing.