The Impact Online Reputation and Customer Reviews Have on Your Business

Business.com / Networking / Last Modified: April 14, 2017

Find out how you can manage your reputation and keep your business from costly reputation issues.

In business, you'll often hear how good news travels fast while bad news travels faster. Word-of-mouth can spread like a wildfire, and it can either make or break a business. Your online reputation matters, and more businesses should make it a priority. 90% of your local consumers are likely to do research online before making a purchase decision. The impact online reputation and customer reviews have on your business plays a large role in how you boost sales and expand into new regions. In this article, you will learn five key ways that your online reputation and customer reviews impact your overall ROI.

Positive customer reviews improves website trust authority

If you're a new brand with zero marketing dollars in your budget, chances are nobody but your friends and family are going to know what you offer and what makes you special. This means you're probably going to lose out to a well-established competitor brand who's already built that "trust authority" with your target audience.

But hey, that can all change with a positive online reputation. If you own a new business, you're going to have to prove to the world that you're professional. You're going to have to prove to online shoppers that you are a legitimate business and not a shady con artist.

According to Moz, four or five more negative articles or reviews about your company or product in Google search results can cost you 70% of potential new customers. Today, building a trusting reputation online is mandatory. An excellent way to build trust online is to come up with an online reputation management strategy for review sites like Yelp!, Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, Bing Places and Facebook to just to name a few sites. Send your customer base and partners over, and get as many people giving you as many positive customer reviews as possible.

Online reputation management gives your brand a voice in the conversation

Brands need to accept that the conversation is no longer 100 percent in their hands. Conversations happen about your brand across many different forums, websites and social media networks, with or without you. The days of yesteryear are over, and this is why many businesses are rushing to find out how to maintain a positive image online. With a reputation management strategy, your business can provide a strong branded voice across the web that filters into the real world, which also helps brands share any narrative.

According to Vendesta, if your business helps solve an issue quickly and efficiently, 95 percent of unhappy customers will come back and do business with you. That's a big number and hard stat to deny. So how do you monitor conversations about your brand online? Here are two easy-to-use online reputation management tools:

  1. Google Alerts

    Google Alerts sends you email notifications whenever your brand is mentioned in Google's search engine. You can set it for real-time or for once a day--whichever you prefer. There are many options you can choose from.

  2. SocialMention

    SocialMention is similar to Google's search engine; however, it's for social media channels. All you have to do is type in your brand name in the field and SocialMention will collect and show you a list of links where your brand name was mentioned.

Online reviews and reputation management improves online traffic

It's simple. The more your brand publishes quality pages online, the higher the probability you pull in more traffic from search engines. The same goes for getting more customers to write reviews on the web for you. When you create new accounts online or drive your customers to review sites, they'll mention your name or website. The community inside those digital properties will notice, and at the same time, the review pages published will index in search engines as well.

Consider a website like Yelp!, the popular customer review site founded in 2004. They pull in 73 million unique desktop visitors and 65 million unique visitors on mobile – that's only one review site. You can find other digital properties like Yelp! by using a free site like similarsites.com. Join new networks and improve your overall online reputation. You can find other Web 2.0 sites, forums and social media networks that allow you to toot your own horn, so to speak. The more relevant digital properties you own online with positive customer reviews, the more you'll convert online from search engines.

Negative comments and customer reviews will hurt your business

Customers are more inclined to write about a bad experience online. It's the easiest way to get back at horrible customer service. If your company is ignoring or unaware of the power of negative customer reviews, you need to take a serious look at the numbers. According to Moz, 67.7 percent of customers surveyed admit that customers reviews make a difference in their purchasing decision.

So how much does a negative customer review cost your business? In the same study, reports show that if one bad negative review pops up in review site search results, it will cost about 22 percent of new potential customers. What's scary is that number jumps to up to 59.2 percent when three bad reviews are shown. And if a bad review shows up in a Google search result, that number moves up to 70 percent of new opportunities lost.

Positive customer reviews improve bottom dollar sales

When customers are unsure about what product to buy or unaware of what brand is “socially acceptable,” they look to their friends or customer reviews. Psychologically, it's in our natural interest to want to fit in, and that rings true with the products and services we use. With 92 percent of consumers admitting to reading customer reviews before buying products and services, many businesses today fail to implement an online reputation strategy to help maintain a positive image.

Stats show that websites with less than 1 or 2-star ratings lose 90 percent of business. So you want to make sure your company's reputation online is as good as it is in real life. And we all know how Google favors online review websites. Online reviews is a search ranking factor, taking 10 percent the Google algorithm pie.

Summary

Search engines love online review sites because it knows users do a lot of research online before making a purchase decision. Whether a user is looking for the best local restaurant, best organic coffee shop or best online reputation management agency in the area, search engines like Google will consider an online review site like Yelp!, TripAdvisor or RottenTomatoes – popular and trusted review websites – to provide users with the “best” possible results for each query. Try doing a search for your brand name online and find out if your online reputation is positive or negative.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / racorn

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