What are you looking for?

Yelp. TripAdvisor. Google Local. You know that your business is receiving online reviews, both positive and negative, from your customers every single day. Often, these reviews are some of the first search results that pop up when a new lead begins conducting research about your business online. But how much emphasis should you be placing on review and reputation management, when you’re already juggling several social media profiles, working on your offline advertising initiatives, and, uh, also finding time to run your business?

The answer may surprise you. Thanks to this new infographic that aggregates statistics from AdAge, Nielsen, Marketing Sherpa, and some of the biggest names in online behavior and metrics, we have a much clearer picture of what online reviews mean for your business. For example:

  • 70% of people consult reviews/ratings before purchasing.
  • 75% of reviews posted on review websites are positive.
  • Nearly 84% of people said they would trust a friend’s review over a critic’s.
  • Reviews drive 18% higher loyalty, and 21% higher purchase satisfaction.
  • 71% agree that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product/service.

Online ReviewsPerhaps most significantly, 95% of unhappy customers will return to your business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

There are two key messages here which are overwhelming:

First, that online reviews are an absolutely vital part of the decision making process, when it comes to attracting new customers or driving sales. Consumers are actively looking for reviews of your business online; in fact, these reviews make up a huge part of your overall online identity. Most of the reviews being written by these consumers are positive, and there is overwhelming evidence that these reviews can drive new business.

The most important message, however, is that even negative reviews online can be used to a business’s advantage. If you work hard to address negative reviewers’ concerns, 95% of them will return to your business, and they may even update their review, provide follow-up, or take to Twitter or Facebook to share their (now positive!) experience with your brand.

Online reviews, both positive and negative, provide opportunities to interact with existing and potential customers, and turn even critics of your business into loyal brand ambassadors. Any reviews of your business that appear online provide an opportunity, and we recommend that all our clients devote time and attention to cultivating these reviews.

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This article was written by Malcolm Bedell, Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Based in our Rockland office, Malcolm brings his 15 years of new media experience (with a focus on online marketing and design) to clients nationwide. In his off time, Malcolm also authors an Alexa-ranked top 100k most trafficked website about cooking, eating, and food culture in Maine. His writing and photography has been featured online on The Huffington Post, Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and the Ladies Home Journal, as well as in print for Downeast and Indulge magazines. You can email Malcolm any time at malcolm@dreamlocal.com.