With the internet at your fingertips 24/7, you know what others post about you can make or break your business, brand or reputation.  Maybe all three.

That means there’s a big push on making digital a main focus of your marketing strategy, focusing you to consider how customers will discover your business – and remain fans. Word of mouth has always been an important factor to any business’ success, but it also forces you to be on your A Game, even while you sleep.

Now more than ever, customers will share their best (and worst) experiences for the world to see. If you’re not onboard, it’s time for a wake-up call to harness the incredible power of reviews.

3 Ways Reviews Can Change Your Business  

  1. Increased Visibility & Accessibility – You’re easier to find when people are already talking about you. Search engines like Google focus on providing the most relevant search results for their users. With nearly 60% of all searches coming from mobile devices, Google in particular, ranks sites based on their mobile friendliness – so please be friendly.You may pass this test, but consider that you may not be as friendly as Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor or Angie’s List, which are designed to show relevant reviews on the first page of a Google search.  That helps you get discovered faster. Sometimes reviews for a business become visible to customers even before they even click to your site! So, the more reviews you can get, the better your odds are of showing up on top.
  2. Boosted Sales – Experts point out that product reviews can boost online sales by as much as 62%. Even if you aren’t a business selling products online, reviews can still impact revenue with an average of 18% more in sales.When was the last time you made an important purchase without asking a friend or researching a company? I know I won’t make buy something expensive without doing some legwork. If your thinking is the same, your business or brand needs to be front and center of a search to show prospects why you’re the best out there. After all, potential customers are likely to spend  31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
  3. Raving Fans – Reviews increase exposure and boost sales (even bad ones sometimes).  How do you get customers to post a review? You don’t hope your customer is a mind reader and know you’d kill for a positive review. You have to ask. “If you liked our _______, would you leave a review?”Research shows that 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked. It might be easier than you think to spread the word about how great you are. When review time comes up, have a process or app in place to follow-up with your customer while you’re fresh in their mind. Services like Hire Frederick, Hubspot or Marketing 360 are designed to make client follow-up a breeze. Reviews can also give you more insight on what your customers want, so respond early and often to keep the conversation going and drive more business. Ka-ching!

Trust is one of the biggest factors of how, when and why consumers choose your business over your competitors — and reviews are the easiest way to get the click, and ideally, the sale.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, word of mouth isn’t just limited to friends and people who know each other. WOM includes complete strangers who like talking online about their experiences.  85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  Make it a priority to ask for reviews and start benefiting from your customer’s feedback and people who want to know about you and do business with your company.

What review sites should you consider? Depending on your industry, think about sites like Yelp, Facebook, Amazon, TripAdvisor or Houzz as allies, and leverage their power to your advantage.

And remember that it’s not just what your customers say about you. It’s what you say about you too!

About PR And Brand Expert Robin Samora

Small business marketing and PR expert Robin Samora teaches small business owners how their brands can command attention in a noisy, crowded marketplace. Through her speaking, consulting and coaching, she helps clients find their ideal prospects, form valuable relationships and turn followers into loyal customers and raving fans. Robin’s mission is to help clients increase branding and visibility online and offline by cutting through the clutter so they can get noticed and sell more products and services. She uses social media, email marketing, speaking and free publicity strategies to enhance credibility, reputation and leadership position – even without a PR budget. Robin also shares marketing tools, tricks and articles on her weekly tip sheet, “Robin’s Rainmakers.”

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