Online reviews are part of many consumers “due diligence” process when making a buying decision, and the reviews impact all types of businesses beyond the online retailers. Like it or not, online reviews have become your reputation. People share reviews on popular sites such as Yelp and Google Places in addition to postings on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, forums and many other social sharing and social media sites. Buying decisions are impacted by what other people say about your product or service.
How is your online reputation impacting your business? Do you know what others are saying about your business online? Customer reviews can enhance your business, but bad reviews can be ruinous. This may seem intuitive, but let’s move beyond intuition and into facts. Here are some statistics complied by Search Engine People about the impact of online consumer reviews.
- Traffic to the top 10 review sites grew on average 158% last year (Compete.com)
- 97% who made a purchase based on an online review found the review to be accurate (Comscore/The Kelsey Group, Oct. 2007)
- 92% have more confidence in info found online than they do in anything from a salesclerk or other source (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2009)
- 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust unknown users, 27% trust experts, 14% trust advertising, 8% trust celebrities (Econsultancy, July 2009, Erik Qualman, Socialnomics)
- 75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements (Yankelovich)
- 70% consult reviews or ratings before purchasing (BusinessWeek, Oct. 2008)
- 7 in 10 who read reviews share them with friends, family & colleagues thus amplifying their impact (Deloitte & Touche, Sept. 2007)
- 51% of consumers use the Internet even before making a purchase in shops (Verdict Research, May 2009)
- 45% say they are influenced a fair amount or a great deal by reviews on social sites from people they follow (46% say reviews in newspaper or magazine influence them.) (Harris Poll, April 2010)
- 34% have turned to social media to air their feelings about a company. 26% to express dissatisfaction, 23% to share companies or products they like. (Harris Poll, April 2010)
- Why do they share? 46% feel they can be brutally honest on the Internet. 38% aim to influence others when they express their preferences online (Harris Poll, April 2010)
- Reviews on a site can boost conversion +20% (Bazaarvoice.com/resources/stats ‘Conversion Results’)
When deciding where to spend your marketing dollars, consider the impact of online reviews. Online reputation management is key part of any business strategy. Contact Us to discuss how we can help you manage and improve your online reputation.
Google Places can have a big impact on your online reputation. Fortunately, there are pro-active steps you can take to ensure you have a good reputation. However, many businesses fail to pay attention to their online reviews and their business can suffer as a result. Worse yet, businesses often know about the bad reviews but don’t know what do do about them. In this blog post, we will look at a couple of business listings in Google Places and discuss the options for improving and managing your online reviews.
What are Google Places Listings?
Google Places listings show up on a map on the search results page when you are looking for a business or place with a physical address. If you are looking for dresses in your town, the map will show the location of up to seven places to buy dresses. Click on the Place Page or Google Reviews and you will be taken to the Google Places listing for that business. A business can create it’s own listing or Google will gather information on it’s own.
You can see some listings have reviews and some don’t. The listings with reviews are more likely to be seen by your prospective customer so it’s best to have reviews if they are good reviews.
Being included in the Google Places listing box can be very valuable since it increases your visibility. But lets look at some potential problems.
Google Places Reviews – 2 Examples
Reviews in Google Places can have a big impact on a business. Would you go to surgeon without finding out what other patients have to say about him? Most people check a business’s online reputation before doing business with them. Let’s look at an example of a hotel in Atlanta.
Lets say you are looking for a nice hotel in downtown Atlanta and you see there is a Marriott nearby. While Marriott has a great reputation, you decide the check out the reviews on this hotel and this is what you see:
Wow, that is probably not what you expected to see for reviews of a Marriott, so maybe you decide to check out the Hilton next door. Do you see how powerful bad reviews can be? Certainly Marriott could do a few things to improve their online reputation, but perhaps they don’t now what to do.
Lets look at another example. If you were to search for dentists in Atlanta, you would see this listing in the Google Places “7 Box” and may decide to look at the reviews before making an appointment.
What To Do About Bad Google Places Reviews
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for your Google Places reputation:
- Get a Google Places account. If you are not listed in Google Places, the first action item is to create a listing.
- Update your listing with photo’s, videos or new information.
- Monitor your reviews – have you checked yours lateley? Are your reviews good or bad?
- Make adjustments to your business to improve the customer experience. Reviews are great sources of feedback – use them to get better!
- Respond to reviews – you’ll have to be loggin in to your Google Places account to do this.
- Solicit reviews from happy customers.
- Fake reviews: This can be tempting, but don’t have friends or employees make up fake reviews. Google can track IP addresses and flag mulitple reviews from the sample computer. Plus, fake reviews are lies, so let’s not go there.
- Don’t leave a nasty reply to a bad review. Write a reply and leave it on your computer. Have someone else read it. Sleep on it, think about it. Revise your reply with this thought in mind: “What would I think of this if I was a potential customer reading this”. Make it professional and don’t take a bad review too personally.
Conclusion – Manage Your Google Places Reputation
Many business owners are too busy running their business to focus on managing their online reputation. We have a comprehensive online reputation management program to make sure your company has the best possible reviews. If you have satisfied customers, wouldn’t you like their reviews to show up in your Google Places listing? Contact us today for a free consultation about how to manage your online reputation.