Published on June 21st, 2013 | by Vserpas


5 Ways Online Reviews Affect Your Business

The Internet is an effective way to market your business to wide audience and interact with your customers. But on the downside, Internet is also a place where anyone can post a review of your business that may have a lasting effect on your company’s reputation.

Online reviews can help and hurt your business, but it is the savvy business professional who uses reviews to his advantage. Below are some ways to combat negative reviews before they harm your business beyond repair.

People Trust Online Reviews

The Nielsen Corporation recently released a poll of American consumers which found that seven out of 10 consumers trust the reviews they read online. This means that if the majority of online reviews about your company are negative, then that have a huge influence on whether or not people choose to trust your brand.

But, all hope is not lost if you have more good than bad reviews floating around the Internet.

Reviews Create Rumors

Since so many people trust online reviews, there is the potential for someone to spread a damaging rumor or false information about your company online that can hurt business. The worst part about a rumor is that it does not need to be true to show up on the Internet.

Your best defense against Internet rumors is release a statement on your website, social media profiles and other official online resources to give your side of the story.

Reviews Drive Interest

One of the positive things about online reviews, good or bad, is that they generate interest in your company. When people read a bad review, they might then check out your website to see what your company is all about.

A positive first impression when someone visit your site can often override a bad review and turn a curiosity seeker into a customer. Prominently place customer testimonials throughout your home page and throughout your site to show your business can be trusted.

Reviews Can Close Sales

These days, consumers do a lot of research on a product before they make a purchase. In many cases, the determining factor on whether or not a consumer buys your product is based on the online reviews that she reads. This is why so many online vendors include user reviews as part of their website.

An overwhelming amount of good reviews can often cause a consumer to decide to buy one product over another. If you have an e-commerce store, be sure to allow product reviews on your sales pages. This can drive sales and also show transparency — by allowing reviews directly on your site, you’re showing you have enough faith in your products to allow open customer feedback.

Reviews Recommend Changes

Many companies improve and upgrade products based on customer reviews. It’s estimated that 33 percent of all consumers take the time to write reviews on the products they have purchased or the companies they have done business with. When you read these reviews, you should keep an open mind and use this kind of input to decide what kinds of procedural or product changes you need to make.

A proactive organization never dismisses consumer reviews. By paying close attention to online reviews, you can make the changes that will set your business apart from the competition. You will also learn how much damage control you have to do for your company’s online reputation. Never forget that consumers put a lot of stock into online reviews, which means that the companies should do the same.


About the Author

Vikki Serpas is a freelance writer and graphic designer. Follow her on Twitter or Google+.

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