Online Reviews - The New Word Of Mouth pr. 1
Did you know that how you handle online reviews can affect your earnings by 60%? Your brand is your reputation. And in today’s digitally driven world, news about your business—both good and bad—travels fast. The modern-day shopper is different from that of 10 years ago, and consumers rely heavily on online reviews on their path to purchase – perhaps more than you might think.
This is the first of a series of three posts that will help you to understand the importance of reviews and how you can protect and strengthen your brand reputation by handling your reviews correctly.
In a groundbreaking study published by Womply, the data from more than 200,000 U.S. small businesses in every state and across dozens of industries, shows the correlation between location marketing and revenue. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but their findings were remarkable in a number of ways. In summary:
Simply claiming ownership of your locations on review sites is enough to generate significant revenue
Responding to reviews has a tangible impact on earnings
Perhaps the most surprising fact is that there is a “sweet spot” in the high 4’s rather than a solid 5 star rating
We’ll cover each of these points and more in detail as we go along. The study even includes a very handy drop-down menu where you can enter your specific market segment to see how your business type is affected versus the average business. See image 1 below.
Claiming Ownership -
Why you need to own your digital presence
Claiming ownership of your locations on various review sites is the first step to generating more revenue for your company. Before you can concern yourself with responding and managing customer opinions you have to have access to those reviews and ratings. That is accomplished by ensuring that you own and manage your local digital footprint.
Most networks provide step by step guides on gaining control of your local stores’ online profiles. According to Womply, your top priority for claiming listings is on Google. “In terms of its correlation to increased sales, Google is the most important of any of the single review sites. Businesses who claim their Google listings average 10% more in annual revenue than the average business, but those who don’t claim theirs average 24% less in annual revenue.” Here is Google’s guide that could be used to claim the listing in the image below.
Womply found claiming ownership of locations on review sites, without taking any further action, affected the annual business revenue by up to 59.73% based on an average revenue of $301,000. Ignoring review sites completely had the negative impact of -27.04% revenue or roughly $72,000.
Conversely, claiming two review sites boosted revenue by 13.26% or roughly $40,000 a year. Claiming 3 more resulted in an annual income boost of 35.66% or $107,000! These results reflect what happens when you own your digital presence alone. Responding to these reviews, which we’ll look at next, can boost earnings even higher!