How to Use Reviews to Market Your Business

An online review is a short write-up or a rating provided by a customer based on their experience with a particular business. Also known as customer testimonials and personal recommendations, reviews are powerful social proof and form a significant component of a business’s online reputation.

Reviews are also often the primary source of a company’s online reputation management and crisis management issues due to the fact that a lone negative review in certain circumstances can be powerfu enough to damage the online reputation of a local business. Reviews have so much influence because consumers tend to believe previous customers rather than yours.

Positive customer reviews and ratings are one of the most significant factors that influences ranking in a number of the local search engines such as Google Maps. When ranking your business Maps, Google looks at the quantity and quality of reviews you have collected across the internet. Google Maps aggregates ratings from a diverse variety of sources to get a universal rating for a business. Consequently, strong reviews on sites like Google+, Judy’s Book, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Trust Pilot, CitySearch, SuperPages, YellowPages.com and others will increase your chances of ranking higher in map search results.

As a local, small business, you need to actively search for online reviews. In terms of exposure and search engine optimization, it only makes sense that you should want as many reviews for your business as possible. This is because search engines notice when people talk about your business, and it makes your business appear more relevant to the online community.

In this comprehensive guide to collecting online reviews by Simon Waters, he explains the step-by-step process  to collecting, managing and publishing your business reviews to Google:

Google Business Reviews – The Ultimate Guide

Google Business Reviews are the most important asset your company can own. Here’s how to collect, manage and publish your business reviews to Google.

Your business should collect reviews because they show your future customers that you are trustworthy, quite often before they even reach your website. Collecting reviews should only be part of your strategy though, because unless you publish your business reviews in Google, nobody is going to see them. You therefore need a streamlined solution to collecting business reviews and getting them shown across the Google and the web (including your own website, of course).

We’re also created a 5-part video series explaining Google Reviews in depth, which you can watch over on our YouTube channel.

What types of Google Business Reviews are there?

Reviews can appear in a number of places on the web, including your own website and third party sites such as Facebook, Tripadvisor, Amazon, Twitter, Yelp, Check-a-trade and many more. But the glue that binds all these sources of reviews together is Google. Once reviews are published across the web, Google can aggregate them by reading their content from those sites, and it presents reviews in the form of organic or paid stars in Google search results.

These Google Business Reviews are then presented to users who enter relevant search queries. For example, if you were to type a company name into Google, you will likely be presented with a list of results in the SERPS including, among others, the company’s official website, it’s Facebook page, perhaps any listings it has on Amazon, and (if it’s in the travel/tourism category) a listing on Tripadvisor.

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In the following article by Review Leap, you’ll learn powerful strategies and guidelines for generating reviews for your online business:

Strategies for Online Reviews

What reviewers write depends on when they write it. The order of rating and writing a review can influence the reviewer’s own attitudes and how readers interpret the review. Reviewers rate products and consumers rate reviews. This feedback helps subsequent consumers focus on the “best” reviews. But what makes a good review?

There are a lot of online review websites – both independent and biased. The biased ones are not as important because they are mostly operated by competitors and most people know this. Independent reviews are the most genuine and the most influential when it comes to consumer behavior. Most of the comments appearing on independent online reviews, whether negative or positive, are honest. Therefore, consumers trust them more when trying to decide whether or not to visit a business. Your company should do everything in its power to generate strategies for positive reviews from your customers.
Review Management StrategyStrategies and Guidelines for Generating Online Reviews

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask your customers to go online and let the world know what they thought about your product. Most happy customers have no problem doing this, so there’s no reason not to ask. This can be extremely powerful in helping you quickly build up a solid profile of good reviews.

Many times customers will come up and personally give you a complement. This is a wonderful opportunity to request that they fill out a review card, and give you permission to post it online. You must be careful when developing strategies for soliciting online reviews. There are many pitfalls, which must be avoided in order to maintain an outstanding reputation.

There are several practices that should NEVER be done when attempting to generate online reviews for your business. These practices are unethical and sometimes violate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations resulting in big fines:

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In the following video by Ranking Academy, you’ll learn the fast and easy way to generate online reviews for your business: