How much thought have you put into online reviews? In 2016, BrightLocal found that 91% of people regularly or occasionally explore feedback from previous customers. Comments and those five little stars can seriously influence a buyer’s decision.

Even if you don’t actively look for reviews, they often show up anyway while searching for a product or service. If you haven’t been asking for feedback, it’s time you pay more attention to the connections you create with both previous and prospective customers.

Here’s another stat from BrightLocal that will help you understand the importance of feedback now and in the future: 97% of consumers aged 18-34 read online reviews to form an opinion on a local business.

This is a clear indication that ratings and reviews will only have a stronger impact on a buyer’s decision process as time goes on. Check out the information below to learn more about the weight that feedback carries for your business.  

1. Improve Your Sales Performance

Online reviews are important to businesses mainly because they help increase sales by giving consumers more direction. Don’t you feel like it’s necessary to learn information about a product or service before deciding on who or what to choose? Fortunately, reviews provide real life testimonials that can help guide everyone through the shopping experience.

Based on stats from Reevoo, reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales. Why? Because consumers are always more inclined to purchase a product or service that others have recommended. And the more positive reviews you receive, the more credible your brand becomes.

2. Test the Temperature of Your Consumers

It’s crucial that you find out how consumers feel about your products and services, so that you can develop healthier business practices. To improve the customer experience, you need to encourage feedback!

According to BrightLocal, seven out of ten consumers provide feedback when a business asks for it. So if you want to win people over with good reviews, you can’t live in fear of bad ones. Make customer satisfaction a top priority—and let your reviews mirror this commitment.

3. Give People Insight into Your Overall Reach

Have you ever searched for reviews, only to discover that a business barely has any at all? Most of you probably have. Unfortunately, it seems like a severe shortage of input can actually be more harmful to your business than a couple of negative comments.

Companies that don’t motivate consumers to leave feedback might believe they’re at an advantage by dodging negativity. However, as your reviews increase, prospects will get a better idea of the number of people that your business has already reached.

4. Boost Your Search Rankings

Online reviews go beyond just creating relationships between your business and your consumers. By writing more content across a variety of platforms, people will help boost your website’s ranking on Google organically.

According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factor Survey, reviews are responsible for 8.4% of how Google decides to rank websites in search results. From the diversity and quality of the reviews to the authority of the sites and the type of feedback you receive, reviews play a significant role in your website’s ranking.

5. Increase Your Keyword Content

Since consumers write online reviews about particular products or services, they naturally include important keywords. And from an SEO standpoint, you’ll be able to benefit from those keywords without any effort at all.

When you do right by your consumers, the buzz that they generate on their own can often turn out to be the most rewarding. Writing high-quality, unduplicated SEO content requires a lot of time and effort. That’s why you should supplement your existing content and throw more into the mix by asking people to let you know how you’re doing.

6. Give Consumers a Voice and Create Consumer Loyalty

Consumers that write positive feedback are far more likely to return and become loyal to your brand. Leaving reviews and connecting with your business will also help people feel like their voices are being heard.

Emphasize customer satisfaction and have confidence knowing that most of your reviews are likely to be positive. Business is a two-way street: you need to learn more about the problem to provide the best possible solution.

7. Encourage Consumer Engagement

From Yelp and Angie’s List to Facebook and Reviews on Google, review platforms often turn into active social communities. Many consumers like to leave reviews, and then regularly return to see if others have commented on their posts, or if new ones have been added.

Additionally, your business can make suggestions, thank people for positive reviews and quickly address any of those that are negative. This helps you promote an open line of communication and demonstrate transparency.

8. Let a Good Reputation Carry Your Business

Even just a few good reviews can make a world of difference for your business. Marketing campaigns come and go—but reviews stick around forever.

Those portraying your business in a positive light will continue to draw potential customers and spread brand awareness. The positive feedback you receive about customer satisfaction will work in your favor now and well into the future. Let online review platforms fuel your business—not destroy it.

9. Reviews Attract More Reviews

In baseball, it’s believed that “hitting is contagious,” meaning success at the plate spreads from one player to the next. Similarly, in the business world, feedback from previous customers seem to encourage new customers to leave reviews, as well.

In fact, BrightLocal has found that 58% of consumers have been leaving more and more reviews based on customer service. Considering how popular review platforms have become, it appears that people have more confidence to share their two cents when several others already have. Only a few good reviews is all you need to get the ball rolling!

Make your business shine with a strong, online reputation management strategy!