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Online Reviews Will Dominate Marketing Success In 2017

online-reviews-2017

Online reviews are one of the many reasons social media took off.

And now, more than ever, digital reviews of your business will be the difference maker.

Here’s why your marketing team should be chasing reviews, and why they’ll dominate smart marketing in 2017.

online-reviews-2017

Why Online Reviews Matter

Social proof, provided by peer-to-peer recommendations of products and services, is a powerful way to persuade your potential customers.

In BrightLocal’s most recent consumer survey report, they found:

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important

The report goes on to underscore the importance of reputation marketing, and why businesses need to look to reviews for continued growth.

“The growing quantity of online reviews and review sites covering more industries and services, provides huge benefits to both consumers and the businesses that fully embrace reputation marketing.”

On top of the jaw-dropping stats above, online reviews and ratings are on the rise, with 53% of consumers searching for local businesses at least one time per month (vs. 43% in 2015).

brightlocal-online-reviews-search

[Source]

Because, Google.

Still asking why online reviews matter? How about, “because Google says so”?

If the above statistics don’t sway you, just look Google’s most recent stance on local ranking factors.

“Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”

Google-local-ranking

[Source]

The three major local ranking factors will be relevance, distance, and prominence:

  1. Relevance: Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for.
  2. Distance: How far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
  3. Prominence: Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. It is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.
Review counts & scores are now factored into Google's local search ranking. Are you prepared?Click To Tweet

3 Ways To Refine Your Reputation Management

1) Ratings & Reviews

Request online reviews soon after the transaction for products. For services, strike while the iron is hot, like after a particularly good coaching session, or once the deliverables have been met with glee by your client.

2) Testimonials

Client testimonials are often found in conjunction with online reviews. Use them on your website, highlight them in organic social media posts, and favorite or pin especially good ones. We recently got a review from marketing expert Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group, and you can bet we got that up on our site ASAP!

3) Badges & Logos Social Proof

Belong to an association? Have a certification? Use those badges to gain trust and show credibility on your website.

Additionally, you can use banners on your website to showcase top websites that have mentioned your business or highlight reputable clients and recognizable company logos you’ve worked with.

Use these three types of social proof to up your reputation management game.Click To Tweet

2017: The Year Of The Reviewer

If there’s one area I feel like most of the “top trends” posts missed for 2017, it’s the power of the online review.

It’s proven that more stars drive more clicks:

  • 154% — increase in clicks for a 2nd position organic search result when it features stars
  • 55% — increase in clicks for a 2nd position organic search result when it features a greater quantity of reviews
  • 87% — of consumers won’t consider a local business with low ratings

[Source]

We believe in the power of online reviews so much, that we’re investing in Reputation Management in 2017 to monitor, generate, distribute, respond to, and analyze reviews for our clients.

What about you? What are you doing to boost your visibility, gain more online reviews, and keep your reputation in check in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below!

 


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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Category: Online Marketing, Online Reviews, Reputation Management, Search, Uncategorized
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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Good stuff, Brooke. I think more attention needs to be focused on this in 2017. It’s clearly having a growing marketing impact. All the best to you and the team as you offer more services in this area.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Steve! I think you’re right — reviews are a huge player now. Not that they haven’t been before, but it’s time to really start putting an emphasis on Reputation Marketing. Appreciate the kind words! 🙂

      Reply
  • Very interesting Brooke I knew reviews were important but never knew the stars were counted to your ranking…

    Thanks for sharing.

    I am a firm believer social proof is what makes or breaks a blog/online business. People are vary wary of online businesses but when they see their favorite bloggers supporting a new business… they are like WOW!

    When I am outreaching to other bloggers, I never ask for shares, links etc… I ask for feedback. If it’s good I will send them back a testimonial and ask if I can publish…

    This has led to me getting a testimonial and some social proof from Ryan Biddulph, awesome guy by the way!

    Thanks for sharing

    Joe 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi, Joe! Thanks for the feedback (Ryan IS one cool dude).

      I’m with you on social proof. It means so much more to have peers backing a person, product or service than it does for the company to shout, “we’re awesome!” Plus, so many sites rely on old, outdated testimonials and ratings, that it’s truly difficult for consumers to understand HOW GOOD a company really is.

      I love your outreach approach. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment. I hope we “see” you again soon!

      Reply
  • Great tips here Brook. I am new to blogging and starting with my Online Reviews, I believe this is a good year to start, and yes, it has a lot of google searches. I think that more than the “clicks,” testimonies and comments help the writer as well. Keep sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks, Nancy! Google reviews are fantastic. We’ve also seen Facebook reviews help some of our healthcare clients gain a lift in visibility. Peer-to-peer reviews are much more believable — I say go for it when it comes to collecting them!

      Reply
  • Great article Brooke! 🙂

    I see you’re the “mad social media scientist” (love that name btw!)
    so I wanted to share a recent survey conducted by ReviewInc on the blog section that shows some interesting information on how star rating systems are evolving. There’s some great info to consider for any small business looking to connect with their customer and get more reviews.

    Best of luck to you and your team at BSquared! 🙂

    Elaine

    Reply

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