A quote about reputation management from Ben Franklin - Ella J DesignsNow that 2015 is fully underway, it’s time to focus on making this the year your online presence delivers you more business, and there is no better place to start than with your online reputation – the reviews customers and clients leave about you on Yelp, Google, the Yellow Pages, and similar review sites.

A lot of clients want to jump right into doing search engine optimization and paid advertising. Both are unquestionably very important to generating traffic, but they actually should be considered a second or third phase of an online marketing strategy. The first step, even ahead of redesigning your website, is to obtain (positive) online reviews.

Why? Because reviews matter:

79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more

65% of consumers are more likely to use a business which has positive online reviews

– BrightLocal, “Local Consumer Review Survey 2013

Online reviews will improve your marketing results.

Whether you’re a service business, sell product online, or a single entrepreneur, getting positive online reviews will help you in the following ways.

Increased Sales – The biggest reason why online reviews are important is because they increase sales. Remember, “65% of consumers more likely to use a business which has positive online reviews.” Consumers are always more likely to do business with a with a company that has already been recommended by others.

Understand and Better Serve Your Consumers – Online reviews can tell you whether you are doing a good job or what you are doing wrong and how to improve it. This allows you to better serve your consumers by quickly and efficiently resolving any issues. Sometimes the response to a negative review can be more beneficial than a positive review.

Improve Rankings and Customer Contacts – It is questionable whether online reviews improve your website’s ranking on search engines, but they cannot hurt it. Plus those reviews can also appear in search results and be what convince a customers to visit your website or call you. It’s always been the more that is written about your business online, the more important a search engine considers you to be! That has not changed, and reviews are just an extension of that.

Create Customer Loyalty – Customers who take the time to leave an online review are far more likely to feel a certain loyalty to your business and keep coming back year after year. Through the act of leaving an online review and establishing a relationship with your business, they will be more likely to buy from you again and/or recommend you to others.

Let Consumers Do Your Marketing for You – A handful of positive online business reviews are worth a great deal and can offer your business benefits that a simple marketing campaign cannot. A review provides you with a constant positive image and continual brand awareness, and as mentioned before, be what convinces a customer to contact you or keep looking.

Reviews Breed More Reviews – When a business, product or service has already received reviews online it seems to encourage other visitors to leave their own feedback. Just the appearance of a number of reviews appears to be enough to give new visitors the confidence to add their own views on that particular product or service.

More Positive Reviews Mitigate Any Negative Reviews – Even if you’re the best at what you do, you cannot please everyone. It’s ok to have a bad day but when you get that negative review, you don’t want it to be the only review people see. One bad review on its own is detrimental, one bad review amongst a number of positive reviews is understandable, especially if you’ve take the time to respond and remedy it.

The bottom line is: Online reviews will improve your bottom line.

The bottom line is online reviews not only influence your reputation, they can actually improve your bottom line. You can have the best looking website, traffic coming from killer SEO and advertising, but if you don’t have reviews, or worse, have more negative reviews than positive, then the majority of that traffic will not turn into new business for you.

Reviews and reputation are what convince customers to first trust you and then contact you. It’s why you need to get those reviews and build your reputation before launching into other marketing activities.

Need help with your online reputation and online reviews?

Ella J Designs offers an Online Reputation Management program with a 100% money back guarantee. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more

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