THE POWER OF ONLINE BUSINESS REVIEWS
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 11/04/2018
In today’s digital age, online business reviews can make or break a business, with glowing reviews about value-for-money products and positive customer service experiences holding swaying power over those who choose to invest time and money in your business.
Not only can online reviews help to entice new leads and enquiries directly to your door, they can also improve your organic search rankings and online conversions, and impact purchasing decisions, making them an integral part of your marine-marketing strategy.
We explore the power of online-business reviews, presenting ideas for generating positive reviews and handling any negative feedback.
Why do I need online reviews for my business?
Online reviews help to convert customers
Using proven knowledge of the purchasing cycle, we know that by the time someone has started searching for reviews, they have already discovered a want or need for the desired product or service and are looking for a reputable business like yours to help.
Having glowing online reviews can help these people to feel more confident in doing business with you, and can ultimately give you an edge over the competition and those lesser-reviewed businesses, so don’t be afraid to ask your happy clients to give you an online recommendation to help convert new customers.
Online reviews help to improve your search rankings and online presence
Although internet search engines such as Google and Bing have never confirmed that reviews have any impact on organic or unpaid rankings, evidence says that there is a strong correlation between reviewed businesses and rankings, especially as part of a local SEO strategy.
In fact, Moz’s 2017 report on Local Search Ranking Factors suggests that review signals are thought to influence 13% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank their local results.
Where to get reviews for your marine business
When embarking on any online-review strategy, it’s worth ensuring that you are getting the right reviews in the right places.
While there are many general websites and directories that allow customers to leave reviews for the businesses they have used, you should think about implementing a strategy to target the platforms that are most relevant to your industry, so that you are reaching your clients in the places that they search – while Yell may be the most appropriate place to search for reviews for your local mechanic, Yachtingpages.com is one place that crew and professionals come to check out marine businesses serving the world's superyachts.
If your business works across a range of sectors or industries, it’s a good idea to ensure that you are referring the relevant customers to the most appropriate platform, and, if your client base is local, you’ll want to make sure you are also targeting those local review sites and Google Places.
Take the time to understand the review policies and any terms and conditions of each platform before adding them to your reviews strategy to ensure that your client's testimonials will be included.
What about my existing reviews?
To get your online reputation in order, don't forget to carry out a few searches for your business and its products online to find any existing reviews that you may have missed, so that you can respond to them. This is also a great time to update any outdated profiles or articles – especially if you are planning to send customers this way in the near future.
Try typing your business, brand and product names along with your location into any search engine and see what you can find. You could also try some keyword-based searches to see what comes back; this way you will be able to add comments and replies to existing reviews, and scope out your competitors.
You should make it a focus to establish, update and increase your coverage on the top review sites that appear in these searches to get your brand name out there, and to keep a good stream of up-to-date reviews coming in. Tracking online mentions for your business is a good place to start.
Generating new online reviews
There are a number of ways that you can work to generate new glowing reviews from your happy customers!
1. Send a polite request or friendly email
As a savvy marine marketer, you’re likely to be carrying out regular account management and gathering satisfaction surveys somewhere within your business already. A polite request the next time you speak, perhaps during a routine phone call or a friendly email is an ideal time to request that review. If you are seeing them face-to-face at trade shows and events then even better!
2. Create a web page, email signature, business card or flyer
It’s also an option to create a small reminder notification on your website homepage or dedicated web page, e-newsletter, email campaign or email signature to request reviews and testimonials. Furthermore, you could create a business card or flyer with further instructions for reviewing your business online. It’s also a good idea to include a handy link that takes willing customers directly to your chosen review platform.
Responding to negative reviews
To get ahead of the curve of any newly added feedback online, we recommend setting up a service like Google Alerts to send a notification any time your business is mentioned around the web.
Of course, it would be great if customers came to your business directly with their feedback and complaints before leaving any negative reviews online, but if you receive a negative online review, first remember:
Don’t get mad or upset and act without proper thought to the end result - walk away and take a few minutes to consider the best way to proceed.
Don’t reach out to the review platform and request the review to be taken down - reviews are, after all a place for both positive and negative feedback. Any bad reviews need to be seen as a positive; we all need feedback on our products and services to evaluate and improve. Publically responding to negative reviews to address customer issues shows that you are a credible business, dedicated to offering a good service. It happens to the best of us, as you won’t see a hotel or restaurant on TripAdvisor without at least a few negative reviews.
Do take a moment to think about your reply - you should deal with the negative review as you would any general criticism.
Do treat the review as a conversation - diffuse the situation and offer to rectify the situation or compensate for any issues experienced.
Do end by briefly highlighting the positives and benefits of the products or services that the customer received - perhaps you could ask them to add a second review to highlight your complaints capability and the renewed outcome.
On-going review strategy
When neglected, collating and managing customer reviews can become a difficult job. With an on-going review strategy included as part of your marine marketing, it becomes easier to manage and ensure that no negative ratings are left unanswered.
Work to encourage online reviews continually over time so that you don't receive too many to manage. This is also great for ensuring that your reviews are recent and up-to-date for anyone who may wish to find out more before doing business with you.
How marine-business reviews work on Yachting Pages
Reviews are a big part of our superyacht-search engine; our internal search results can be ordered to display businesses by rating, and reviewed businesses can be searched independently of businesseses without any ratings. These options offer reviewed businesses great opportunity for additional exposure on our website. Users can also rest assured that business reviews are qualified, with it mandatory for reviewers to leave:
- Their full name
- Their email address
- Their yacht or business name and position
- A star rating
- A short, yet detailed review of the service received
All businesses listed on Yachtingpages.com have the ability to reply to reviews left on their pages. Furthermore, our online advertisers can work closely with our in-house marketingt team in order to generate, promote and manage their business effectively on our website, taking some of the hassle out of online reviews – just ask by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.