Online reviews are a critical component of internet marketing. Consumers count on these reviews to guide their decisions. In fact, 91% of buyers age 18-34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and they read an average of 10 reviews before working with a local business.
With the hype surrounding reviews and ratings, you may assume you need top scores at all times. But the truth is that having a 5-star rating could actually hurt your business. Let’s explore the impact of online ratings, and how you can find the right balance for your business.
5-Star Businesses Seem to Good to Be True
When customers see a 5-star rated business, they assume the reviews are fake or manipulated. They may also assume that the business does not have enough reviews to provide an accurate rating. A business with a 4.7 star rating is more appealing than a 5.0 rating, even if the 5.0 is merited. Consumers value authenticity – perfection appears unnatural.
With this in mind, having a strong rating is important. A study from Womply found that businesses with 3.5 to 4.5 star ratings had higher earnings than businesses outside of that range. A separate study found that 57% of consumers will not work with a business with a rating below 4 stars. The occasional ‘average’ review will help your ‘outstanding’ reviews seem more believable.
Review Counts Matter More Than Ratings
Womply’s research showed that review counts matter more than high ratings. For instance, let’s say Business A has a 4.3-star rating with 1,000 reviews. Business B has a 4.5-star rating, but it only has 300 reviews. Consumers are more likely to shop with Business A, even though Business B has a higher overall rating.
Of course, this only applies to businesses within the optimal rating range. If Business A had a 3.3-star rating, Business B would be the more desirable choice.
Customers Prefer Businesses That Respond to Reviews
Did you know that you can respond to online reviews about your business? If a customer had a negative experience, this gives you a chance to make amends. You don’t want to be combative or defensive. Rather, you want to show that you value that person’s opinion and want to improve his or her experience.
As much as 75% of businesses do not respond to reviews, but 89% of consumers read businesses responses. This is yet another opportunity to create a positive image for your brand. Customers see that you are engaging, proactive, and authoritative, all within a 10-second read. Those are the small differences that turn leads into sales.
How to Get More Ratings for Your Business
The key to getting honest, positive online reviews is to stay visible. If you can stay in the forefront of your customers’ minds, they are more likely sacrifice time to write a review. Amazing customer service also goes a long way. Your customers feel compelled to tell the world about your business, just like they would if they had a negative experience.
Email marketing is a great tool for maintaining visibility. Even if your customers do not open your emails, they’re reminded about your business. By sending the right emails at the right frequency, you can tap into your existing clientele.
Claiming your business listings is another vital step. You need a consistent, well-defined presence online so customers remember your brand. Google My Business management is one of the many internet marketing services we offer at Detroit Internet Marketing. We also provide website repair, dynamic web design, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising (PPC management), and much more.
Detroit Internet Marketing
2609 Crooks Rd #220
Troy, MI 48084
Contact Us at (586) 431-1300 for a Free Internet Marketing Consultation
Christopher Bower is a Member and Marketing Director of Detroit Internet Marketing, LLC and brings over 20 years' experience in marketing and online marketing. His education includes Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Marketing, and has been involved in both national and local marketing in Chicago, South Florida and Michigan.