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Why Marketing Must Focus on Online Reviews for Growth

User Generated Content (UGC), especially online reviews from customers, is growing in both quantity and importance. The last few years have seen a rise in the number of reviews being written online. They come in several forms including formal reviews left on forums, opinions written on social media platforms and thoughts left in the comment section of a website.

A survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that online customer reviews influence an overwhelming 90 percent of users’ purchasing decisions. It is natural that people want reassurance from other consumers so that they do not end up wasting their money on bad services or products.

Here are four reasons why online customer reviews matter.

1. Online Reviews Affect Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions

Customer reviews play a vital role in consumer purchasing behaviors. The review posted by a user enables other consumers to be more informed about a business’ services or products. Therefore, the decision to buy increasingly comes from the reviewers of a brand who share their experience in a way that attracts new customers.

Because customers trust word of mouth, they use reviews as a convenient source to help them make buying decisions. A study by Bright Local further suggests that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews to make a purchasing decision. Also, a customer who is pleased with a product or service and rates the business five on a scale of 1 to 5 is six times more likely to purchase the brand again.

2. Better Search Engine Rankings

Big search engines like Google and Bing consider the amount of Internet chatter that a business is creating to adjust its ranking. Businesses that gather reviews from customers are more likely to increase their conversion rates. Also, the more reviews a website has, the more backlinks the website attracts. Therefore, businesses that take time to interact with their customers and respond to their reviews increase engagement resulting in a positive impact on their search rankings.

3. Higher Customer Visibility

With many brands marketing their products and services to potential consumers, online customer reviews cut through the noise and let users communicate opinions with one another. Reviews are similar to recommendations, making the uninformed customer more likely to purchase an item that is reviewed by another user.

Despite the type of business, the more customer reviews it gathers, the higher the authority score as well as visibility in search engines. Furthermore, when a business publishes customer reviews on its site, they can show up as stars in search engine results which in turn attract attention towards the brand.

4. Create Customer Engagement

People naturally enjoy being part of a community. Giving them the opportunity to air out their views and interact with your brand is one of the best social marketing tactics. In fact, in a study conducted by Ascend consulting firm, 55 percent of business-to-consumer correspondents said that customer engagement was more crucial than a better search engine ranking, increase in web traffic and high sales revenue.

Interacting with customers translates to higher customer retention, increased customer value, increased loyalty, and greater sales and revenue. Additionally, clients will speak highly of the business when they get meaningful feedback.

Word of mouth is growing as a method of recommendation for consumers. Additionally, with the increasing use of social media, the platforms will probably become regular places where people recommend businesses to other consumers.