At its core, reputation management originated as a public relations term, but as the Internet and social media have grown, your brand’s online reputation heavily influences customer’s buying decisions.
Many marketers have noticed how the digital footprint of your reviews is blending with real-world recommendations from your network. According to a Bright Local study, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. Obviously, this sparks the question, “What impact do reviews have on conversion rate?” We’ll dive into that, and more, in today’s article.
Are increased star ratings tied to improved conversions?
Whether you’re a national organization with a presence in many states, or a local business, online reviews are a major factor in your prospects’ buying decisions — and sometimes, it’s the only factor. According to a case study by Location3 (Denver, CO-based digital marketing agency), star ratings can directly impact conversion rates. The results:
- Brands with an average of 3.31 stars (out of 5) had a 10.4% conversion rate.
- Brands with an average of 4.96 stars (out of 5) had a 12.8% conversion rate.
- A difference of 13,000 additional leads!
Location3 concluded that if the lower-rated locations could convert leads at levels comparable to the top-performing locations, it could effectively mean 13,000 additional leads.
Of course, increasing your star ratings shouldn’t be your only goal, but there is a clear correlation between 4-star vs. 5-star conversion rates. Most consumers look for at least a 4-star score before they’ll consider a business. If you’re below this threshold, you have some work to do.
Short answer: Absolutely. Responding to reviews with any star rating can have a direct impact on your conversion rates. Here’s more from Location3’s study:
- Brands with an average review response rate of 5.73% had a 10.4% conversion rate.
- Brands with an average review response rate of 8.13% had a 13.4 conversion rate.
In fact, a study led by LinkedIn earlier this year reported that 97% of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision. That percentage has significantly shifted the power into the consumer’s hands.
Once you have come to terms with the power your consumer holds, you can start crafting a plan to tackle your negative reviews and help influence purchasing decisions with positive reviews.
Would you benefit from reputation management?
Scenario 1: Brands that need to build up their review volume
A brand might consider reputation management if they don’t have any reviews. To generate some reviews from your following, use a reputation management platform that’s able to automatically send customers an email asking for them to leave a review.
Many brands think they can’t get customers to write reviews (or positive reviews) but the very easy solution is to simply request one from them. In fact, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked, according to an article from Search Engine Land.
It’s important to increase your review volume because the more positive reviews you have, the less detrimental a negative review will become.
Scenario 2: Brands with reviews that are mostly bad
Did you get off to a rough start? Finding a reputation management platform that allows you to set up automated responses to reviews that have 3-stars or less is a great place to start.
Many times, unhappy customers just want to be heard, so any brand response given will appease them. On average, customers who receive a successful first-contact problem resolution are twice as likely to buy from you again, so it’s important that you take these negative reviews seriously.
Research also shows that by not only listening to negative reviews, but actually responding to them consistently, you can increase your star rating. Again, the more you interact with your customers — in this case, responding to their reviews — you show that your brand cares and wants to make it right. This encourages reviews from future customers.
Scenario 3: Brands with strong review volume and star ratings
When a customer becomes an advocate for your brand, it’s important to find a way to encourage them to share their experience with others. Word of mouth is very much a part of reputation management. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
A glowing 5-star review is just as important to respond to as a negative review. Finding a reputation management platform that will allow you to send an automated email out to customers who left a positive review, is a great tool to utilize because this will give you the opportunity to ask those five-star contacts to share their experience across their social channels.
Advocates are crucial and will act as “soldiers” that spread the positive word about your brand to the masses, using their influence to bring new customers directly to you.
Make life easier for your customers
Reputation management isn’t about filling in the holes of a sinking ship. It’s about maintaining a positive relationship with your customers to ensure repeat business and growth. And, fittingly, that’s exactly what digital marketing should be about.
Consumers want to gather the information they need to confidently make a purchase decision, and managing your online reputation is one way to build that type of buyer confidence.
Improve Your Conversion Rates Today
Take back control of your brand’s narrative and start influencing purchasing decisions with reputation management. We’re experts at conversion rate optimization, and we have a team standing by ready to start.