6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are valuable. 

Such a bold, yet controversial statement, right? 

You might be thinking, “Why in the world would negative reviews be valuable? Shouldn’t my business be striving to gain only five-star reviews?” 

Actually, no. Having perfect five-star reviews is not necessary. In fact, people don’t believe businesses that have only positive and five-star reviews. Studies show that customers trust online reviews much more when they include both positive and negative reviews. 

Nearly 80% of people research a company before they make a purchase. They read reviews to determine what the product does, what other people have to say about it, and if that is the product they want. Two-thirds of all purchases online are made by what people have read online. Isn’t that crazy? 

Many businesses think that the only way to get those conversions is to have only positive reviews listed on their site. But, that’s not necessarily true…

This thought process is the reason why so many small businesses tend to rely on positive reviews to boost their business. Reviews can indeed make or break your brand’s growth. But, it’s not totally dependent on positive reviews. Negative reviews actually help your business in more ways than one. 

  1. Negative reviews show that your business is imperfect

Before you say anything…This is a good thing! It shows your human side! There isn’t a business out there that is perfect in all of its endeavors. Businesses who receive ONLY five-star reviews may seem suspicious. In fact, customers think that five-star reviews are hard to believe. You may have experienced this while researching a product. You find a product you like, just to find only five-star reviews with similar verbiage in each one. It may have looked like the seller appointed their friends to write reviews or maybe wrote one themselves. Nobody trusts a company like that! Negative reviews are a good thing because it shows that your business is real and flawed. Responding to those negative reviews also shows that you’re professional, responsible, and reliable. You also have the chance to “right the wrongs” and show other shoppers that you’re responsive and helpful, regardless of the situation. 

2. It shows potential buyers that your review section is honest and reliable

Negative reviews and your response to them display your business’s character. A business whose review section is littered with only good reviews might be guilty of staging, using fake reviews and testimonials, or censoring the bad reviews. People are not looking for only good reviews! They are looking for a business to trust. Customers want to see that your reviews are reliable. They want to see how you respond to them! How are they going to see that if you censor your reviews or hide the downfalls of your business? Customers appreciate and trust a business much more when they can visually see that their reviews are honest and helpful. By keeping those negative reviews, you are helping your business look better online. Leave your reviews where they are and respond to those that express concern or negativity. Customers are also looking to see how you responded to those negative reviews.

3. Negative reviews educate your customers

Negative reviews help enlighten your customers on something they would not have otherwise known about. They show the flaws of the product or service and educate potential buyers about those downfalls before they make a purchase. The flaws mentioned may not have been something you noticed before. Keep in mind, a negative review isn’t specifically something negative about the product. It may be about their customer experience. Regardless, your negative reviews reveal real-life experiences and information that they would not have known about from your product description. This is another way that the bad reviews show that your business is honest.

4. Negative reviews help you find the weakness of your product 

Negative reviews are exactly like constructive criticism. It’s a great opportunity for you to look at your product from the eyes of a consumer. A negative review might not be a put-down, as much as it is an opportunity for you to better your product. Keep in mind, that not all negative reviews are “negative”. It depends on the contents of the review. A customer could be reviewing a bad experience, reviewing a product politely, comparing a first model to a second model product, or listing the pros and cons of a single product. Negative reviews come in various forms. Although reading positive reviews might make you feel like you did something right, you need negative reviews to know what you need to fix. They help you learn from your mistakes.

5. It’s an opportunity to engage in conversation with your customers 

Twice as many consumers look for negative reviews before positive reviews. Consumers are looking for validation before they make a purchase. Because so many people are already looking for negative posts, it puts you in a great position to engage with new or recurring customers. Negative reviews give you the chance to talk to your customers about their experience with your business and your product. This is not the time for you to hide the review so others cannot see it or respond to the comment with another negative comment. Neither option will solve the problem. This is an opportunity to hear them out, provide a solution, and make things right. This is also a great way to show that you are responsive and invested in your business. So, even if they had a bad experience, they received help and a viable solution.

6. It Boosts Website Conversions

Conversions occur when people spend more time on your website and view more pages. It takes some convincing content and some helpful reviews to get those website surfers turned into conversions. A website conversion is when someone completes an action on your website, such as buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or sharing your content on social media. Conversions are incredibly important! You need them to make business! Oddly enough, customers who look for negative reviews are the reason for a 67% increase in website conversions. So, negative reviews actually help score your business more conversions. It must be something about the authenticity of your business… But, we’re just thinking out loud!

When you see that your business has gotten a bad review, don’t panic! It’s all about how you respond. First, you need to acknowledge their concerns and sympathize with them. Next, explain what customers usually experience and apologize that they didn’t receive that same treatment. You should then provide your contact information and offer them the opportunity to discuss the problem further. Finally, make sure your response is short and sweet. You don’t want to say something that might trigger the customer to be even more upset. A good rule of thumb is to keep your response to three sentences. As difficult as it may be to hold back those fire fingers, just stop and give yourself some time to respond. Combating negativity with more negativity or an attempt to prove the customer wrong will not only show that you’re unprofessional, but you’ll lose a lot of business. What you post online is there forever! 

Remember, negative reviews aren’t always a bad thing and they don’t always mean the same thing. Negative reviews can come in the form of a good negative review and a bad negative review. Just because somebody writes a negative review, doesn’t mean it’s true. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and sharing their own experience. People don’t always agree with somebody else’s reviews either. So, just because a negative review is posted, doesn’t mean others are going to agree with it. 

Reviews are absolutely essential for your business because they shape how customers view your business. It helps consumers create an opinion about your brand and your business. As previously mentioned, nearly 80% of consumers research a company before they make a purchase. Before you go deleting your negative reviews, think about all the ways they will help you and your business grow! 

10 Effective Ways to Gain Trust from your Website Visitors

Trust is a quality that’s expected but ironically overlooked. It’s a quality that’s required in every kind of relationship in order for it to move forward.

It shouldn’t surprise you that people consider trust just as important when it comes to online activity. Your website visitors expect a fast-loading, reliable, and accurate website. With an endless amount of fabricated information online, it has become increasingly difficult to trust the information we read or the websites we visit. People are now more aware of fake websites and they’re ready to ditch them! If visitors sense that your site might be fake, they will leave and never come back. That is why it is very important for you to make sure that your website is trustworthy. You might be known as the most trustworthy person your friends have ever met, but if that isn’t reflected on your website, then you will lose visitors and revenue.

If you haven’t seen many visitors to your website or sold any products lately, it might be because your website visitors don’t trust you. So… How do you gain that trust? Listed below are 10 ways that you can easily gain trust from your website visitors.

  1. Add a Headshot and/or pictures of your team

Add some pictures of yourself and your team to your website! By adding pictures, you will be giving your visitors a visual look at your business, which will help bring your website to life. You will be helping your customers get to know your business and its members a little better. Pictures can also eliminate any fears or anxiety, allowing your customers to know that they are dealing with real people and not robots! Showing off your team will help your visitors build confidence in your business. When customers have confidence, they will trust you enough to purchase from you or at least stay on your site a little longer. 

  1. Have your phone number and physical address listed 

Having your phone number listed will show that your business is easily accessible. Websites that do not have a phone number listed are very hard to trust because it shows they are hiding something. Sites that do not have phone numbers also make it impossible for customers to call if something goes wrong with their purchase. Your website should also list your physical business location. Having your phone number and business location listed adds a completely new layer of trust for your audience. People want to know that your business has an actual location. They also want to have a phone number accessible. Listing your business information will also help with SEO and your Google Ranking. 

  1. Create a Detailed “About Us” Page 

Get as creative as you’d like on your “About Us” page! This is the first stop for many doubting visitors. Your “About Us” page should include an introduction of you and your team, tell your brand story, share what’s going on behind the scenes, and let customers know where you are. You should add anything that you think accurately describes your business and team! You should also include why they cannot live without your product or service. Make sure that your “About Us” page accurately and completely encompasses who you and your business are! 

  1. Establish Testimonials and Reviews 

Testimonials and reviews are so incredibly important! It has been proven that people are more likely to buy a product when they see that others have purchased the same product and enjoyed it. Good reviews are basically free advertising for your company. Granted, you will get some negative reviews here and there, but don’t be discouraged! It’s necessary for your business to have reviews, regardless of their negative or positive intent. We do not recommend using fake profiles and testimonials to make it seem like you have more reviews that you actually do. It’s very easy for someone to spot a fake testimonial. Once your audience discovers that you’re using fake profiles to increase you business ratings, their trust in your company will fall. If you want to use testimonials on your page, use the reviews of your business that are already on Google. 

  1. Use Social Media and Blog Consistently 

You need to have an active presence on social media. Not having a social media account can come off as suspicious or that your business does not exist. If you already have a social media account, make sure that you are engaging with your followers who like or share your content. Businesses who do not respond or reply to comments from potential customers will lose the sale- no doubt! It’s also important to blog because your followers are going to begin to expect consistent and valuable information. By blogging consistently, the audience will begin to see you as an authority and trust you for it. You also have the option to add social media buttons to your website to give your visitors easy access. Be sure to not overcrowd your website with too many social media buttons.

  1. Make your Website Mobile-Friendly and Up-to-date 

You always want to make sure that your website is updated! A dated website can cause distrust almost immediately. Imagine visiting a website whose blog posts are over 2 years old, the home page looks old and untouched, and there are many broken links. You wouldn’t trust a website with that many problems, right? If not, why let your own website look like that? Over 50% of internet searches are on a mobile device, which is why it’s important for your website to be mobile-friendly. Your website design is one of the first impressions given to your audience. If you are building your own website, don’t take it lightly. The quality of your website is one of the first things that people will judge when they visit it. It should at least show that you are keeping up with industry standards and new keywords that people are searching for. Your site should also be easy to navigate and use. 

  1. Have a Call-to-Action 

One thing that will benefit your business and website is having a Call-To-Action. Give your visitors a reason to stay. Whether you’re offering a free newsletter or a discount on your products, a Call-To-Action would show that you’re actively selling products and operating a business. A CTA makes it absolutely clear to potential customers that they need to take an action on your website. A CTA will help motivate your visitors to try out your product. Visitors also expect to see some sort of offer or CTA at the end of the page. Without a CTA, your marketing message will be hard to push. You’ll be missing that final hook that you need to reel them in.

  1. Invest in a Domain name that accurately describes your business 

Look at your domain name and think about whether it’s still working for your business and representing your brand. If it’s not working for you anymore, consider changing it! Avoid choosing a domain name that looks weird or spammy. A good domain name should establish authority, reinforce your brand identity, and promote your business. If your domain name does not fulfill any of those areas, you may be giving off a bad impression. Avoid using numbers to replace letters, hyphens, and abbreviations. You should also make sure your domain name isn’t too long, too bland, or hard to type. You should also be aware of your domain name extension. Most companies opt for the .com extension because it’s the most well known. You can really choose any domain extension, but be aware of how it flows with the rest of your domain. Your domain name should ultimately say what you do and where you do it. 

  1. Double-check your website for typos and grammatical errors 

As silly as it sounds, your credibility is based on how well you represent your business on your website. If your website is covered with grammatical errors and typos, it is going to make it very hard for your visitors to trust you. If your sentences are grammatically incorrect, misspelled or seemingly odd, your visitors may view it as a scam. You’ll want to be extra careful when posting things to your website to make sure that it is accurate. On top of your business looking like a scam, it also makes you look unprofessional. 

  1. Offer a Secure Payment Connection

People are online shopping every day, especially now more than ever! The question of payment security never leaves the back of the mind. Your business could be offering awesome products, but if your payment options are not secure, you will have a hard to keeping visitors on your site. If you want to make your visitors feel completely safe, offer a trusted online payment method that is widely recognized by consumers. You will be setting your customers up for easy purchase and they’ll likely come back for more if they enjoy it. You will thank yourself in the long run! The most popular forms of payment that you can add are credit and debit cards, such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa. You can also include Google Pay, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Keep in mind that customers pay attention to the safety badges, normally located on the bottom of the page, when considering purchasing something from an account. Studies show that websites who have these safety badges earn more revenue. 

Building trust with users online isn’t as difficult as it may seem! Creating a safe environment for users really comes down to maintaining a high-quality website and following best practices. Be sure to keep your website up-to-date and you’ll keep that trust you worked so hard to build! The last thing you want to do is lose your visitor’s trust. 

Make Someone’s Day with a Handwritten Letter

Handwritten letters are a lost art of the modern century. Nowadays, it’s almost unheard of to receive such a golden egg. It’s a rare commodity. Although they are not as common as they once were, we can all relate to the excitement that comes along with opening an envelope addressed to us. If we find them so exciting, then why are they so rare?

Handwritten letters symbolize so much more than simple thoughts penned to paper. They symbolize the thought and effort that went into the jumble of words that ended up in your hands. They stand for deliberation and purpose. 

We live in a world that is purely reactionary. As much as we love technology, it has altered the world in which we live. It has caused us to expect quick replies and receive fast solutions. We live in a world where news and information can be accessed with the touch of a finger. We live in a world that refuels itself through an instantaneous response. Things like texts, emails, and calls demand our immediate attention. Face it, our lives are a whirlwind of swift acknowledgment.

Handwritten letters are gentle reminders that it’s okay to slow down and pause to think. They are physical proof of our intention to tell a person how we really feel. Taking the time to write a thoughtful note displays the importance of the relationship. 

We recently received a short, yet immensely appreciated “Thank You” note from a customer a few weeks ago. She praised the work and support of one of our NOC Technicians. The gesture was so unexpected. It made our day to receive a handwritten note and to visually see how this customer was appreciative of a member of our team! It got us thinking about how one simple action can change somebody’s day and overall point of view. It sure changed ours! 

Handwritten letter we received from a customer

We feel inspired to now pass on that same act of kindness. If you ever have the opportunity to write a note to someone you’re thinking about or thankful for, do it! Don’t let that opportunity slip away! Instead of sending a text, send that friend, family member, or business a letter of your gratitude. We promise it won’t go unnoticed. If you’ve ever received a letter, you know how special it made you feel. Despite the expectations of our current world, we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and send a letter of gratitude! You never know whose day you might change. 

The Best 5 Ways to Drive Traffic To Your Site

The million-dollar question is, “How do I drive more people to my website?” Well, the answer is simple! You need to improve your online marketing techniques. You can do that by utilizing a few simple strategies to attract potential customers to your website. Although there are many ways that you can do this, here are five ways that you can get started.

  1. Create Valuable Content 

Content is KING! Have you heard that phrase? It is just meant to emphasize that content is very important, no matter what it is. You cannot have a website without having valuable content! Your website always needs to be providing something of value. You could start writing articles or reviews, producing videos, conducting interviews, or even adding a daily challenge to the website. As long as you are adding valuable content to your website, you are on the right track!

If you can produce good content consistently, you will see major benefits to your site. People will begin to see your website as a credible source and as that happens, you will grow your traffic organically. You can also help along that process by sharing your content on social media and encouraging others to share it! 

  1. Opt into SEO ( implement keywords into your site) 

Make it easier for people to find you organically by implementing keywords into your website. Let SEO do the work for you! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. It is what has helped millions of websites get discovered online. SEO gives websites the chance to be the big fish in a small pond. Keyword implementation is essential when attempting to use SEO to your advantage. An important fact to remember is that 91% of internet users prefer to search for something organically. 

Implement keywords into your website, so that when people organically search for those keywords, your website will be at the top of the page.

  1. Use Social Media 

If you’re not already on social media, you need to be! Social media is an amazing tool for sharing content, which will help drive more traffic to your website. The more content you share on social media, the more people will see it. If your company is not great at generating consistent content, let somebody else do the job for you! You always have the option of connecting with our Success Manager, Brian Montgomery, who can help you revamp your social media and online presence! Your social media pages are another opportunity for you to brand yourself and your business. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to post valuable content, consistently! Your website traffic will increase just by sharing content on social media.

  1. Build Links

Link building is a very powerful technique that will drive traffic to your website and help you achieve a higher ranking in search engines. Link building is the process of getting other websites linked back to your website. For Google to find your post, it needs links from other websites! Unfortunately, you can have the best content out there, but if search engines can’t follow at least one link to it, your content will never be seen. 

This tactic is used in SEO because it shows Google that your website is worthy of a citation. If you can successfully build high-quality links, you will be putting yourself ahead of your competition. Create content that’s good enough for people to link. This is so important and it’s a great way to build a new audience!

  1. Contribute to other Websites 

Share your knowledge on various platforms and don’t hold back! One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is to position yourself as an expert in the field. This means, don’t shy away from answering questions or writing posts on other websites or platforms. Engaging with other websites could easily transition into potential customers if they see you as a credible source. You will reach a new audience just by sharing your knowledge on various platforms. Don’t be afraid to contribute to industry blogs, forums, newsletters, or other websites. The only way you could be holding yourself back from having a large amount of traffic is if you don’t try.

Remember that doing something is much better than doing nothing. If you start utilizing these five effective strategies and implementing them into your website, you will be headed in a much better direction than you were before. These are very simple things you can start doing for your website today! If you need some extra help revamping your online business or website, get in touch with Hostirian’s Success Manager, Brian Montgomery, at brian.montgomery@hostirian.com.