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Acquiring online reviews is like panning for gold—hard to find, and extremely valuable when you do. Positive and negative reviews give potential customers a snapshot of how your business operates. One visit to a review website like Yelp and a customer knows if you value customer opinions. Contrary to popular belief, both positive and negative online reviews help grow your business.

Online reviews are public ratings of your business, brand, and services online. Customers post reviews on websites like Google, Yelp or on social media profiles like Facebook. In most cases, you have no way of removing these reviews after they go public. Too much negative publicity from online reviews can cost you customers and a loss of revenue.

Search engines use these as a factor in where you show up in search results. Today, 88% of customers trust online reviews the same as recommendations from friends and family. Online reviews are important. Stop fighting the trend and start using it to your advantage to maximize your business growth.

Share positive reviews.

Share the online reviews you receive on your social media pages. Thank your customers for their reviews and acknowledge that their time is valuable. In some cases, you can tag the individual in the post so their friends and family see the post. Sharing these positive reviews encourages other customers to leave an online review as well.

Use reviews in your offline marketing.

There are still customers that rely on your offline attempts. Use reviews in your offline marketing. Include them in your e-mail signature, billboards, or other offline advertisements. Include the customer’s testimonial and the website where they can confirm the original.

Respond to every review.

Take the time to personally respond to every online review. “Thank you” and “we appreciate your business” shows you listen to your customers. Respond to negative reviews in a respectful manner to show you value customers and are willing to correct a bad experience.

Listen to upset customers.

Negative reviews provide some of the most valuable feedback you might not otherwise hear from upset customers. Review these comments and identify trends in responses. Find ways to implement changes to customer services, daily operations, and team education. You’ll better meet customer expectations and create a positive experience moving forward.

Google likes reviews.

Whether you believe in the value of online reviews or not, Google does. They use online reviews as part of their algorithm when displaying search results. You risk getting knocked to the bottom of search results if you have no reviews or the majority of the reviews are negative.

Make acquiring online reviews a prominent piece of your online marketing strategy to grow your business.