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Before you can take steps to improve your online reputation, you need a sustainable way to measure your progress. That means tracking metrics. We breakdown the key metrics your business should monitor starting today.
You’ve set up your Google My Business page, you monitor your social media sites, and you ask customers to post a review after they make a purchase.
Where do you go from here?
Online reputation management is not only about creating a presence for your business online. The ultimate goal is to consistently increase your engagement and SEO ranking, expanding the visibility of your business and bringing in new customers. Before you can take steps to improve, you need a sustainable way to measure your progress.
That means tracking metrics.
With all the different review sites and potentially hundreds of reviews coming in each month, this might seem like an overwhelming task.
We breakdown the key metrics your business should monitor to ensure that your reputation management system is functioning successfully.
In their 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey, Brightlocal found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. On average, internet browsers read ten before trusting a business. Importantly, Brightlocal also found that 73% of consumers only care about reviews written during the previous month.
What does this mean?
For one, review volume is one of the most important numbers your business needs to track.
Further, review frequency should be your priority.
This is why we highly recommend monitoring your review volume per month as well as the overall volume. Having segmented data will allow you to track your consistency, not just your totals.
The impact of your business’s star rating can’t be stated enough. According to Podium, the lowest rating that consumers consider engaging with is 3.3.
A case study by Location3 found that increasing your business’s star rating by 1.5 could lead to 13,000 more leads. Improving your rating means more business, which is why we recommend tracking your rating per review site as well as your rating per vertical.
Why are the specifics important? Consider this scenario.
'Spa Widewail' has one hundred reviews, fifty five-star ratings about the sauna and fifty one-star ratings about the nail salon. The resulting average, 2.5 stars, suggests that Spa Widewail is a subpar business. In reality, customers are satisfied with the sauna, it’s the nail salon that needs improvement.
Online reviews are more than free marketing.
They provide feedback and customer insights that your business should take seriously. By tracking your rating per vertical, you can pinpoint the areas of your business that need the most attention and measure if the efforts you take to progress are working.
3. Percent Negative
Focusing on critical feedback can be hard, but if you’re invested in making positive changes to your business you have to recognize your flaws.
Tracking the percentage of negative reviews reveals two things: the quality of your service, and whether your business is receiving enough reviews.
The first is straightforward.
If fifty percent of your reviews are negative, too many customers are walking out of your store unhappy. We know this can be tough to accept, but as we mentioned earlier, it’s the critical feedback that will ultimately help your business most.
The second requires further explanation.
Without prompting, most people won’t leave an online review unless they have something to complain about. Businesses that don’t proactively ask for reviews will naturally see a larger percentage of negative feedback. Everyone makes mistakes, which is why it’s vital to harness the voices of your satisfied customers.
As you increase the number of review requests sent you will see a fairer representation of opinion reflected in your reviews.
In fact, one Widewail customer saw a 75% reduction in negative sentiment within the first 90 months of using our Invite service. As you can see, negative review percentage demonstrates how well your business is generating reviews.
4. Percent Responded
It’s not just reviews that are important, it’s what you do with them.
Responding to reviews gives your business the opportunity to engage with your customers, and 96% of consumers will notice if you do. Google has gone as far as to recommend that businesses "reply to reviews to build [their] customers' trust."
Further, Harvard Business Review found businesses that respond to their reviews receive an additional 12% more reviews.
Some businesses only respond to negative reviews, focusing their energy on addressing concerns or apologies while ignoring their grateful customers.
On the flip side, some businesses overlook critical feedback, giving up the chance to make things right with their customers and improve their service.
At Widewail, we believe that responding to all reviews, positive and negative, provides the greatest opportunity for online reputation management. Turn negative reviews into a positive experience.
If not using an online reputation management service, be sure to track the percentage of reviews which receive responses along with breakdowns for positive reviews and negative reviews. This will reveal if your response team is providing adequate attention to everyone, both happy customers and those less satisfied.
5. Response Time
More and more, reviewers expect that businesses respond to them online. Not only that, Brightlocal found that 76% of survey respondents want businesses to answer them within a week.
Beyond consumer expectations, timeliness is key to getting the most out of your reviews.
How would you react if someone sent you an apology three months after the fact?
At best you might ignore the sentiment, seeing as that person didn’t put the effort in when it mattered.
At worst you might become angry about the incident all over again, leading to further conflict.
For negatives, a fast response gives you the greatest chance to address your guests’ complaints and potentially win back their trust. For positives, a fast response secures future business and demonstrates your commitment to customer service.
Track your review response times with specific data for positives and negatives to ensure you aren’t missing out on customer service opportunities.6. Invites Sent and Conversion Rate
Our guide, 15 Proven Strategies to Get More Online Reviews, is a great resource for businesses hoping to increase their review volume. Ultimately the solution is simple: you need to ask your customers to share feedback.
In our experience, 20% of review invites turn into reviews. If you’re hoping to get 50 reviews a month, you will need to ask about 250 people. Track how many review requests you are sending per week and month to keep up with your objectives.
Of course, your conversation rates may not match up with the data. Falling short isn’t the end of the world, it just means you need to allocate further energy to asking customers for reviews or find a more efficient method. Monitoring your review conversion rate - how many review requests result in posted reviews - is how you will determine if changes are needed.
You might be thinking to yourself, that’s a lot to keep track of. Luckily, there are automated options for monitoring your metrics. Widewail clients receive a monthly report that details all of the numbers mentioned above.
Reporting is just one piece of the puzzle. If you're a local business owner thinking about implementing a reputation management strategy, Widewail's Playbook will jumpstart your effort. Learn the framework that is a proven winner.
I’m a New Jersey native who joined the Widewail team during my brief stint in Burlington. Now living in Jersey City, I currently serve as the Response Team Lead and Content Specialist. My background is in writing and my work has been published by Thrillist, Reductress, McSweeneys, The Rumpus, and more. I occasionally update my own blog No Meat, Some Potatoes, and in my free time I hang out with my dog Jake.
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