Over the last twenty years, we have seen the way in which business is done go through an online revolution. The age of instant information is here, brought about by online data costs coming down, better access through our smartphones and the online content becoming relevant and updated in real time.

Now, we are able to search for new services and products without leaving home. The finding of products is only the first part, now we can also research the company and learn about the experiences that other customers have had, enabling us to make smarter choices.

What does this mean for your business, well first it means that you need to have an online presence and ensure that it has an excellent reputation? So that when potential clients shortlist your products or services when they do more research that they will find positive information to help persuade them to work with you and not go to your competitors.

The first task you have is to ensure that you set accurate expectations about what you can and cannot do. So truthful descriptions of your products and or services, that result in your customer’s expectations being met or exceeded are essential. Then once you have happy, satisfied clients you have the opportunity to leverage their feedback to build your online reputation.

I suggest that you always ask for reviews from happy clients. If you sell online, it can be a good idea to use an independent review request service that can automate the sending out and gathering your reviews. The fact that your reviews will then be held on an independent website is beneficial as they are seen to be more trustworthy by readers.

Another added benefit is that search engines such as Google, also value reviews gathered on its trusted partners and will display seller ratings against its sponsored and organic results based on these reviews.  These seller ratings, which are gold stars can substantially increase the click-through rates from potential. Just image that you are searching for an international courier service and one result has 5 gold stars next to it, whilst their competitors do not, which are you going to click on?

You should display your positive reviews against your products on your website, or in physical bricks and mortar locations. They will work as an additional higher authority recommendation, helping to increase your conversion rate. You can also display your positive reviews across your social media such as Facebook, this can often be liked and or shared by clients and or fans. Who can influence others in their social circle to work or buy from you? Everyone likes to keep up with the Jones.

The value of positive online reviews is enormous and can help to increase visitors and sales. As you grow and gather more online reviews, the effect is multiplied. For example, your trust will go up with a higher number of positive reviews, which if the reviews are on eBay, can result in them promoting your listing more and therefore helping you to get more sales.

If you work in the hotel or restaurant business, then reviews on TripAdvisor can have a huge impact on your bookings and reputation.  With thousands of visitors to specific resorts and attractions researching reviews on potential destinations before firming up a booking. So whatever business you are in, make sure you harness the power of reviews to take your business forward.