Yep, that’s right. Negative reviews can help businesses. 

Here’s the thing: customers don’t trust a 5-star rating. Research shows companies with a star rating of 4 or 4.5 earn more revenue than businesses with 5 stars.

Why? The ratings feel more accurate and organic, instilling trust. 

No business is perfect, and your consumers know this. People want to know the negative aspects in addition to the positive aspects of your business. After all, there’s nothing more important than transparency.

Negative Reviews—Aiming for Authenticity

When there are countless businesses left and right, consumers want to know the real deal via online reviews:  

  • What’s great about your product or service? 
  • What areas need fine-tuning or aren’t the best fit for certain people? 
  • What features of a product or service just plain suck that potential customers (and your business) need to know? 

What the Research Says…

Seventy percent of consumers use online rating filters. The most common filter they apply? Four-star or higher ratings. 

Having just the right mix of positive and negative reviews can: 

  • Illustrate that your company values transparency. There is no perfect product or service for everyone all the time. 
  • Provide your audience with a holistic understanding of your products and services. 
  • Help consumers make smarter buying decisions.
  • Help your team make the right adjustments to the business.
  • Encourage customers to leave their own reviews to contribute to the conversation.

Your Consumers Deserve the Truth

Overall, customers value authenticity. And heck, they deserve it. This is why negative reviews are important.

You know all too well the fear and anxiety of getting ripped off. So like you, your target consumers are cautious not to be fooled by businesses who might purchase positive/fake reviews to win a glossy 5-star rating.


For more context, let’s review some ratings of podcasts that illustrate the value of having an  authentically imperfect rating.

Take a look at these two podcasts: 

Search News You Can Use has a five-star rating with 30 reviews. Compare this to Marketing School, which has a 4.7 rating with over 1,000 reviews. 

Even though Marketing School doesn’t have a five-star rating, their 1,000+ reviews illustrate growth and engagement. This indicates consumers find Marketing School to be more authentic—it doesn’t alarm their BS meter. 

Plus, Marketing School’s imperfect rating has encouraged many listeners to take part in the conversation/review process. 

How to Achieve the Optimal Star-Rating

There are three ways to achieve that optimal 4-star or higher rating: 

1. Actively Solicit Honest Reviews

Send out review requests via email and/or text. Make the process as easy as possible for customers to leave genuine reviews: 

  • Include a direct link to the review site, or integrate the feedback form in your email/text. 
  • Send out these requests promptly. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that customers won’t remember their buying experience very well. 
  • Encourage customers to leave honest reviews. Tell this to them directly, which invites transparency. 
  • Offer customers incentives for leaving reviews. Whether negative or positive, provide them with a special little something for their thoughts. 

2. Read Your Reviews and Improve Based on the Feedback

Getting reviews is just one piece of the pie—you need to also read your reviews. Otherwise, how else are you going to improve your business? 

In the event you do receive negative reviews, read them and take proactive steps to address them. This can improve your business and customer experience, nurturing positive reviews. Balancing out the negatives with positives will help you maintain a solid rating. 

3. Respond to Reviews—Whether Good or Bad

Over half of consumers expect companies to respond to their negative reviews within seven days. 

Responding back illustrates your dedication to customers:

Lean into Trust and Transparency with Big Leap

At Big Leap, trust and transparency are at the center of what we do. If you need help illuminating the authenticity of your brand, reach out to our team of digital marketing experts.

In the meantime, read about when and when not to DIY your digital marketing.