Online reviews for local businesses have become more important than ever. Found everywhere across every industry, they are highly trusted and can significantly impact your business.
Don’t take our word for it; consider this:
- Over 50% of customers say they will only buy from businesses that have online reviews and a minimum overall review rating of 4 stars.
- 70% of consumers are more likely to give a local business a shot if there are positive reviews.
Think of online reviews as the modern-day word-of-mouth, which small businesses relied on for success years ago. The same is true today; people are just getting internet information instead of their neighbors.
Before dismissing the importance of online reviews, look at ten reasons to make good business sense to make customer reviews an essential part of your marketing strategy.
1. Review Ratings Can Improve Your Local SEO Visibility
Review signals – star rating, quantity, diversity, and velocity – make up 13% of a search engine’s decision-making process, which, according to The Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey, makes it the third-largest local ranking factor.
It makes sense that the number, velocity, and different types of reviews you have are going to be a significant factor in boosting your SEO when you think about it.
Search engines help users find the best service, product, and information quickly.
Having enough positive online reviews lets a search engine know it can confidently display your business in response to a user looking for your services because you are a well-liked business with quality service.
2. Customer Reviews Lift Local Search Rankings
Over 80% of consumers are likely to buy from a business that responds to customer feedback and online reviews. Though replying to positive reviews will be more comfortable, a well-crafted reply to negative reviews can resolve misconceptions.
It’s how you respond to negative and positive reviews on Google My Business that will improve your review rating and impact your SEO.
3. Online Reviews Are Universal
Reviews are multi-functional and are being deployed across every form of online and offline marketing and advertising. This gives you so many more avenues to highlight your excellent service, show peer recommendations, and strengthen customer trust.
Customers aren’t just being presented with online reviews; they are active participants in the process. 80% of people 18-34 years old have written an online review for a local business, and 59% of all customers have. Only 14% would never write an online review.
4. People Trust Online Reviews
Establishing trust with customers is not a given, and customers aren’t interested in doing business with a company they feel like they can’t trust.
And it seems like consumers trust other consumers, with 78% of customers trusting online reviews just as much as a recommendation from a family member, friend, or colleague.
Put your business on the path to building trust by taking the time to grow your online reviews.
5. Positive Reviews Bring in New Business
Higher-rated reviews generate a revenue increase of between 5-9%, and 57% of consumers will only do business with you if you have four or more stars.
Trust is currency, a means of securing a sale, so it’s no surprise that positive reviews directly produce new business.
When you’re shopping online, there’s no salesperson to turn to, so they go to online reviews from their peers for help and advice. Potential customers then gather enough data to decide where best to spend their money.
6. The More Reviews, the Better
There’s a range of benefits you cannot get without a specific volume and freshness of reviews. With a hands-on approach to your online reviews, you’ll be better able to:
- Surpass customer expectations
- Edge out nearby rival businesses for a sale
- Authenticate the accuracy of your company’s star rating
7. Your Replies impact customers
Modern reputation management is too multi-faceted for you to think it’s enough to have a flood of reviews daily only; your company must make time to have meaningful interactions with your customers.
89% of consumers read a company’s responses to reviews and 30% of them place a high value on the answer. Please don’t assume you can avoid reviews either; a third of customers never return their review doesn’t receive a response.
For many customers, this is a way to make or break the tentative impression they’ve been building of your brand.
8. Negative Online Reviews Can Decrease Sales
Just as a positive review brings in business, a negative one can be why you lose customers.
Negative reviews have kept 40% of customers from using a business – that’s close to half of your potential clients lost immediately.
Search engines access negative reviews just as easily as positive ones, and unless you remove it, the review will be displayed on the platform itself – potentially undermining consumers’ perception of your company.
9. Gain Valuable Insights from Customer Feedback Can Improve Your Business
Online reviews give you the chance to get real-world insight into how you can better serve the very people your company’s survival relies on.
Negative reviews may be a company’s worst nightmare, but they can be some of the most useful ones. They aren’t automatically a sign that you’re bad at running a business. It could be that the customer had different expectations.
If your store has long lines, you’ll know you need to fine-tune your process or hire more employees to ensure a better first impression.
10. Reviews Help You Stay Competitive
While Google reviews wield the most influence, knowing what customers are saying, or not saying, on relevant review sites in your industry is also very important.
Directories like Foursquare and Yelp help you see what rivals are doing right and how you can find your competitive edge.
Hearing that you must add another “essential” marketing strategy is not what you want to hear while still creating killer content, staying active on social media, and adding overall value, but it makes good business sense.
Are You On Page 1 can help you prioritize online reviews, boost your local SEO, and bring in more customers. Call us and set up a meeting if you need any further evidence that reputation management is one of your business’s best growth tactics. The next site!