Why Online Reviews are So Important for Local Businesses

Online customer reviews are an often overlooked aspect of local business’ digital marketing strategy. “It’s nice to get feedback but it doesn’t impact our sales.” “No one reads reviews anyways.” “I’m already advertising my product so I don’t need to keep up with reviews, too.” If this sounds like your business’ current approach to reviews, don’t worry–we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn just how important these ratings and comments are.

Four Reasons to Care About Your Customer Reviews:

  1. Everybody’s doing it. Okay, almost everybody. Bright Local found that 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017. And in North America, 91% of consumers read online reviews to learn about a business. Having a presence in these areas is key to landing this consumer.
  2. Just having reviews isn’t enough. 9% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business. No one wants to waste their time or money on a below average experience. The only way to assure potential customers of what they can expect from you is through verified reviews from people who’ve been in their shoes. Your five-star service isn’t worth much to these people unless your Google reviews and rating reflect that.
  3. Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. While you could form the relationship and build trust during someone’s first visit, reviews help you to speed up the process and help the customer form positive feelings towards your business before they even step foot in a store, talk to a company representative, or make a purchase.
  4. It’s been long-believed that recommendations from friends and family were the most effective way to build trust with a brand. However, new research shows that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is a big deal. If word of mouth promotion is important to you, reviews will be your new best friend.

How to Start Getting Business Reviews:

With the importance of reviews established, what can your business do to start getting reviews and using them to their full potential? Here are some great starting tips.

  1. Just ask! It really is that simple. 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74% having been asked for their feedback.
  2. Make sure communication goes both ways. Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses. Acknowledge negative reviews by responding to the specific issue and turning it into a positive experience. Thank customers who leave positive feedback to build your relationship and further highlight the great things your business provides! Responding to all reviews, not just the ones you like, builds trust and loyalty.
  3. Utilize social media’s impact. 69% of the public uses some type of social media so having customers share their positive experience with your business on their social pages is a great way to reach a local audience through a trusted source. In fact, Facebook is now one of the top two trusted sources for business reviews (along with Yelp) so use it wisely!
  4. Make it easy. The fewer steps and less time it takes for customers to leave a rating and review, the better. Automate emails that encourage online buyers to review their purchases. Make sure customers know where to leave their review, and don’t ask four pages of questions when they get there. The simpler the process, the more reviews you’ll get.

For more information about using reviews to grow your business check out these articles:

Google Helps You Leverage Your Reviews

Why Google Reviews are So Important for Local Businesses

How To Get Google Page Reviews (and Dominate!)

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