Online reviews are a big part of how consumers choose a business. 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (95% for people aged 18-34). Without good reviews your business is not going to be found or not considered.
Chances are you will receive reviews online, and not all of them will be fair or even accurate. However, you need to embrace them and have an online reviews strategy that turns reviews to your advantage and puts you in control.
Love them or hate them, you need to take online reviews seriously as they can make a major difference to your bottom line. You have the power to make that a positive effect and to put a strategy in place to ensure your business has the best online review profile possible. If you don’t you are just building your competitors businesses.
Why are online reviews critical to your business?
1. People expect to see reviews
People want to read reviews of your business before they choose you. They expect a good business to have them. If they cannot find reviews for your business they will move on to your competitors. If you have no reviews people may assume your business is not good and will avoid it. This only pushes your prospective customers to your competitors, growing their business at your expense.
Don’t underestimate the importance of social proof when choosing a business.
2. Google My Business
Google My Business is the most important presence online for most local businesses. For you to rank well and appear in the Google Local Pack you will need to have reviews in greater numbers than your competitors (and with better ratings). With only 3 places on the Google Local Pack appearing in this top 3 can be difficult but may make or break your business.
You should be generating reviews on Google My Business as a matter of priority as well as on Facebook and other major profiles.
3. You need good ratings to appear on page 1
In addition to Google My Business there are lots of other places potential customers will look for you. Services like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Zomato, Facebook and many others. These services have websites and mobile apps where consumers are looking for local businesses. The great thing about these apps is that people using them are very likely to be close to making a purchase.
If any of these services are important to your business you should aim for the highest rating possible so that you appear as high as possible in search on these apps and websites. Most people don’t look past the first page of results and it is usually your ratings that determine where you rank.
You don’t want to be the business with no reviews or 1 review and then comes a 1 star review. If you haven’t already built a corpus of good reviews, these bad reviews that come out of the blue can destroy your ability to be found and chosen online. You then have to scramble to get more good reviews quickly which might send a bad signal to companies like Google potentially getting your profile penalised.
Having a large number of good reviews (4.0 star and up) also gives consumers a counter point to the bad review, they can see that you have many happy customers.
Ensure you are generating reviews on all your major presences online in a natural way over time. This way, when a bad reviews occur they won’t majorly affect your reputation.
Feedback is critical to any business. Do you have access to critical feedback on your business now? Sure there will be some that are just plain unfair and wrong, but the real critical feedback will be invaluable.
Ask your customers for reviews and feedback and take what they say with a critical eye to your business. Maybe they will identify a problem you can address or an employee that needs further training. Getting this feedback can make or break your business.
6. Increased presence
Being listed on review services increases your businesses online presence. You should not feel negative if your business appears on one of these services. These presences give you the opportunity to be found online more often and may include backlinks to help your business rank better online.
There are probably many review services in your niche and if you are not listed there already you should get listed, claim your profile and start encouraging your customers to review you there.
7. Social Proof
All of the reviews and feedback generated online can also have another benefit, you can publish your best reviews on your website as social proof to potential customers visiting your website. If you get a great review on Google My Business, Facebook or Yelp show the people who are your best prospects, the ones on your website already. Some amazing social proof may be all they need to tip the balance and make them a customer of your business.
91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Where is your business at right now? Do you have reviews? Are the reviews on the right services where customers look for you? Is your average rating high enough to get noticed?
Looking to kickstart your business’s online reviews strategy?
myPresences helps your business manage your online reviews across 100’s of online review sites, and request new reviews from your happy clients. You can then showcase these reviews on your website automatically.
Try a 14 day free trial of myPresences today. See where you have reviews and start showcasing your best reviews on your website within minutes.