If you own or run a local business, you’re aware of the importance of being visible online. If you're not getting the reviews you need, you're missing out on a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Reviews can help improve your ranking on Google, generate more traffic and conversions, and help customers learn more about your business.
This article will discuss the importance of reviews and how to get them for your business.
What Exactly Are Reviews?
Customer feedback is one of the most important tools businesses have for gauging customer satisfaction and identifying areas that can use improvement.
In the past, customer feedback was gathered primarily through face-to-face interactions and surveys. However, with the advent of the internet, customers now have a much broader platform for sharing their feedback through online reviews.
Reviews are an invaluable source of business information, providing insights into what customers like and don’t like about their products or services.
According to a 2022 local consumer review study by Brightlocal, 84% of consumers view reviews as an essential factor during a purchasing decision.
Furthermore, online reviews can reach a much wider audience than traditional customer feedback channels, allowing businesses to improve their reputation and attract new customers.
The Benefits of Online Reviews for Local Businesses
There are many benefits of online reviews for local businesses. Below are some of the most important:
Improve Visibility on Google
One of the most important benefits of online reviews is that they can help improve your visibility on Google. When customers leave reviews, they often use SEO keywords associated with your business.
These keywords can help boost your ranking in Google's search results, or your Google Search Profile, making it more likely that potential customers will find your website.
On top of this, managing and responding to reviews on your Google My Business profile can help improve your ranking and boost visibility.
An article by Brightlocal showed that reviews are one of the top local SEO ranking factors for both the local pack (a Google SERP feature) and localized organic rank results. It grew from 12% in 2018 to 17% in 2021, making it an important ranking factor for businesses to consider.
Online reviews can also help improve click-through rates, as customers are much more likely to click on a listing with positive reviews.
Increase Sales and Conversions
In addition to improving your visibility on Google, online reviews can also help increase sales and conversions.
A study by Dimensional Research found that 90% of customers say online reviews influence their buying decisions. The University of Technology in Sydney also found in a study that 22% of customers will likely buy a product after reading positive reviews.
Reviews can also help increase the number of leads your business generates since potential customers are far more likely to contact a business that has positive reviews.
Build Trust and Credibility
Trust and credibility are critical factors in a customer's decision to purchase a product or use a service.
According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust is the second most important factor (after price) that customers consider when purchasing products.
Reviews can help build trust and credibility by providing potential customers with insights into the quality of your products or services.
When a business also has a presence on review sites like Google Search Profile (formerly Google My Business) and Yelp, it can further build trust and credibility as customers will see that the company is engaged with its customers.
Help Customers Learn More About Your Business
People love to talk about their experiences, both good and bad. When it comes to business, online reviews have become one of the most important tools for customers. Not only do they provide valuable feedback for you to be aware of customer satisfaction, but they can also help potential customers learn more about your business.
When new customers consider doing business with you, they will often read online reviews to get an idea of your business. This is especially true for local businesses, as customers want to ensure they're dealing with a reputable company.
How To Get Online Reviews for Your Business
There are lots of ways to get online reviews for your business. We've listed some of the most effective ones below:
● Use social media: Leverage your existing social media following to encourage customers to leave reviews. You can share links to your review pages on your social media profiles or ask followers to leave reviews of products they love.
● Send email reviews: You can also send emails to customers who have recently purchased a product or used your services, asking them to complete a review. This is an effective way to increase the number of reviews you get, as customers are more likely to take action when the request comes from a trusted source.
● Utilize review sites: Review sites such as Google Search Profile, Yelp, and Angie's List are great places to get reviews. These sites are often the first place potential customers will look when searching for a local business.
● Implement a Review Acquisition Strategy: A solid plan will assist you in getting the most out of your review acquisition efforts. The simplest method is for company owners to be trained to look for possible opportunities. If you feel a client is satisfied with your services, take the time to ask them if they'd like to share their experience online. A happy customer is much more likely to agree and follow through when asked.
● Make it easy to leave reviews: Make sure it's easy for customers to leave reviews by providing links to your review pages on your website and in your email signature. You can also include QR codes that customers can scan to be taken directly to your review page.
Tips on How To Deal With Negative Reviews
No business is perfect, and you will inevitably receive a negative review. When this happens, it's essential to stay calm and avoid getting defensive. The last thing you want to do is argue with the customer or make excuses.
Instead, resolve the issue by reaching out to the customer directly. This will show other potential customers that you're willing to listen to feedback and make improvements.
It's also a good idea to respond to negative reviews publicly. This shows that you're taking the customer's concerns seriously and are working to resolve the issue.
Finally, keep in mind that not all negative reviews are bad. They can be helpful as they allow you to improve your business.
Generating reviews is one of the best ways for local businesses to gain online visibility. Not only are reviews a ranking factor, but they also help build trust and credibility with potential customers.
If you're not already using reviews to improve your business, now is the time to start. Use the tips in this article to get started and watch your business grow!