You may or may not be surprised to know that research has shown that up to 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews when making purchasing decisions (since we’ve just started, let’s call this one a bonus reason!). Whether you’ve already got a set strategy in place to acquire reviews or you’re still on the fence, know that word-of-mouth is still incredibly important in establishing reputation for a local business. In today’s digital age, online reviews are just a modern extension of this age-old principal. Here are a few reasons why reviews are crucial to the success of your local business:
- A solid star rating with unique reviews on Google can sometimes do just as much for your business as a Google Ad. You can implement long-term strategies to achieve this by sending automated email follow-ups after a purchase with an option to leave a review. You can also try a short-term strategy like providing incentives for those who leave feedback. What you should never do is buy reviews.
- Both Bing and Yahoo! have exclusive partnerships with Yelp. This means that those Yelp reviews are even more prominent now within local search results. Yelp reviews also appear on Apple Maps and, with its millions of users, this can be crucial for the success of your local business.
- Promoting positive reviews on your business’s website and social media pages can not only entice more customers to your business, but it can attract your current customers and followers to your Yelp page to leave even more reviews.
- Responding to those few negative reviews in a calm and well-thought-out manner shows that you are willing to accept criticism without getting defensive. Potential and current customers appreciate when a business owner can admit a mistake (if there is one) and most importantly, offer to correct it.
- The majority of customers will leave a business review for you if you ask. So do not be afraid to approach your core client base especially, as they are your happiest customers and will likely leave the most genuine and influential reviews.
In short, reviews matter because they serve as a convenient and useful source of information for an unsure user who’s not familiar with your business. Your online reviews have a major impact on your business’s overall reputation and ultimately, performance.
Always make sure that you are doing what you can to generate more reviews. Monitor review websites to gain useful insights on how to improve your customer service. Engage with your customers by responding to reviews – good and bad. Apply best practices in review management and you’ll be on your way to building a 5-star reputation.