No matter what industry your small business is in or how long it’s been around, reviews matter.
It used to be that word-of-mouth referrals were the key to small business success, and while referrals still matter in the digital age, online reviews are a must for every small business.
What the Stats Have to Say:
- In 2017, 97 percent of consumers make it a point to read reviews for making an online purchase.
- In 2016, consumers would read an average of six reviews before deciding to trust a business, and in 2017, that number rose to seven reviews.
- More than 57 percent of consumers will eventually make a purchase from a business they’ve researched online.
- When making a buying decision, more than 46 percent of consumers pay attention to the quality of a business’s reviews.
- Half of all consumers will question whether to trust a business after reading negative reviews online.
5 Reasons Why Online Reviews Matter for Small Businesses
#1. Mobile search is the new driving force for local business.
In the good ol’ days, most people found local businesses by word-of-mouth referrals. For instance, if you were looking for an electrician, you’d probably start by asking your friends and family or maybe your co-workers for referrals.
But today, most of us have the internet literally in our pockets, giving us the ability to find an electrician or any other local business on the spot. More and more, mobile search has become the biggest thing driving consumers to local businesses. However, consumers aren’t likely to simply put their trust in the first listing that pops up, and in order to earn their trust, reviews are key.
#2. With online reviews, the customer comes to you.
It used to be that, in order to advertise your business and get your name out there, you had to use outbound forms of marketing, like television, radio and newspaper ads. Outbound marketing is all about throwing out what you have to offer to a broad audience with the hope that at least a percentage of those consumers will have a need for your product or service.
Consumer reviews, on the other hand, are an inbound marketing strategy. In order for a consumer to find your brand and your reviews, they have to be looking for a product or service you offer, which means that a far greater percentage of your audience will actually want to work with you. And it’s those reviews that turn a prospective buyer into an actual customer.
#3. Websites with the best reviews rank better organically.
In this day and age, every business needs a website because, as we mentioned, that’s how people today find businesses. However, it’s not enough to simply have a website. In order to get new consumers to visit your website, it has to rank on page one.
The simple fact is that most people never look past that first page of listings, and if your website doesn’t show up, it may as well not exist. Although there are many things that go into Google’s ranking algorithm, one very important piece is reviews. Google wants to promote the best companies, and they do that by ranking websites with the best reviews higher.
#4. Reviews help to establish trust in your brand.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of competition out there, and that’s true whether you own a small retail business or a dental practice. With so many other businesses competing for the exact same customers as you, you have to be able to demonstrate to the consumer why they should take a chance on you instead of choosing the others.
It’s not enough just to have one or two positive reviews, either. The more positive reviews your business has, the more likely new consumers are to trust you. Only about 3 percent of consumers will trust a company after reading one review, but a staggering 32 percent will trust a company after reading four to six reviews.
#5. Reviews lead to more sales!
The driving force behind any and every business is the sales. At the end of the day, if your business isn’t making sales, it’s not making a profit, and you won’t survive. Luckily, reviews are a great way to increase your sales.
If a consumer is deciding between a similar product or service from multiple businesses, they are going to choose to purchase from the business that has the most positive reviews, plain and simple. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, 97 percent of consumers will read a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to make a purchase or not, and the bottom line is that, if you don’t have reviews, you’re going to miss out on those sales.
Top Rated Local® offers a better way to manage your reviews.
Businesses have very little control over their reviews and their online reputation using most review sites, which leaves a vulnerability to illegitimate, negative reviews from disgruntled employees, competitors and other malicious reviewers. Top Rated Local was created to address these everyday problems, and to be a place where true and legitimate customer experiences can be captured and shared.
For business owners, this is clearly a big plus, because it prevents slanderous and unfair comments and reviews from tarnishing their brand and their good name. And for consumers, this unique approach allows them to find the kind of companies who are really doing it right for their clients, and it gives them a realistic window into what a business actually has to offer and the kind of quality they can expect.
Are you ready to become a Top Rated Local business?
If you’re not earning positive reviews for your business, then the fact is that you’re missing out on the many benefits associated with them. There are so many incredible reasons to start earning positive reviews and managing your online reputation, and Top Rated Local can help.
The best part about joining Top Rated Local is that it’s 100-percent free. It’s also one of the best things you can do to start getting noticed for those “near me” searches. Don’t let another sale, search result or consumer pass you by. Experience the difference that being a Top Rated Local business can make. Add your business today!