Think about the conversations you have with your neighbors, friends and family. I bet a lot of them involve reviews (“The handmade pasta at the new Italian restaurant is as good as anything I had in Italy!”) and recommendations (“Can anyone recommend a plumber?”). Some of those conversations take place online and some offline, but either way, they demonstrate why reviews are important for small business.
We trust others’ opinions – and it doesn’t even matter whether or not we know the person.
Here are five reasons your small business needs online reviews:
1. Reviews help us make decisions
According to an eye-opening survey from BrightLocal, people have an insatiable appetite for reviews – and make purchasing decisions based on them.
- 92% of consumers read online reviews
- 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews
2. Reviews help search ranking
Online reviews can really boost your SEO efforts and help you rank higher (and therefore get found faster).
Reviews published on your website are viewed as unique content, which search engines like. And because people read them, it signals to search engines that this is content people find valuable. It’s probably one of the reasons Google search results for local businesses show reviews first.
Then of course there are the reviews published on other sites, like Yelp. Your listing and reviews provide your website with valuable backlinks – and more gold stars from search engines.
3. Reviews provide feedback
Whether reviews are excellent or just “OK,” you are getting valuable feedback from your target market about your products, services, customer service, and overall brand. Use it to improve on what you’re already doing, reach new customer segments you hadn’t thought about, and address issues so you can turn an unhappy customer into a very happy one.
4. Reviews can help you build community
If you start responding to reviews, you are engaging with your audience, letting people get to know you, and showing that you care. This can really help you build a nice community of loyal customers and even help you find brand ambassadors.
5. Reviews beget more reviews
We’ve all heard of crowd behavior (aka, collective behavior, crowd psychology, or the herd mentality). This psychological principle can be applied to reviews, believe it or not. The more reviews of a business, product or service there are, the more likely people are to add their two cents. And the more reviews your small business has, the more credibility you have.
Bottom line: Your small business needs to put a process in place to encourage online reviews. If you already did, tell us! What does your small business do to encourage online reviews?