When it comes to getting exposure for your local business, online reviews are extremely important. They will help your business stand out, get more clicks to your site, and improve your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
But many small businesses don’t have a system built to win positive reviews. Online reviews are becoming more essential and make it much easier for your business to get in front of the eyes of potential customers (mainly by increasing your local SEO ranking), and persuading potential customers to pick your business over your competitors.
To see the importance of this practice, first put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Let’s say your customer is doing a search. If they find both you and your competition but your competition has a lot more reviews, who do you think they’ll click on?
So, why should you think about creating a system to get more online reviews? Here are 7 big reasons why…
1. Less marketing work for you.
Think about it. If you build up a stock of positive online reviews, potential customers reading those reviews won’t have to be convinced they should buy from you. So you will spend less time trying to convince prospects to buy from you.
2. Reviews will help you improve your business.
Once you start to acquire reviews, you can study them and see why your happy customers love you and why your unhappy customers don’t. And once you develop a library of reviews you’ll have a library that tells you all you need to know about your business and how to improve it.
3. Online reviews will help your local search engine ranking.
Local SEO guide looked at 100+ factors across 30,000 businesses to learn how local businesses could rank better. They found that Google reviews were a major component connected with positive local rankings.
4. Customers are looking for reviews.
And many trust online reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation. According to BrightLocal 92% of Consumers are Now Reading Online Reviews. In 2014 this number was 88%.
5. Third party review sites bring you traffic and leads.
As you build more positive reviews on external sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and TripAdvisor, you’ll be rewarded with higher search engine rankings. Google uses data from third party sites like Yelp and the more positive reviews you have on these properties, the higher chance you’ll have of ranking better.
From Avvo to Facebook, these properties give you more visibility and more traffic from other sources resulting in drips of prospects coming in that might buy.
6. It buries the bad reviews.
That bad review is coming, so don’t wait for it to react. Instead start building up a system to get more reviews which will easily bury the bad.
7. People are more likely to buy.
More reviews—good and bad—displays your honesty to the world. It says you’re not trying to bury the bad reviews, and most importantly, the bad reviews act as an “anchor” for the good ones, making them shine even more. This kind of display creates trust, people won’t be suspicious as they would with a business with nothing but great reviews, meaning they are more likely to buy from you.
Online reviews have a ton of benefits for most small businesses and I’ve only scratched the surface here. The problem is that many small business owners might not have the time to dedicate to this practice—creating a reputation marketing system. But bringing on a consultant to manage this for you is not nearly as costly as you might think. If you look at the multitude of benefits I’d say it’s well worth the effort to find someone out there to help you manage your reviews.