Online reviews. Who needs them, right? Why Do I Need Online Business Reviews
It’s not hard to understand why a local business owner would forsake reviews altogether.
After all, when your brand is online, you have a good website and customers are coming through the door, why worry about online comments or building a presence on a review site?
But while you may not think much about online comments or getting more reviews, your competitors are.
And as you’re looking the other way, your local rivals are utilizing this vital digital marketing channel to develop their messaging, attract new customers and overshadow your company on the web.
Read on to learn why online reviews are such an essential part of modern business success – and why your company needs business reviews and a robust review presence more than ever.
Why are reviews so important for a business?
A strong business review presence and management strategy are critical in today’s competitive digital climate.
This is because:
1. Most consumers read reviews
The results are in, and they’re indisputable: reviews are now one of the top resources of information and influence for today’s online consumer.
Over 80% of potential buyers comb through online business reviews when researching local companies. More than 8 of every 10!
What’s more: nearly all prospective buyers between 18 and 34 read online reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and other business review sites before taking the next step, demonstrating the growing value reviews have in the decision-making process.
So, what does this mean for your business?
Simply put, a flailing or absent review presence is failing to give your customers the crucial source of info they’re craving to learn and connect with your company, creating a sizable knowledge gap forcing many to turn elsewhere for answers on your brand.
Go no further: More than 70% of online consumers won’t take another step until they’ve read reviews of your business.
2. Business reviews turn browsers into buyers
Most people turn to local business reviews for info on your company.
More importantly, many of those consumers are looking to reviews for validation – proof not only that others are doing business with your brand, but also that buying what you offer is actually a good idea and something worth pursuing.
According to the Spiegel Research Center, customers are 270% more likely to buy a product with five online reviews than one with no reviews whatsoever, a considerable jump underlining the influence of reviews on purchasing decisions.
In fact, a study found reviews give sales an average boost of 18%, increasing rates across everything from conversions and repeat orders to the overall size of orders made.
And because more than 82% of customers search your brand on business review sites when they’re ready to buy your product (nearly 90% make a purchase within a week), an absentee review presence on Google My Business or Yelp does little more than leave your prospects hanging.
The result? With the search for reviews coming up empty, those once motivated buyers are now seeking solutions elsewhere, most likely from the shop, restaurant or service firm down the street.
Long story short, Google, The Review Site, Amazon and BBB business reviews have a demonstrative impact on your bottom line. And if you’re not doing everything you can to beef up your review footprint, you’re losing out on a potentially lucrative opportunity.
3. Reviews are where you earn their trust
Cultivating trust is crucial not just to strengthening connections with your brand but also to winning repeat business and shoring up consumer loyalty.
And like it or not, Yelp, Facebook and Google business reviews are now where much of that trust takes root, providing the fertile digital soil you need to stabilize your brand and grow meaningful, lasting first impressions that enable long-term success.
7 out of 10 now need to see at least four online reviews before they’ll trust your business. Many read an average of 10 review your business before they feel your business is trustworthy.
What’s more: how you promote your reviews also has a significant impact on consumer trust. Including business reviews on your website helps enhance perception and trustworthiness among customers researching your brand.
However you look at it, the answer is clear: online reviews and ratings play a pivotal role in how much consumers trust and engage with your brand. In the long run, ignoring that impact can be dire for your credibility and authority online.
In reviews we trust: More than 91% of customers trust online business reviews on Google, The Review Site and social as much as personal recommendations. On the flip side, only 6% of shoppers have no faith in reviews at all.
4. Business reviews boost your visibility on Google
Most consumers look to Google or social media when they’re ready to make a purchase.
And the more business reviews you have in Google and Facebook, the more likely your brand is to rank on search pages (SERPs) and grab customer attention at a crucial point in the buyer journey.
Having more Google My Business reviews and mentions on review sites like Yelp and Amazon provides search engines the new, unique content it needs to crawl, index and score brand relevancy.
In other words, each new review of your business results in yet another ranking signal sent to Google, which then translates into the increased relevance, authority and search presence needed to boost your brand to the spotlight.
With each new review comes a new opportunity to catch Google’s eye and bump your business a little closer to the top, particularly on the local SERPs so crucial to small business success.
The bottom line: if you need a lift in search but can’t get things to budge, a sharper focus on encouraging more online business reviews may help get your digital marketing strategy moving in the right direction. Local businesses in the top 3 positions on Google have an average of 47 online reviews, while those in the bottom three average around 38.
Online reviews get you noticed: An extensive review study by Yotpo found a direct link between more online reviews and substantial increases in SEO traffic (organic webpage visits).
5. Reviews get the brand conversation going
While it’s true that social media is an excellent tool for customers to talk about your brand, business review sites also provide a vital channel for sharing their experience – not to mention spreading the word on who you are and what you offer.
With the attention reviews get and the impact they have on SEO, an engaged presence on review sites can only heighten brand visibility across the web, expanding your reach to AN EVEN larger demographic.
And by actively (but carefully) managing your online business review footprint, you can curate the positive business reviews on Google, Amazon, TripAdvisor and Yelp that reinforce a good reputation and encourage others to join in on the praise.
In general, more positive reviews means:
- Higher revenue. A recent Harvard Business School study found that a one-star boost on Yelp can increase your bottom-line revenue from 5 to 9%.
- Better purchase potential. 92% of B2B consumers are much likelier to buy after reading a positive review.
- Bigger spends. Consumers will spend 31% more on average on a company with excellent business reviews.
Sharing the news: When you get more reviews and keep the conversation going, positive feedback makes a much more significant impact, impressing a bigger audience and generating goodwill that gets results.
And about those stars: Star ratings may not seem that important, but they matter to consumers. Nearly 90% of American shoppers won’t buy from your business without a three-star rating or higher.
6. Business reviews enhance engagement with your brand
As we’ve shown, amping up your business reviews on Google, Yelp and social can have amazing potential for improving brand credibility, visibility and revenue.
But getting more reviews may offer something even better than elevating your brand in SERPS or short-term boosts to your bottom line.
Local business reviews on BBB, Google and Yelp offer a golden opportunity to build meaningful customer connections, allowing you to engage with buyers in ways not possible on your website or even on social.
Whether they’re good or bad, Google business reviews and others create open communication channels through which to listen to customers, address their concerns and solve problems on a uniquely personal level.
Not only that, but carrying on such conversations publicly allows you to show prospects firsthand how much you value your customers and your commitment to the customer experience.
Business review sites can be a goldmine for engaging existing customers, turning problems into solutions and steering the brand narrative. They also offer a powerful opportunity to:
- Grow your audience. Nearly 90% of consumers seek out and read review responses during online research.
- Build trust and loyalty. Over 80% of online reviewers believe your business cares when you respond to their concerns.
- Attract more customers. 45% of prospects are more likely to visit your local business when you respond to reviews.
And while managing more reviews may mean more work, a little online review management sprinkled into your digital marketing effort can go a long way toward solidifying your business as the go-to in your industry, a trusted leader in search and among the competition.
Be nice and respond fast: As you build your review presence and response strategy, avoid being curt and impolite, and get your responses out fast. These days, more than half of online consumers expect a response to their reviews in a week or less.
How to get more reviews (and grow your local review presence)
We’ve shown why it’s so important to have online business reviews and how a more robust review presence can provide a key advantage in today’s competitive local marketplace.
But how do you get more reviews on sites like The Review Site and Google My Business, especially without sounding desperate or disrupting the customer experience?
Insert calls-to-action (CTAs) on your website
You’re already asking customers to “Take the next step” and “Click here for more info” across your site.
Why not do the same with online reviews?
Each product/service page on your website should present a clear CTA (‘Leave a review,’ ‘Review your experience here’) that allows to speak their minds. Review buttons are effective and offer a good opportunity to collect feedback.
Ask for reviews whenever possible
Asking for reviews may seem disruptive or needy. But in actuality, requesting reviews is a perfectly normal, even powerful way to get more feedback – and grow your local review presence in the process.
By baking review requests into each transaction and email, you’re providing a helpful but nuanced reminder to leave feedback at a critical point in the customer interaction. You’re also demonstrating confidence in what you do and how much value you place in what local customers have to say.
Take the work out of it
This is perhaps the biggest trick to getting more BBB, Google and Facebook business reviews for your local company.
With fewer obstacles in the way, customers are far more likely to comment on the experience and leave valuable content for your business.
Remove steps. Eliminate log-ins. Don’t bog down the reviewing process with too much info or details that muck up the works.
People who leave reviews generally do so out of a moment of inspiration or passion. Simplifying the process and making it accessible seizes on that inspiration before it’s gone, upping the chances you get some honest commentary to feature and promote on your website.