Why Reviews Matter for Your Small Business


Written by Sarah York

In this digital age, the value and influence of online reviews is on the rise. Eighty-eight percent of consumers take reviews into account on purchase decisions! Reviews, both positive and negative, can influence your business’s reputation and bottom line. Monitoring what’s being said about your business online is an important part of any digital strategy. Keep reading for a detailed guide on how to make reviews work for your business.

Here’s why your business should care about reviews:

  1. Trust - 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Consumers actively seek out opinions on products/services and studies show consumers highly value peer reviews.
  2. Visibility / SEO ranking - Businesses with more total reviews and more positive reviews are ranked higher on search engines. For example, Google Maps and Google Mobile Search return the top three businesses nearby with the best ratings and reviews.
  3. Traffic - The more visibility your business has online, the more likely you are to see an increase in foot and website traffic.
  4. Conversion - 40% of consumers read reviews on their mobile while at the POS. Positive reviews can close sales and increase overall spending. They can also be a tie-breaker when deciding between establishments so ensure your reviews are accurate and up-to-date.

Ready to get started? Here’s your most important review-related questions answered:

Which review sites should my business use?

The best thing your business can do is find where your competitors are reviewed. Do some research to find which review sites your industry uses to concentrate your effort.

Some popular places to leave and read reviews:

Google Reviews - Google is the most used search engine in the world and specializes in local search. This is a good place to start.

Yelp - This app spans many industries and is go-to search tool for consumers looking for highly rated businesses.

Trip Advisor - If you’re in the hospitality business, TripAdvisor is a well-known and respected website to find reviews

Angie’s List - Mostly for North American based businesses, Angie’s list is ‘higher end’ review site for product and service businesses with guaranteed verified reviews.

Your Website - Add a review widget to your website. Reviews on your own website can increase traffic and sales.

How many reviews does my business need?

Consumers generally read between 4 and 10 reviews before they trust a business. Check out your competitors then aim to stand out from that number. However, consumers are smart and can sniff out fake reviews. If your competitors have 10 reviews and your business has 200, consumers are likely to be weary of your reviews. Aim for a steady increase of one review per month or per quarter.

Can I trick Google with fake reviews?

Absolutely not. Google is well-known for authenticity and will find, then punish, businesses abusing the review system with poor search rankings.

What can I do about bad reviews?

Negative reviews are an opportunity for your business. If you receive a bad review, reach out to the customer. At the minimum, you can apologize for the negative experience and hope they return to your business for another chance to make things right. You can also offer an exchange/refund or discount to compensate for a bad experience. If your business turns the experience into a positive one, you can ask the customer to update their original review or write a new one.

How can I monitor reviews to stay up to date with what people are saying about my business?

Set up Google Alerts to let you know anytime someone says anything about your business. This allows you to respond immediately and provide top-notch customer service.

Ready to get reviewed? How to get reviews:

  1. First and foremost, DO NOT offer incentives for reviews. This is against most review sites’ policies. Incentivized reviews create mistrust in your customers and will get you booted off review sites.
  2. Lightly encourage your customers to write reviews. Use your best judgement here. Ask your regulars and satisfied customers. Not everyone will write a review, but if you ask 10 people, you may get 1 quality review.
  3. Display your reviews inside your establishment. This shows your customers you value their input and may encourage them to add a review as well.
  4. Establish your online presence. Simply increasing your online visibility can remind customers to write a review.

Word-of-mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. As the digital age’s word-of-mouth, online reviews are a simple, yet effective way to increase traffic, sales, and improve your online reputation. With the increase in value and influence of reviews, a small business can no longer afford to have a poor online reputation. Ensure your small business is up-to-date and reaping the benefits of this essential online tool.

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