Why Online Reviews Are Important for Your Small Business

New Business

A solid online reputation is not a luxury but a necessity for any successful small business. Unfortunately, most small businesses ignore the importance of reviews, opting to use their websites only to advertise their products and services. Customer feedback and reviews can either make or break your brand reputation both online and offline. This makes them a crucial part of your business’s online success. Below are some reasons why you should focus on getting positive customer reviews.

It Improves Credibility

More customers currently use their smartphones and laptops to search for products and services online even before leaving their houses. Online shoppers not only search for businesses, products, and services. They also search for reviews to ensure that they purchase from credible and reliable brands.

Actually, more than 92% of online shoppers read online customer reviews about local brands before making purchase decisions, and 91% trust online reviews just like personal recommendations. Interestingly, Search Engine Land found that 87% of prospects won’t shop from brands with poor reviews and ratings.

That said, positive online reviews not only convince potential customers that they are buying quality products, but they are also buying from a credible brand. These statistics make positive reviews a great tool for increasing conversions. Unfortunately, your business can occasionally receive negative reviews, which can affect your company’s reputation. However, you can make these negative reviews beneficial by handling them professionally.

Good for SEO

Good search engine optimization is important if you want your website to be discovered. Therefore, you should observe some of the top SEO best practices in your website to increase the chances of ranking top in search engine results. Keywords, links, and other SEO signals are important as they help search engines understand your website. Similarly, local SEO signals, specifically customer reviews, are among the factors that help your website show up in local search results.

While Google algorithm changes, review signals considered by search engines include the number of customer reviews, diversity, and timing of every review. According to BrightLocal, review signals are currently the second-largest factor that influences local search engine rankings.

Most customers read less than ten reviews before making purchase decisions. However, the more online reviews your business has, the better. But you should be wary of how quick these reviews are posted. A large influx of positive or negative reviews can raise a flag. As mentioned, the diversity of review sites and the reviewer’s authority also determine your brand’s local SEO ranking.

Helps Discover What Your Customers are Unhappy About

Positive and negative reviews help identify lacking areas in your business that needs improvement. Keeping your customers happy helps convert them into returning loyal customers, which is good for business. Making changes in your business model, be it customer service or delivery time, following customer feedback also shows that you care about your customers.

You can also use online customer reviews to win back customers. Understanding why you lost previous customers gives you an opportunity to fix prevailing problems, which can convince them to shop from your business again.

Lead Generation

Customer review platforms, such as Angie’s List and Yelp, have been proven to be incredible lead generation resources. This is because most online shoppers use these websites when doing their online research. That said, you should ensure that you rank high on these platforms to gain leads. Fortunately, doing this is easy, as you only have to create a complete profile, ask for reviews, and respond to every customer’s reviews.

Helps Build Customer Trust

Most small businesses operate on personal levels with direct customer engagements. As such, you are known to customers personally, whether you visit the business daily, weekly, or monthly. However, this is not possible with online startups. As such, customer reviews provide a great opportunity to connect and interact with customers. This builds trust, which is important to any successful online business.

Reviews Boost Sales

Interestingly, theories and case studies can sometimes be misleading, and reality doesn’t always follow logic. A growing body of knowledge has found that reviews can empirically increase business revenue. A Harvard Business School study found that online reviews can increase sales and, ultimately, revenue.

According to the study, businesses with positive reviews made more sales. Additionally, improving even a star rating has a positive effect on sales. A one-star improvement in business rating on Yelp increases sales by 5% to 9%. That aside, a study done by Revoo in 2016 found that online reviews can increase reviews by 18%, alongside other benefits, such as increased conversions, order sizes, and more repeat orders.

Conclusion

Running a small business successfully requires that you build trust with your customers. While there are multiple ways of achieving this, only a few have the effectiveness of online reviews. Displaying customer reviews on your website builds credibility and customer trust since online shoppers will likely trust the opinions of other customers.

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