What do your customers think about your business? One of the best ways to know is via online customer reviews.
Reviews help you know what customers love, what you’re doing right, and even where you can improve.
In a world dominated by the internet, online reviews play a huge role in the decision-making behaviors of customers. Is your business encouraging customers to leave reviews?
If not, you’re missing a huge opportunity to grow your business. To learn why they matter so much, keep reading to find seven benefits of online reviews for small businesses—some of them may surprise you.
- Customer Reviews Give Your Business Visibility
In such a competitive world, it can be hard to get noticed. Why should a customer check out your business when they could visit another instead?
One great reason is online reviews. When customers are posting reviews online, they help your business get noticed!
On forums like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and more, each new review is an opportunity for a new customer to discover your business as they are reading online. You can reach a whole new audience, without increasing your marketing spend.
As a business owner, you may be wondering, “How do I see my Google reviews?”—if so, take the time to learn how they work and how you can search for your reviews online.
- They Improve Trust
One of the most important reasons to encourage online reviews is that they build trust in a company. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend.
Reviews matter, as customers are careful about where they spend their hard-earned dollar. By reading reviews, customers learn that your business is trustworthy, reliable, and popular with others—which gives them the confidence to shop with your business.
In comparison, if you have no online reviews, there’s no way for someone to know if you’re legitimate or just a fly-by-night operation who will take their money and then disappear.
- Negative Reviews Can Help Your Business Improve
Over time, businesses are likely to get both positive and negative reviews. However, it’s the fear of negative reviews that causes businesses to hesitate when it comes to encouraging reviews.
A negative review will be bad for business, right? Not exactly. The truth is, no one will like every business, so it’s inevitable that the occasional bad review will pop up.
However, why not take them as an opportunity to improve? If a customer points out an issue or concern, this could be a gap in your business and you can use this review as a way to bring in change and improve, making your business better for future customers.
Also, customers know that a few negative reviews are normal, and are not likely to be put off by seeing them.
When you do get a negative review, the professional thing to do is reply with courtesy and kindness.
- Great Reviews Can Increase Your Sales
Many businesses love that online reviews bring an increase in sales, something we all want. When a customer reads fantastic reviews about your amazing product, it only makes them want your product more!
Positive reviews give buyers the confidence to spend, as they feel the product is worth the money, based on reading previous reviews.
You can also use this to your advantage by putting a few testimonials or reviews on your website, so customers can read them as they’re browsing.
- Help Customers Make Decisions
When you’re shopping, especially for expensive items, it can be hard to make a decision. If store A and store B are similar, with similar products, how do you decide which one to go for?
Often, online reviews can be the dealbreaker. If store A has lots of great reviews, speaking to the professional staff, great service, and impressive products, and store B doesn’t, it makes more sense to shop with store B.
Customers often read reviews when they’re in the research stage of buying, so reviews are often the deciding factor in deciding what to buy.
- Help You Communicate with Customers
You may not realize that reviews can help you communicate with customers. If your business is online, you may have limited options to speak directly with your customers, which is why reviews can help.
Businesses can reply to reviews, both positive and negative, which allows you to speak directly with your customers. You can thank them for their support, answer any questions they’ve raised, or offer them suggestions.
Reviews are a direct channel to your customers, so take full advantage of it.
- Reviews Can Help with SEO
Another unexpected benefit of online reviews is that they can help with SEO. You already know that SEO should be part of your digital marketing strategy, but SEO is a slow burn and takes a while to see results.
One way to help with this is by encouraging online reviews. Reviews can be a signal to search engines, like Google, that people are talking about your business, meaning it is an authoritative site and noteworthy.
This can help your website rank higher on Google, which should lead to increased traffic and sales.
Encourage Your Customers to Post Reviews Online
As you can see, there are many more benefits to online customer reviews than you might have known! To start reaping the rewards, encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Why not offer them a small discount on their next purchase for leaving a review? This helps you get more great reviews, but also encourages brand loyalty and repeat business.
Get started today and see how reviews can help your business get noticed!
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