In today’s digital world, consumers are searching for local businesses on their mobile devices more than ever before. Google searches for local businesses have increased by a whopping 130% in the last five years.
With so many people looking for information about your business online, it’s essential to have an online presence that is both professional and trustworthy. Online reviews can make or break your business, which is why you should always do your homework when it comes to managing your digital reputation as a business.
Whether you own a small café in a big city or operate a remote bed-and-breakfast, this article provides details about the importance of online reviews to your business and what you can do about it.
Rise Of Online Reviews
Online reviews have been around since the early days of the internet. However, with more and more people turning to the internet for information about local businesses, online reviews have become an increasingly important part of the customer journey.
According to a survey by BrightLocal, 77% of consumers have read online reviews for businesses in the last year, and 80% of consumers have read online reviews in the last six months. Furthermore, 68% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. With that many people reading online reviews, small businesses must take online reputation management seriously.
If a customer has a negative experience and writes about it online, that could lead to lost revenue and frustrated customers.
Online Review Statistics You Should Know
To further understand online reviews, here are some statistics you need to know:
- Consumers are 3X more likely to buy from a local business with a 4.0+ star rating than one with a lower rating.
- 90% of consumers read online reviews, and 88% say that positive reviews make them trust a business more.
- Consumers are 2X more likely to use a business that has at least two reviews.
- 70% of consumers say that positive reviews from customers in their same demographic helped them make a purchasing decision.
- 73% of consumers say that they are more likely to use a business if the company responds quickly to their negative reviews.
- 60% of consumers say that they are more likely to use a business if the company responds quickly to their positive reviews.
- Consumers who have a positive experience are 13% more likely to visit a business again, 16% more likely to recommend the business to others, and 10% more likely to spend more money on that business.
- Consumers who have a negative experience are 44% less likely to visit a business again and 50% less likely to spend money there again.
Common Types Of Online Reviews
Before we get into the five effects of online reviews, let’s take a look at the most common types of online reviews.
These are reviews that have been confirmed by the business owner or manager.
These are real reviews from real customers. They may have been edited for spelling and grammar.
These are reviews that have been purchased by the business owner or an employee.
Ratings are the most straightforward type of review and typically show up on an e-commerce platform where a customer is leaving feedback on a transaction.
These are often seen on popular review sites such as Yelp, Google Local, and TripAdvisor. Consumers use these to indicate if they would recommend a business to others.
You’ll often see comments on forums and social media platforms, like Facebook. They may also appear on an e-commerce platform. They are generally short, but they can be quite descriptive.
5 Effects of Online Reviews
As we mentioned, online reviews are extremely important to the growth and development of your business. Let’s take a look at the five most important effects of online reviews.
This is often the number one reason why people leave reviews for businesses. Customers want to know that they’re spending their money wisely and that the reviews they read are from real people.
If you’ve earned a few positive reviews from your customers (and hopefully you have!), you know that customers who read these reviews are more likely to purchase your business.
It’s not just about trust, though. Customers make buying decisions on reviews, too. 83% of consumers read online reviews when researching a product or service. If your product or service is great, you’ll likely receive positive reviews that lead to increased sales.
3. Customer Retention
Another important effect of online reviews is customer retention. When you have happy customers, they’re likely to leave a positive reviews. When they leave a positive review, they’re also more likely to come back and make a future purchase.
Your online reviews help build your credibility, especially if you have a lot of positive reviews. For example, if you’re a freelance photographer and you have glowing reviews on social media and review sites, that may cause potential clients to choose you over the competition.
Finally, the effects of online reviews also include transparency. Consumers want to know what’s going on behind the scenes at a business. Consumers who read online reviews see businesses as 15% more transparent. If you leave reviews for your customers, you can offer transparency through those reviews.
How To Respond To Good Reviews
Respond quickly. Don’t let your good reviews get buried. Consumers are more likely to buy from a business after reading five great reviews than after reading 20 mediocre reviews. Make sure that your positive reviews are in full view of potential customers.
Put them on your website, social media pages, and other places where people can find them. Use your positive reviews as social proof. If you’ve received five stars from 10 customers, you can use that as evidence that your product or service is worth trying. S
hare your positive reviews on social media. Make sure that your positive reviews are easy to find on your website so that they’re easy to find on social media too. If you have time, respond to your positive reviews.
How To Respond To Bad Reviews
Don’t panic. The vast majority of negative reviews can be dealt with effectively. Take a deep breath, and then read your negative review thoroughly. Read your negative review thoroughly. Once you’ve read your negative review thoroughly, you’ll be better equipped to respond thoughtfully.
Respond quickly. The best way to respond to a negative review is to respond quickly. The more quickly you respond, the less likely your customer is to leave a negative review. Respond thoughtfully. Make sure that you respond thoughtfully to your negative review. If the review is about a mistake you made, apologize and explain how you will fix it.
If the review is about something outside of your control, explain how you are working to resolve the problem.
The Bottom Line
Reviews are important to your business no matter what type of industry you’re in. Consumers value reviews and see them as the most trustworthy source of information when making a buying decision.
If you want to succeed as a small business, you have to win the hearts and minds of your customers. And one of the best ways to do that is by managing your online reputation effectively. To do that, you’ll need to respond to both positive and negative reviews, respond quickly to every review, and stay calm when you respond to bad reviews.
Do your homework when it comes to managing your digital reputation and your online reviews will speak for themselves.
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What Are Online Reviews: Introduction For Newbies
Ways To Protect Your Business from Online Review Site Threats
Online Reviews And Statistics: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know