As a small business owner or marketing professional, your time is pretty limited, so you probably don’t have much room in your schedule to go out and get feedback from consumers. But whether you’ve seen reviews on other Google Listings or Facebook pages, or you have a few of your own, you know that customer feedback is essential for any organization.
There’s, of course, the benefit of learning from constructive criticism and continuing to do things that make shoppers happy. But reviews can help you also build trust with your customers, boost your SEO, and even influence future buyers. Learn why every small business owner needs positive online reviews — and how you can get them.
Why do I need reviews?
Build trust with your customers.
When you’re researching a product or service, who do you turn to first: the company with good reviews (and maybe a few bad ones), or the company with no reviews? It’s likely that you’d choose the business (or product) with at least some positive online reviews, simply because you’re able to see that others have had a good experience with that company and would recommend it to others.
In fact, 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, and positive online reviews make 72% of shoppers view a company as more credible. So whether you have 10 reviews or just one glowing testimonial, this helps users learn about the positive experiences other customers have had. And when others (not just you) genuinely talk about how great your product or service is, that makes it more likely for another consumer to believe your business knows what it’s doing.
Boost your SEO rankings.
Every day, 90% of shoppers use the internet to search for local businesses to find solutions to their problems or needs. So if you’re not online, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers! But if you have an updated Google listing with your address, contact information, website, and reviews, customers will be more likely to find you — and maybe choose your product or service after learning more or visiting your business.
According to Google, positive online reviews can improve your visibility, which means feedback from customers may factor into your search ranking. The more people who can find your website and Google Listing with a quick search, the more who can discover the positive outcomes that other customers have experienced after working with you. (If you’re not sure how to claim or update your Google My Business listing, we’ll walk you through it in this blog!)
Influence future buyers.
While reviews are great for showcasing your great relationships with current customers, they’re also essential for getting your name out in front of prospects. More shoppers than ever are doing their homework before making a purchase, as they want to make sure whatever product or service they buy is worth their time and money! In fact, 82% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, so you’ll want to make sure they can easily find your business and learn what others are saying about you.
And while it seems like common sense, having very positive online reviews definitely pays off. 92% of customers will be more likely to visit your business if you have at least a four-star rating on Google. What’s more, they’re likely to spend 31% more on your products or services if you have five-star reviews. Remember, 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Those potential customers are more likely to buy from you if others are raving about your business online!
How do I get reviews?
Start by asking for reviews.
People often don’t leave reviews unless they have a negative experience. While this is unfortunate, it means that business owners and marketing professionals have to ask customers for reviews. But 68% of customers will provide feedback if they’re invited to do so. And if you ask for a review right after they’ve visited your restaurant, firm, or other business, the experience will still be fresh in their minds — and they’ll be able to remember exactly why they’re happy they chose you.
When you deliver a great solution that helps a customer solve a problem, they’ll probably tell others about it just by word-of-mouth. But once the transaction is over and they’ve received the product or service you’ve promised them, encourage them to share their experience with an honest review. By asking happy shoppers for positive online reviews, you’ll not only get helpful feedback; you’ll also build relationships and establish trust among your customers.
Make it easy to give feedback.
If it’s too challenging for someone to give you feedback, they won’t do it! So when you’re ready to invite a customer to leave you a review, make the process as simple as possible for them. One way to do this is by sending an automated follow-up email every time someone buys your product, chooses your service, or attends your event. You can ask questions like this in your email:
- What was your experience with [product/service/event]?
- Would you recommend this [product/service/event] to a friend? Why or why not?
- Would you be willing to leave us a Facebook or Google review?
- Could we have your permission to display your review on our website and other marketing materials?
If you haven’t already set up a Facebook Business Page or a Google My Business account, now is a great time to do so! Then, in your follow-up email, you can include links for folks to easily leave a Facebook and/or Google review on your accounts.
Address good and bad reviews.
If you already have reviews, make sure to address any negative ones before asking others for feedback. Sometimes, unhappy customers will update a review if you’re willing to work with them and resolve the issue. Start by apologizing for any bad experience the reviewer had, then offer a solution to their dissatisfaction. That could be something like a replacement product, a free trial, or a free upgrade to a premium service.
It’s key to respond promptly, yet professionally, to negative and positive online reviews so you can maintain solid relationships with your customers. Additionally, 94% of shoppers will read a business’s reply to Google and Facebook reviews during their search for a solution to their problem. If those potential buyers see that your responses are gracious (and within a few days), they’ll likely view your company in a more positive light.
While boosting your SEO and influencing potential buyers are great practices, it’s most important to focus on building relationships and trust with customers. By responding to current customer feedback, making it easy to leave reviews, and remembering to ask about their experience, you can help clients feel heard and grow your business with positive online reviews!
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Treefrog Marketing is a marketing agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.