Every small business operating today is up against strong competition. It’s not that there are more competitors around than there were a few decades ago – it’s more that with the internet search engines available consumers have the ability to pick and choose more easily.
One sure way of doing that is, of course, to strive to BE the best in your field of business. Then you have to make sure that potential customers know just how good you are.
That can be achieved by having your current or previous happy customers write online reviews testifying to your reliability, great workmanship, honesty, punctuality, efficient customer service and all the other things that go to making a five-star enterprise that anyone would be pleased to do business with.
People DO Read Online Reviews
Many business operators don’t bother with reviews because either they are afraid of getting bad ones, or they don’t believe reviews have any value because people don’t bother to read them.
Well, statistics prove otherwise. For instance a survey by BrightLocal found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (and in the 18-34 age group this figure is a whopping 95%). It was found people read around 10 reviews before they feel confident enough to trust a business, and generally they only bother with more recent reviews posted in the past couple of weeks.
As for being afraid of bad reviews – the answer is to strive not to receive any, and if you do, you can mitigate the effects by responding politely and positively to the reviewer with an apology and/or explanation, making it plain that the reviewer’s bad experience with your business is the exception rather than the norm.
What Reviews do for You
If your business doesn’t have reviews out there on platforms such as Google My Business, social media sites, online business directories, consumer comparison sites or sites relevant to your particular industry you are losing out big time.
Having reviews available makes you visible in the market, boosts your SEO, gives your customers a better user experience, creates trust and encourages people to decide to choose your business.
Most of all research has shown that favourable online reviews definitely have a positive impact on conversions, sales and repeat order rates. The Government’s Competition and Markets Authority estimates that reviews potentially influence £23-billion of UK customer spending every year.
Another great thing about reviews is that they give you a forum where you can interact with customers, and the chance to become aware of feedback to improve your business performance going forward. This involves keeping a regular eye on your reviews, and responding as often as possible.
A Word about Fake Reviews
We’ve all read the news reports and consumer warnings about the proliferation of fake reviews in recent years. You may think fake reviews are planted by bots, but actually most of them are penned by human beings because bot-generated reviews are easy to catch for big tech retailers like Amazon. Writers are apparently paid a pittance to leave high rated reviews – some unscrupulous businesses even buy reviewers to post bad stuff on competitor’s pages.
It may be tempting, but don’t risk paying for reviews because its not only unethical but also illegal – you’ll be in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and could face civil or criminal charges.
Like any bad business practice, faking it could end up doing you more harm than good. Google’s algorithms will quite likely spot your fake reviews and you could end up banned with your Google My Business page deleted, your online reputation in tatters. Most other review sites are hot on the trail of fakers too.
There are better ways to gather good reviews – like how about just asking for them and making it very easy for customers to leave reviews?
Setting up a Review Strategy
There’s no doubt about it. Reviews are an essential ingredient in any successful digital marketing campaign.
Here at Dentons Digital we’ve set up comprehensive online Reviews strategies for many of our clients’ businesses, with great results both for their SEO (as shown by our analytics and their improving Google ranking positions) and an increase in business.
- Here’s an example of a website review page for a Swindon Security Company which is one of our Digital Marketing and SEO clients. This is integrated with a Facebook Page and Google Reviews.
We generally use reviews as part of a complete Digital Marketing package for our clients, and our knowledgeable consultants are happy to advise you on how good management of this useful tool can benefit your business.
Give us a call for a chat on 01373 580126 or click the link below.