As a Small Business you may think that reviews are not essential for your company, you may not even be aware you can utilize reviews, or you may essentially rely on referral alone and feel that this does you just fine.
I have news for you, and it's good! Small business reviews are not only beneficial in helping your business grow by garnering new customers, but also help toward seeing more in the bank each month too.
That's just the tip of the review benefits iceberg, but on a more serious note, Small Businesses not employing a review strategy leave their reputation open to threats, and give their competitors the edge.
Small Businesses depend on word-of-mouth (WOM) referral to spread their brand, services, and support, however WOM has seen a change since the dawn of e-Commerce. Instead of people using WOM to simply find a company, it now encapsulates how people get information, by digging deep, into a business.
Many potential customers will do research before making a purchase and choosing your Small Business to do so, and as a main part of that search, reviews factor in. Nearly 70% look at reviews when building their shortlist, so if you're still relying on classic WOM alone and not incorporating reviews into your marketing strategy, you're essentially voiding yourself from the list.
Not only will the majority of people search for reviews, with 93% incorporating them into their purchase decisions, but people will leave reviews for your Small Business online whether you're collecting, or not. It's not uncommon for feedback which is left organically to be more negative, as people jump online to vent their frustrations.
This is why I cannot stress enough how important it is for Small Businesses to collect reviews, because through collection and management you take control of the reviews left for your company, use them to improve your services, manage any negativity, as well as see a great number of other benefits.
So I've sown the seeds of doom and gloom, but don't be alarmed or disheartened! I just want to emphasise how small business reviews left on their own accord, unverified and potentially unmitigated, can be damaging.
This post aims to give you valuable insight into utilising small business reviews and how they help to build trust, reassure and inform current and future customers, create a consistent reputation, as well as see an increase in revenue! Let's take a look.
If you're not exuding trust, then no-one's really going to want to use your services. A great way to build trust and display it for all to see is to collect feedback from your customer base in the form of a review, and publish it on your website.
Small business reviews offer social proof, with 88% of consumers saying they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Other people have taken the plunge to use you, they've had a great experience, so showcase to shoppers you can offer them that as well.
As we mentioned, trust can be built when people make that initial search. With a licensed Google Review Partner, we can take your Seller Ratings which are aggregated from your small business reviews, and display it as stars in your Adwords under your company name. These stars help towards SEO, improving your ranking in Google, thus enhancing visibility.
Google themselves even highlight the need for reviews to solidify trust through increased visibility in your Ads. They state:
"Your ads aren't as prominent as they could be if you used seller ratings. Seller ratings are automated extensions that help highly rated advertisers stand out. Gathered from reputable sources that aggregate business reviews, seller ratings show with Search Network and Google Shopping ads. You can get reviews to build your seller rating by signing up with Seller Ratings services." - Google
If people can instantly see you have a 4 star rating compared to another company offering similar services with a lower rating, or perhaps none at all, they can make a decision that trust has been established by others, and therefore they can take a chance on you too. You're on the list.
When I mentioned that reviews are everywhere, they really do pop up across many channels online. One influential place that reviews appear is in Google Local.
Whether you're collecting reviews independently, or not at all, your customers will still be leaving reviews for you here, whether shining or scathing. However, most reviews left naturally online take more of a negative nature.
Your Seller Ratings and star ratings in the SERPs may say one thing - 4/5 stars - and your Google Local another - 2/5 stars - which you can't manage, therefore displaying inconsistency for your customers. This difference in rating potentially raises questions as to which to believe. Not the desired effect, as stars are meant to solidify trust.
With our unique Local Reviews solution, you can collect reviews not only on your own site and get your ratings in the SERPs through your Seller Ratings in your Google Ads, but you can also collect Google Local reviews. This feature enables your small business to choose what percentage of invitations you'd like to send to your site and Google Local, helping to improve your ratings here, and create a consistent reputation online through your stars.
This leads me to the next benefit, through reviews and the purchase-affirming stars they provide, you are promoting your business via the voice of your patrons. You can feature what people say about your services including areas such as delivery, ease of experience, and customer service.
People have greater faith in reviews as they are deemed as peer generated, allowing deeper insight than marketing material, which shoppers can integrate into their purchase decision. Build up those voices, garner more small business reviews, and boost your brand though this advocacy.
However, you may be wondering its all well and good for all the positive experiences, but what happens when there's a negative review? It's not the end of the world. You're already doing all you can to create great service, but your small business isn't going to be for everyone, and you may have had an off day and someone received the brunt of that. Use a negative experience to reach out to rectify the problem.
Reassure your customer, and future ones, that you wish to do better, try and resolve their issue, and if all else fails and you can't make them happy, your response demonstrates to others you're active if things do go wrong. Not only that, actually use their feedback to improve! Your customers highlight details which you may have overlooked, and help you to ultimately develop user experience.
Always aim to do better, and once again, allow both positive and negative reviews to build trust. 52% of buyers say they trust a business more if they have a few negative reviews, with 30% assuming online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews. It may seem like juggling plates with all the advice surrounding the nature of reviews, "no reviews are bad", "only positive is suspicious".
This doesn't make excuses for poor service, but does hopefully reassure you that your business isn't going to fail with a few negative reviews you've aimed to remedy, if anything, addressing bad experiences and solving them means 63% would actually pay up to 15% more if they’re assured a better experience with you in the future. As you can imagine this adds up.
With increased trust and promotion for your Small Business using reviews, you see further prosperity than just the figures above. With the presence of reviews, customers will choose to visit your site online over others, enhancing click-through rates. Businesses with reviews have experienced 22% greater traffic than those without, and with that conversion has improved as well.
Reviews enable social proof, and if your customers can see their needs will be met, that turns a browser into a buyer. A whopping 89% of users will make a purchase within one week of reading reviews, and those who interact with reviews spend 11% more than those who don’t.
I think I've already drummed into you the downsides, as well as the harm not utilising reviews means for your business, so why leave money on the table? At Reviews.co.uk we have plans designed to meet your needs affordably, where we can work alongside your business as you grow. You can visit our plan page to find out more.
To spread your image further afield using small business reviews, and if you still staunchly support WOM, you can share your reviews to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Again you promote your brand, enable a form of thank you shout-out for your customers, to essentially drive traffic towards your Small Business further.
Collecting and publishing small business reviews also keeps the content on your webpage fresh. Customers are able to see activity through the reviews left, informing them your business is not stale, and if others are buying from you - so should they! If you're worried about a dry spell, or simply that you won't get enough custom, don't fret, keep reading to find out how you can easily start collecting reviews.
You can harness the power of your previous customers using our Review Booster, which sends an invitation to them asking them to leave a small business review for your business. Not only that, as you collect and publish your reviews, this improves your online reputation, increases traffic to your site as well as conversion, creating an exponential well of reviews and fresh content on your webpage, and Google Local.
Your review collector page can include a voucher code for your store to thank customers for leaving a review for your Small Business. Individuals can be informed of the offer of a voucher, or the entry into a prize draw before they leave their review. It must be noted that vouchers should not be incentivised, and are not for eliciting only positive reviews, but are offered as a thank you for leaving a review, whatever its nature.
Feel free to visit our webpage and browse all our solutions, if you're expanding your Small Business and want more features, you can upgrade! We don't believe in long, convoluted contracts, that's why we only offer rolling monthly contracts which you can cancel, upgrade or downgrade as you see fit. You're never locked-in, and you'll always know where you stand with our transparent and open plans.
With Reviews.io you have your very own company profile page, such as the one below, which displays all your reviews, your overall seller rating, and your recommendation percentage.
We help facilitate all review benefits, and get you your Seller Ratings in Google and reviews in Google Local, so you can proudly exhibit those brand-boosting, purchase-affirming stars, cementing trust and enabling dialogue with you and your loyal customers.
To start collecting reviews across Google, sign up for your free demo using the button at the top of this page.