As a small business owner, you already know how influential word-of-mouth marketing can be. After all, in the world of small business, competition is fierce and every good word counts. The same goes for online reviews. As word-of-mouth marketing shifts towards an online review-based economy, online reviews have become increasingly more important.
Today’s small business owners have finally realized the untapped potential of online reviews – the potential to generate more revenue. Online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions, and this number only stands to grow as technology becomes more credible and as consumers become more vocal. For business owners, the time to start leveraging these reviews to impact your business is now.
So, the question becomes not whether you should use customer reviews (because of course, you should!) but how to use these reviews to the biggest advantage. It all comes down to understanding how customers actually engage with these reviews when making large purchase decisions.
There are two main factors that determine how consumers react to online reviews: quality and quantity.
At the end of the day, your ‘star rating’ is the most important factor when it comes to reviews. Customers want the best, and that means they want the products with the most 5-star reviews. People trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends, and they want to do business with companies that have good reputations and good standing in the market. In fact, companies risk losing up to 22% of business if (and when) potential customers find just a single negative article on the first page of their search results. If small business owners don’t already realize how online reviews can impact incoming revenue, it’s time to start listening.
Just because you don’t currently have tons of 5-star reviews doesn’t mean you can’t leverage reviews in general to your advantage. All it means is that you have to work a little harder to get your reviews up into that 4 and 5-star range. And trust us – this bump is worth it. According to Harvard, a 1-star increase in your rating can mean a 5-9% increase in revenue. If you own a business, this stat should light a fire to start doing more with your reviews. This means proactively engaging your customers to leave more positive reviews on your pages.
Some ways you can boost positive reviews include:
- Sending automated follow-up texts to customers asking them to leave reviews
- Having pages set up on popular review sites (Google, Facebook, etc.) to make it easy for customers to leave reviews
- Working overtime with your best customers to facilitate glowing reviews
- Responding directly to every inbound review thanking them for their opinion.
Almost 50% of U.S. adults have Googled someone before doing business with them, and a whopping 56% have found something that solidified the decision to do business with that person or company. As more consumers take online reviews at face value as a way of influencing buying decisions, it’s up to small business owners to increase the quality of those reviews however they can.
The other factor that influences consumer interaction with reviews is the quantity. Basically, it comes down to the more reviews the better. In fact, if two businesses have the exact same rating on a review site, consumers are much more likely to choose the business with a higher number of reviews. For small business owners, this means that increasing reviews, regardless of the sentiment, is worth it in the long run.
While the steps outlined above to increase reviews are of course the first place to start, there are some other ways business owners can increase reviews in their community.
Take reviews further with Kenect
Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth marketing and can help increase new business, generate revenue for small and mid-size business owners, and as an owner or manager of a business, you can proactively influence this incoming business in a myriad of ways. Take your procurement of online reviews to the next level with Kenect. Want to learn how you can leverage online reviews to take your business to the next level? Schedule your one-on-one consultation today!