Power of Online Reviews for Your Business

As a business owner, you probably already know that online reviews are important. Just how important they can be, though, can be astonishing. Over ninety percent of your customers read the online reviews, and that's not just those that are doing online shopping. People visiting your business in person will often visit your website in search of reviews. Online reviews will boost your sales and SEO and is social proof that your business is among the best.

For example,

  • 88% of your customers are just as likely to trust an online review as they are a personal recommendation from someone that's had business with you
  • Businesses with excellent reviews have customers that generally spend over 25% more than they would at businesses without excellent reviews
  • The more positive the reviews, the more trust people have in your business

The biggest sites for reviews are undoubtedly Google and Yelp. Those are the two most visited review sites, although your own website should carry online reviews as well, as it's a good business practice to showcase your business with other consumers. Not only does having a review page on your website increase the trust consumers have in your business, but it increases your product coverage and overall website traffic, boosting your SEO.

It's been proven that Google reviews are actually used more often than Yelp reviews, but both are important. Google, though, is the largest search engine in the world, accounting for over 60% of the world's online searches. When searching for a business, reviews and star ratings generally come up automatically. On top of that, consumers are over 35% are likely to visit a business that has a complete Google My Business page.

Your star rating on Google also affects the state of your business. Moreover, 50% of people googling your business will be more likely to click on its listing if it has a good star rating, and for that to be possible, you need to have good reviews. When people search on google for a specific business, like the reviews and click on the website, they're more likely to end that search with a purchase.

The more positive the reviews on Google, the better your business sales will wind up, gaining you even more customers and revenue.

Yelp, too, can boost your sales. It's an older site, and has its issues, but people still trust that it will let them know if a business is worth their contribution or not. While Yelp is not as prolific as Google, increasing your rating on Yelp by just one star can lead to an increase in your revenue up to 9%. While many people complain about Yelp's website, the fact of the matter is that it's still a highly used website and people trust what it has to say.

Even Facebook reviews can impact your business. If your websites Facebook page is filled with negative reviews, your sales will fall, while good reviews can boost your revenue. Statistics state that nearly 75% of people will use Facebook to learn more about a business, so it's important not to neglect your business's Facebook.

You should encourage people to leave reviews, whether on your own website, your Facebook page, or the Google and Yelp pages, along with other online review sites. The more reviews you have, the more positive interaction you have on display.

Negative Reviews

When it comes to negative reviews, you need to tread carefully. One the one hand, a negative review can lose you business, but on the other, having no negative reviews causes potential customers to become suspicious. You don't want to have all positive reviews because it makes customers think you're hiding something, however negative reviews do come at a cost.

A negative review on Yelp can cost you up to 30 potential customers, while a negative review on Google can lose you up to 70% of those potential customers.

However, you can turn those negative reviews into a positive experience. Don't delete the comment but respond to it. Businesses that respond to negative responses and try to fix the problems, are businesses that are likely to get better reviews later on. Customers, even potential ones, are more likely to trust a business that tries to make their buyers happy, even in retrospect.

So, when you get a negative review, what do you do?

  • Respond as promptly as possible
  • Admit that you made a mistake, if a mistake was made
  • Correct any inaccuracies as politely as possible
  • Point out your business's strengths
  • Be personable (don't respond like a corporation, but as a person)
  • Provide restitution if needed
  • Be consistent in your restitution and policies
  • Only take the complaint offline if it warrants it

When it comes to online reviews, its best to remember that they're a necessity to keep up with them. Take the time to read through your reviews and respond accordingly, to both the negative and positive. Show your consumers that you are a personable business that cares what they think and are interested in what they have to say. The more reviews your business gets, the more business you'll receive. Your website hits will increase, boosting your SEO and also increasing your revenue. Reviews are one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase your business and get new, potentially loyal customers.

Bryan Caplan