Person using chalk to tick the tick box that contains 5 stars with chalk

Why Are Reviews Important For Small Businesses?

Here's why you need to focus on encouraging your customers to leave reviews.

Why are reviews important? Consider this: 186 million people use Yelp every month, and they write 150 million business reviews.

As an entrepreneur, if you want to be successful then you must take control of your online review scores. You need to check out what's being said about your company on Yelp, Foursquare, and other review sites.

Read on to learn more about the importance of online reviews.

Online Business Reviews

Many small business owners feel sceptical about the whole idea of online reviews, especially if they serve a local customer base. After all, isn't focusing on a local demographic enough?

No.

Why? Because the internet's not going anywhere, and it continues to reshape how consumers make purchases. Ignoring the importance of online reviews ensures one thing; you'll get left behind in your competition's dust.

After all, word-of-mouth referrals have always proven crucial to business success. People need social proof to feel comfortable about making a purchase, and the internet's where all of the action takes place these days.

Today's customer has never proven savvier. Before they consider doing business with you, you must assume they're online searching for reviews about your business. And just because they don't find any doesn't let you off the hook.

Assumptions Based on Reviews

You see, a lack of information about your company raises red flags, too. Consumers assume it either means your business is brand new and, therefore, an unknown quantity. Or, it's so irrelevant no one's talking about it at all.

These dangerous assumptions can seriously harm your bottom line. Starting to see why you can't avoid online reviews anymore?

Fortunately, just a few great reviews can turn your company's online image around… overnight. Why? Because customers make assumptions about good reviews, too.

When potential customers see positive reviews, they assume people trust your business. And if others have not only trusted your business but cared enough to write about it, then prospects feel assured your company can meet their needs, too.

Hey, Hold It!

But don't get the “bright” idea to purchase fake reviews either. You risk losing trust and credibility because your customers will figure it out.

After all, most fake reviews follow the same patterns and styles. They are pathetically easy to spot. Especially for today's new breed of discerning consumers.

Besides, there are better ways to manage the process of getting customer reviews. And if you're selling products and interacting with customers, then rest assured an untapped pool of reviews exist. But you need a plan for getting them.

What About Bad Reviews?

Never ignore bad reviews. Instead, confront them head-on. Otherwise, others will assume the review must be true.

And, really, can you blame them?

What's more, ignoring bad reviews means ignoring customers. And last time we checked, ignoring customers demonstrates a serious lack of consumer care and professionalism.

Always respond to your customers, no matter how serious the criticisms. Show them that you care about what they think and want to resolve the issue(s) to their satisfaction.

When a company responds to bad reviews, research shows the reviewer either deletes or replaces it with positive ones.Now, how cool is that?

Think of a bad review as an opportunity to earn back a customer. It's also a chance to gain many new customers, especially if you impress them with your superior customer service.

Get Found

Here's one that most small businesses overlook, but you shouldn't. When you put reviews on your website, they also help your search engine rankings.

By how much? Online reviews factor up to 10 percent in how search engines determine where to rank sites.

This explains why Yelp and your company's Facebook page probably rank higher than your website. It also explains why Google favours third-party online review sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp. But why the preference for reviews?

Because Google and other search engines know how much consumers like reviews. In fact, they understand that customers actively search for reviews all the time.

Besides publishing customer reviews on your website, you also need to get proactive about popular review sites. The more times your company gets featured on sites such as Angie's List and TripAdvisor, the greater your company's exposure.

Set Your Fears Aside

Some small business owners remain reluctant to dive into the online reviews game. They fear the negative consequences of a bad review more than they anticipate the positive benefits of a five-star review.

And this hampers their growth in many ways. Instead, embrace the fact that you can't please everyone.

That said, having a few stellar reviews still speak volumes for your company. Especially when backed up with great customer service.

Why Are Reviews Important?

When it comes to online reviews versus individual recommendations, 84 percent of consumers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. You need to harness this power and use it to sell your products.

But how do you gather more reviews? Create a repeatable system to follow up with customers and ask them for feedback and reviews.

For example, if you sell physical products, send out a post-purchase email or postcard asking for a review of your products and customer experience.  Here are some other creative ways to get reviews.

Don't let collecting and managing reviews keep you from taking full advantage of their power. In fact,you don't have to go it alone. We've got the tools you need to convert happy customers into active review writers.

We're Here to Help

Why are reviews important? Interested in learning more about the benefits of online reviews?

We've got you covered! Explore our digital marketing blog for the tips you need to stay ahead of the curve.

At Rocket Reviews, we're here to help you take your reviews to the next level. We've got cutting-edge strategies to help you collect more reviews, manage them, and use them to pave a digital roadmap to success.