For small businesses, competition is fierce. With that in mind, it’s crucial to have a strong online presence, and a big part of that is a trustworthy bank of positive reviews.
You might think that reviews sort of ‘just happen’, however, if you leave it up to fate you’re leaving money on the table. By neglecting those possible positive reviews from happy customers, you are harming your future business.
Why are reviews important for customers? Well, what do you do before you buy something? Odds are, you’re going to at least glance at some reviews.
One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is online reviews. In this guide, we’ll explore why small business reviews are so important, provide examples of review websites, and give you practical tips on how to get more reviews for your business.
1. Why Reviews Are Important for Small Business
The benefits of small business reviews are many, and they go beyond just attracting new customers. Here are a few reasons why reviews are so important for small businesses:
- Credibility and Trust: 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. In today’s world, customers are more sceptical than ever. Reviews provide social proof that your business is legitimate, trustworthy, and delivers on its promises. This is especially important for small businesses that don’t have the brand recognition of larger competitors. Even a few reviews will be enough for a small business to start building that trust.
- Increased Visibility: Reviews are a key factor in search engine rankings. The more reviews your business has, the higher it will rank in search engine results pages, making it easier for customers to find you.
- Valuable Feedback: Reviews provide valuable feedback about your business. They can help you identify areas where you’re excelling, as well as areas where you need to improve. This information can help you make better decisions, refine your marketing strategy, and ultimately grow your business.
2. Examples of Small Business Review Websites
There are many review websites where customers can leave reviews for small businesses. Here are some of the most popular:
- Google My Business: This is one of the most important review websites for small businesses. It’s free to set up and allows customers to leave reviews and ratings of your business
- Yelp: Yelp is another popular review website that allows customers to leave reviews and ratings of businesses. It’s especially popular for restaurants but can be used for any type of small business.
- Facebook: Facebook allows customers to leave reviews and ratings of your business on your Facebook page. This is a great way to get reviews from customers who follow your business on social media.
- Trustpilot: This is also very important and has become synonymous with online trust. If you browse websites it’s likely you’ll either see the Google rating or the Trustpilot rating displayed.
3. How to Get More Online Reviews for Your Small Business
Getting more reviews for your small business requires effort, but the payoff can be significant. Here are some tips to get online reviews for your business
Ask for Reviews:
The simplest way to get more reviews is to ask for them. You can encourage customers to leave a review by including a link to your review page in email communications, on your website, and on your social media profiles.
Make sure you are asking at the right time! You might notice after getting a product on Amazon you get an invitation to review the product a couple of days later. This is when the product is still fresh in your mind, and you’re more likely to sing its praises before the quality may drop.
It’s always good to strike when the iron is hot, and get feedback and reviews straight after your service has been completed, or your product has been purchased.
Make it Easy:
Keep it simple stupid! You want to keep the barrier as low as possible, you want as little friction between the review and the customer. To do this, make sure you have a few options so they can choose whatever platform the user is most familiar with.
Message them on whatever channel you have previously been in contact with them, for instance over email if that is how you communicate with your customers. This will help make it a natural progression and not a jarring experience. Make sure your messaging is concise with very clear links to leave reviews. You don’t want people falling off because your messaging was too waffly.
Provide clear instructions and links to your review pages, and make sure your review pages are optimised for mobile devices! Most people will be reviewing from their phone, not their computer.
Offering incentives to customers who leave a review can be a powerful motivator. Consider offering a discount on their next purchase or a free gift in exchange for a review. Just make sure to follow ethical guidelines for incentivising reviews.
4. Reviews Pros and Cons
While reviews can be a powerful tool for small businesses, they’re not without their downsides. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Increased visibility in search engine results
- Establishes trust and credibility with potential customers
- Provides valuable feedback regarding your business
- Negative reviews can be damaging to your business’s reputation
- Competitors can post fake reviews to harm your business’s reputation
While it is important to keep in mind the potential downsides, the upsides of getting reviews far outweigh the cons.
One of the most effective ways to build trust is to show how real people have come into contact with you in the past. And this is where even a review with 3 stars can be beneficial – it shows people that you are getting real people with real personal experiences to interact with your services.
Here’s the thing, customers know that there are people who do like to complain, you see it everywhere online. A lot of the time the bad reviews are irrelevant to the product itself.
For instance, I recently read a review that was for a product for couples that got a one-star review because the reviewer’s girlfriend had recently broken up with him and he no longer had any use for it.
What that review does show, however, is that real people have bought the product in the past.
In conclusion, getting more small business reviews is an essential part of building a strong online presence. Reviews provide valuable feedback about your business, and establish trust and credibility with potential customers, and can improve your search engine rankings. By using the tips provided in this article, you can get more online reviews for your business and take your small business to the next level.
If you want any more in-depth tips and tricks, don’t hesitate to contact Dynamic.