If your business was a contestant on a dating show, hoping to be picked by your ideal customer, would you win? Is your biz the most attractive option among the competition – or does it have spinach in its teeth (metaphorically speaking)? In this example, online business directories like Google Maps are the matchmakers that deliver customers to your door. And one thing causes success or heartbreak.
The modern (& more effective) form of word-of-mouth advertising
What will bring in the most customers? Is it SEO, social media, or branding? After nearly 20 years in marketing, I’m convinced that online reviews have the greatest effect on whether customers choose your business over the competition. In fact, if your online reviews aren’t great, potential customers are just passing you by without giving you a chance. To use the dating metaphor, you never get a first date or even a flirty glance.
Let me explain …
According to research by Brigthlocal, online reviews have a huge effect on the decision-making of potential buyers:
- 93% of people search for businesses online. Obviously, the internet is not some passing fad that will go away in a few years. Almost everyone is using the internet to choose where they spend their money. If your business is not online, you’re losing money – there’s no way around it.
- 87% read reviews for local businesses. Google lists millions of businesses. How do people decide which ones to choose? The vast majority of people are looking at online reviews to help narrow down the list of potential choices.
- 94% are more likely to use a business with positive reviews. Online reviews are the modern version of personal recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing. They have a measurable effect on sales (both positive and negative effects).
- 72% have written an online review. Most people are actually participating in this modern word-of-mouth marketing. They want to express themselves online. They want to reward good service and (sometimes) punish bad service. And your business can’t opt out of collecting reviews on most online business directories like Google. You have to let people express themselves – so make sure you use the best strategies.
- 79% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In this digital culture, people trust their buying decisions to total strangers online. In fact, online reviews may be more reliable than personal recommendations. What’s better: Having access to a few opinions from family and friends – or hundreds (even thousands) of reviews from real customers?
- 86% think online reviews older than 3 months aren’t as relevant (73% say 1 month). If you haven’t earned any online reviews in a while, that’s not a good sign. People may think you’ve stopped providing good service – or that you’ve gone out of business. Conversely, if your company earns new positive reviews each week or month (depending on your client volume) that helps potential customers have confidence in your current business practices.
- 72% say it’s important for a business to be on multiple review sites. People often check multiple review sites before making a decision (Google, FB, BBB, Yelp), especially when making a big purchase. So if you sell a high-ticket item, make sure to invest the time and money it takes to get reviews on every site possible. There are even industry-specific sites for things like handymen, dentists, layers, etc. Don’t neglect those opportunities to stand out from the competition.
People often check multiple review sites. There are even industry-specific sites for things like handymen, dentists, layers, etc.
Win the attention of potential customers searching for your product or service
Clearly, your online reviews are either attracting or repelling potential clients. But …
- How can you get more reviews and better reviews – on a variety of online business directories?
- And how do you deal with negative reviews?
- What if you’ve tried to get great reviews in the past and failed?
I’m here to help!
I am a reputation management specialist.
My done-for-you service High 5 Reviews™ helps you get more reviews and better reviews – while avoiding negative reviews!
If you’d like to learn more, simply request a free consultation. We’ll evaluate your situation and come up with a plan to improve your review situation. No high-pressure sales pitch – seriously. Just information you can use to make the best decision for your company.