Here’s a fun fact: Positive consumer reviews can boost sales by 18% and get consumers to spend over 30% more on products. With just the click of a button, customers can go online, write a review in seconds, and shape a company’s success. In just a few years, the internet has given consumers unprecedented power.
Now, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to take advantage of the attention they get from consumers and put their products in front of more eyes. But doing so requires a marketing strategy that incorporates reviews. A sound marketing strategy can ultimately improve a company’s image and even have a positive effect on its ROI.
The Power of Local SEO
Just as eating fruit, meat, and vegetables from the farm down the street helps support a local business and makes products you need instantly accessible, the same concept of “going local” applies to customer reviews, too. Small businesses are often rooted in small towns, which don’t always get large volumes of foot traffic.
Therefore, it’s especially important for small businesses to attract and retain the business of locals, as it ensures a steady stream of predictable revenue. But in order to really grow and expand, a business needs something else. Research shows that the percentage of people who read and are persuaded by online reviews is nearly 90%.
Quite often, the very act of locals taking to the web and sharing their positive experience about a company to the world is just the thing a company needs to grow.
Even after a company has closed its doors for the business day, customers can still work behind the scenes to describe their satisfaction with an experience or purchase. Statistics show that over 70% of consumers trust a company after reading positive reviews, even if they’ve never seen or heard of the business before.
It’s not just about company trust, either. Podium points out that “consumers who used to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations now rely on online reviews. In fact, over 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as they trust recommendations from family and friends. One quick Google search is all they need to make a decision about your business.”
Virtually overnight, word of excellent products, food, customer service, or hospitality can go viral. If you play things right, that can result in instant profit for you and your services. Even though the majority of online reviews are written by total strangers, customers ultimately spend money on products or visit a restaurant or hotel in person after reading positive reviews.
And mobile technology certainly helps. Experts have noted that customers who read positive reviews on a mobile device are way more likely to purchase products or services than people viewing comments on desktops.
The Advantage Goes To… Small Businesses
According to research reported by SearchEngineLand, only about 12% of people who use the internet do not read consumer reviews. While people might not always post reviews themselves, most want to hear what others have to say about a product they’re thinking of getting before they spend money.
For small businesses, this advertising is especially powerful, as it transcends the power that word of mouth and friend-to-friend recommendations have on their product visibility and ultimately the success of their company. Seeing positive reviews drives more traffic to a company’s website, which in turn leads to more clicks, conversions, and sales.
How To Get Reviews
In order to get those golden customer reviews, companies need to take just a few simple steps. The first strategy is to set up an online presence on multiple sites where consumers generally leave and see reviews. Some well-known sites are Google, Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Yahoo Local.
Another way to get customers to leave reviews is to ask them if they’d be willing to leave a review of a product they bought, a new dish they tried, or a lodging experience they had on vacation. Most customers understand how important reviews are to a company, and they’re happy to help out.
The key, though, is to get customers to leave reviews shortly after their experience. According to Jeff Bullas, you should get customers thinking about positive reviews as soon as possible. “Include links to your positive reviews on your business cards to get them excited,” he suggests. “Then, if you deliver a fantastic customer experience, you can ask and they’ll remember – in some cases, they’ll even take the initiative and write you a great review on their own. Otherwise, they may forget about their positive encounter and be less motivated to write a review.”
While some companies just ask customers with a friendly smile to provide feedback, others sweeten the deal. Having a contest for a prize, such as a gift card or the chance to win cash, is a good way to increase customer participation.
Although small-time businesses have had to rely on word of mouth and local patronage in the past to stay afloat, the internet is changing the way companies conduct business. Now, a positive review can put a mom-and-pop shop on the radar of the world almost overnight.
Asking customers to leave reviews, having a method easily available for them to share their experiences, and even offering a reward can go a long way in propelling small businesses to success.
Building your small business? Work with me to get the advantage on your competition. Kimprint Creative can revamp your visual branding and upgrade your core audience. Contact me today to get started.