3 Ways Online Reviews Can Help Your Small Business Grow

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Online customer reviews matter much more than you can imagine. The majority of potential customers search the Internet for online reviews before making a purchase, and the quality of reviews impacts the number of leads for your local business. In a recent survey, 89 percent of customers confirmed that they trust online reviews, and nearly 80 percent of customers were hesitant to make a purchase after reading the negative online reviews about a brand.

Customers these days do their research before making a purchase. A single positive or negative review can have a massive impact on the success and reputation of your brand. On average, a customer reads four to six reviews before trusting a brand. This means even a single negative review has the power to influence the decision of your potential customers. Businesses that underestimate the power of online reviews are damaging their credibility and brand image more than they realize.

Here are the top three ways online reviews can help your local business grow:

1. Drive new leads: Positive reviews will help you reach out to a whole new set of target audiences. When your existing customers post positive reviews, they will share their experiences with the world at large. This will convey your message to a wider range of potential customers, thus creating a new base for your local business. In addition, search engines such as Google and Yahoo allow searchers or potential customers to see what other people are saying about your products and services. If potential customers see your current customers vouching for your products, this may increase sales without any major investment in marketing activities. On the other hand, negative online reviews will drive away potential customers.

2. Improve SEO rankings: Online reviews account for almost 8 percent of what Google looks at when determining your search engine rank. This means consistently posted positive reviews can help your business appear higher in search engine results. Review generation should be one of the primary goals of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. If people are not writing about you online, you have to drive the right conversation through online reviews. This may help new customers find you through social mentions.

3. Increase customer engagement: Online reviews will enable you to develop stronger bonds with your customers. This is because when you reply to reviews, it shows that you are interested in what your customers have to say. Through these online interactions, your customers will get to know you as a customer-focused business, which will encourage long-term relationships. In addition, customers will be willing to spend more and be your brand’s ambassadors if they are convinced about your brand values and image.

According to a report by Harvard Business, online reviews can impact your bottom line by 5 percent to 9 percent. While positive online reviews may not make customers throw their hard-earned money at you, they will certainly be encouraged to purchase. Online reviews can be an excellent opportunity to resolve a customer’s problem, nurture the relationship and implement effective measures to improve business practices.


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