For many local businesses, they believe they’re immune to what happens online…this is a misconception. Even for hair salons, local gardening services, and cafes, online reviews might just be the difference between success and failure. Here’s why;
Everybody Uses Google – Much of what we talk about today will apply to Google Business Reviews because more and more people are searching Google while looking for a local service. Rather than keeping leaflets or looking in the telephone book, customers look online today, and your Google Reviews will be one of the first things that greets them.
With so many people using Google, building up great reviews will provide you with instant credibility. If faced with a one-star cafe and a five-star cafe, which do you think people will choose?
Boost Sales – With this in mind, positive online reviews can generate sales. When consumers search online and see everybody speaking positively about your service, they know you’ll have a resolution for their own problem (whether a haircut, food, or window cleaning service).
Gain Feedback – While nobody likes to see negative reviews online, the best way to approach them is with growth in mind. Rather than sending an angry reply, thank them for the feedback and see if there are ways you can improve from it (prospective customers love to see brands taking negative reviews seriously!).
Improve Your Ranking – If your business has fantastic reviews online, it will increase in the local SEO rankings. Suddenly, your name will be one of the first customers see when searching for a service of your type. If you search Google now for a local mechanic, for example, the ‘map pack’ will show three suggestions below a map of their location. If you can get into this elite list, the exposure will be fantastic news for the company.
Customers Listen to Customers – Rather than shouting about how good your company is, why not have your customers do it for you? In a world where people are looking for somebody to trust, the best way to do this is to get your customers talking for you; online reviews are a great way to get started.
Create an Active Community – Finally, we’ve seen plenty of brands generate an active community through online reviews. After leaving a positive review, loyal customers will stick around to respond to comments or even to see what everybody else is saying. If you get involved too, there’s a positive relationship between yourself and customers; your brand becomes personable rather than ‘just another company’.
If you aren’t yet paying attention to your online reviews, now’s the time to do so. What if you don’t have any reviews? You can encourage your loyal customers to leave comments and feedback when they next stop by!