I know you know that online reviews are important for your business, but do you know how much they're really worth?
Not only do a huge 97 percent of consumers read online reviews, but they trust reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. To have a fighting chance in today’s digital world, your business needs to be consistently getting new reviews.
Still, we found in a recent survey that only 36 percent of small businesses invest in review marketing. Seems counterproductive, right?
Reviews can also boost sales and SEO, leading to a higher search ranking, since reviews are social proof (social proof is the idea that if others like your business then it’s safe for me to like it—everyone else is doing it, right?).
And consumers take reviews very, very seriously. Check out these stats from Nielsen:
So if someone is reading your reviews, they probably want to make a purchase, but where do consumers leave and read reviews?
Well, that depends on where your business is listed.
There are many review sites that your business may be listed on (without even knowing it) and the most important review platform varies by business and industry.
While you probably don’t have the time to devote to in-depth research about every single review site out there, you can search Google for your industry + reviews + location. For instance, if your business is a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, search “restaurant reviews Columbus OH”.
The results of this search will show you which sites your competitors use, so make sure your business is there too.
Not that we recommend raising prices just because you have recently received a few good reviews, but a Cornell University study found that a hotel can raise its prices by about 11 percent for every one-point increase in its star rating (without losing customers).
Consumers are also likely to spend 31 percent more on a business with excellent reviews, and a whopping 92 percent will use a local business if it has at least a four-star rating.
The big contenders for reviews, though, are Google and Yelp (though this will vary by industry and this doesn't mean you should neglect industry-specific review sites).
Let’s look at how much reviews are worth on each platform.
While both are important for small businesses, studies say Google is more important for reviews than Yelp. Google is the biggest search engine in the world (accounting for around 64 percent of all searches worldwide) and when potential customers search Google for local businesses, reviews and star ratings show up.
Google was also found to be the most important review site for purchase decisions, and consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider buying from a business with a complete Google My Business page.
Besides, when someone Googles your business, they’ll see Google reviews in your listing.
Reviews on Google can also increase your click-through rates. In fact, 56 percent of searchers will choose to click on a business's listing just because it has a good star rating or positive reviews (even if it isn't the top result).
And, according to a Harvard Business Review study, a large percentage of local searches ended with a purchase (78 percent on mobile, 64 percent on tablet/laptop, and 61 percent on PC).
So, positive reviews on Google can help you get more clicks and improve sales!
Don’t underestimate the power of Yelp for local businesses. With more than 127 million reviews, Yelp is the godfather of online review platforms, and good reviews on Yelp can do a lot for your local business.
Increasing your overall Yelp rating by one star can lead to a 5-9 percent boost in revenue. And 98 percent of Yelpers have made a purchase from a business they found on Yelp, so make sure you’ve claimed your Yelp business page.
Reviews on Facebook can have a huge impact on your business's sales. Facebook influences more than half of users' purchase decisions, and 80 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a local business if it has positive Facebook reviews.
Since 74 percent of people use Facebook to find more information about businesses, those reviews are extremely important.
Ratings for online businesses are a great way to improve sales. Putting reviews on product pages is the way to go. Not only has it been proven to increase review volume by 324 percent, but it can also increase product coverage as well as website traffic and conversions.
In fact, more reviews will give you more conversions:
Negative reviews are tricky. On one hand, one negative review can damage your business. On the other hand, consumers don’t always trust a business’s reviews if they’re all positive.
Still, negative reviews do come at a cost. They can cause four out of five consumers to reverse purchase decisions.
So that potential customer might be ready to buy until they read a few negative reviews, at which point they will simply walk away. Additionally, one bad Yelp review can cost your business 30 customers, and bad reviews in Google search results can cause you to lose 70 percent of those potential customers.
However, if you fix the problem, you can turn the bad experience (and possibly that bad review they left for the world to see) around.
When businesses respond to unhappy customers (and actually resolve the problem) that customer is much (70 percent!) more likely to use the business again.
All you have to do is respond, apologize, and genuinely try to make it right. Not sure how to make it right? Check out this article about why unhappy customers leave negative reviews and this one about how to reply to every type of review.