If you’re a business owner, reviews are an invaluable part of your marketing strategy. Reviews show potential customers the quality and reliability of your services before they take the plunge to buy from you.
They also give people a chance to share their thoughts on what makes your business stand out in a sea of competitors.
For these reasons and more, businesses must work hard to cultivate reviews for their company.
We will explore how reviews can help businesses grow and why reviews matter for both consumers and providers alike.
How Reviews Help your Business
Reviews are essential for any small business. However, they’re even more critical for those with only a few reviews.
Why? Well, if you have less than 5 or 6 reviews on your page, then each review is worth more to your business because they represent a larger percentage of the total. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that most consumers want to see at least 40 reviews for a business before they truly believe the average star rating.
If you have some authentic and trustworthy reviews on your page from real customers, potential clients will feel better about doing business with you.
This is called social proof.
Ever see reviews (sometimes referred to as testimonials) listed on a business’s website?
Of course, you have! Almost every half-decently designed website has reviews incorporated into it. Some are real and pulled straight from Google, while others may create reviews artificially. Regardless, the business is simply trying to increase its social proof.
Social proof is the psychological phenomenon in which people are likely to do something if they have seen others do it. If you have a social media account, think about how many times you’ve seen someone’s post shared by another person. You may not be sure what their motivations are or what this post has anything to do with you, but it still pulls at your curiosity to click on it and see what it is all about.
This is the power of social proof.
Many businesses advertise themselves as a provider of a product or service that others claim to be good. They will then provide a review from someone satisfied with their services to create more credibility for themselves and increase the likelihood that prospective clients will take action.
But social proof isn’t the only reason for reviews. There are some additional factors to consider.
Reviews for SEO Purposes
Take caution, though; it’s not the only ranking signal. Many business owners think that reviews are the only way to rank on Google – it’s not.
However, each review you receive, whether good or bad, will affect your standing on the search engine result pages.
Where to Get Reviews
Having a customer thank you for excellent service will surely make you feel great about yourself, but that’s where the benefits end.
If that same customer writes a glowing review on Yelp, Google, or BBB, the benefits come in SEO and social proof.
Customers can provide reviews on any number of review-based websites or business directories. These sites typically have links associated with your business listing that you can easily direct your customers to.
How to Get More Reviews
There are two types of people in this world: those that give reviews and those that don’t.
The fact is, many people don’t leave reviews. And, if they do, it’s for either exceptionally great service or exceptionally poor service.
As a small business owner, you want to get reviews from only those people that are likely to leave positive feedback.
An easy way to get more reviews is to solicit them simply. In other words, ask your clients or customers for a review.
One technique that I prefer to use is creating a redirecting URL. This makes it extremely easy for a consumer to leave a review.
For example, if your site is billybobsgardening.com, I would create a URL such as billybobsgarending.com/review, redirecting the user to Billy Bob’s GMB listing to leave a review.
Customers will leave more reviews if it’s easier for them to do so, so make it simple for them.
Responding to Reviews
You did it! A customer finally left a review for your business on Google.
It’s a sparkling 5-star review in which you’re praised for your service. You were on time, and the charges were fair.
That’s awesome! But, now what?
You have to respond to that review. This is very important, not for the reviewer, but for future potential customers.
If you’re responding to a terrible review, chances are, regardless of what you respond with, it will fall on deaf ears of the reviewer.
However, what you respond with will be seen by everyone else.
So take the time to carefully craft a response that addresses the pain of the reviewer and how your business is better than that. An amazing response to a bad review can turn skeptics into customers.
Here’s an example of responding to a review
They ruined my garden and now the plants won’t grow!Jessica’s Review
Jessica, I’m so sorry to hear your plants won’t grow. We take great pride in our work and want you to be happy with the service we provide. Our goal is for all of our customers to have a successful garden season.
I would like to understand more about the issue you’re experiencing with your plants, please send us an email or give us a call.Billy Bob’s Gardening
This response does not deflect the review, but instead, it shows compassion and empathy. It also uses this opportunity to throw a positive spin on its company, but not in a boisterous way. And lastly, it opens the door to make things right with Jessica.
Other customers will see this interaction and walk away with a positive image of Billy Bob’s Gardening.
As you can see, it’s extremely important to respond to reviews in a positive and caring manner. You might not be able to change the reviewer’s mind, but you affect the thoughts of future customers.
Reviews are an integral part of customer trust. They help potential customers decide whether to buy your product or not, and they also act as social proof for other people who may be considering making a purchase.
If you’re looking for ways to improve the number of reviews that your business has, there are many things you can do, including asking current customers for feedback by emailing them about their latest order (and, if possible, sending along with a small gift) or giving away free products in exchange for an honest review.
You should also respond politely when someone leaves a negative review because this will show other visitors how much you care about providing excellent service even during difficult situations.
Now it’s time to take action! So get out and get some reviews for your business!