For years, word of mouth has been one of the driving forces behind a small business’s success. People trust recommendations from friends and family, and if they recommend a restaurant or service provider, chances are they’ll want to try it. The times are changing, and online reviews on social media platforms and other sources are becoming just as important as word of mouth. More importantly, reviews not only affect restaurants or services but nearly every business. Here are a few ways that online reviews affect your business.
People Are Reading More Online Reviews Than Ever
Whether you’re aware or not, customers are leaving reviews for your business. According to a study from 2016, 92% of consumers read online reviews, and a significant number of them admit that online reviews greatly influence their purchasing decisions. People are much more careful with their money, and with access to more information about the products and services they want to buy, you can bet they’ll want to ensure they are making the correct purchasing decisions.
Customers Trust Online Reviews
As we mentioned above, people trust what others have to say. You’d be surprised to find that 84% of people trust online reviews from a stranger as if it were a personal recommendation. Without even knowing if the person that wrote the review is honest, a majority of people will accept their opinion as fact and will either go to the store or will avoid it depending on the tone of the review.
Negative Reviews Can Take a Toll
People are more likely to write a review about a negative experience they have with a company than they are to leave a positive one. That being said, these negative reviews can hurt your business if they aren’t drowning in a sea of positive reviews. Research shows that companies stand to lose as much as 22% of potential customers from just one negative review. These strangers on the Internet have a lot of power these days so it’s crucial you are mitigating the damage they could cause.
So maybe you have a few positive reviews on your Facebook or Google My Business Page, but they’re from 6 months ago; those are still valid, right? Well, while having positive online reviews is important, if they’re a few months old, customers won’t put as much trust in them. In fact, according to data from Vendasta, 44% of people they surveyed stated that they put most of their trust in reviews posted within the last month and older reviews aren’t as valid. Things move fast these days, and consumers want to know that a business is offering consistent services. This is one of the reasons it is crucial you encourage frequent positive reviews from customers.
Online Reviews Affect Your SEO
When it comes to your Google My Business page, the more positive reviews your business has, the higher that you will rank in local searches. If you want more visibility than your competitors, it is crucial that your business has more positive reviews than them. This visibility leads to a higher conversion rate and more traffic to your site and brick and mortar store.
The times are changing, and online reviews on social media platforms and other sources are becoming just as important as word of mouth
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