Word of mouth, social proof, or in other words — popularity — has always been a key to success in business. Today that involves online reviews.
Some small businesses (especially those offline) have their blinders on when it comes to the internet. They think because they serve a localized base of consumers — a portion of which is foot traffic — that what people are saying on the web is irrelevant.
The Importance of Online Reviews
In 2017, however, the truth is that the content of online reviews on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, Trip Advisor, and even Facebook can mean the difference between success and failure — particularly if you are in the restaurant or hotel business. For example, did you know that positive comments from customers or clients produce an average increase in sales of 18 percent and that consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more because of positive reviews?
Conversely, 22 percent of consumers won’t buy your product or service after reading just one negative review and four or more bad comments can take up to 70 percent of a business’s potential customers away.
This and a wide range of other facts and statistics about online reviews have been recently gathered by website building site WebsiteBuilder.org, for a new infographic. Their infographic provides a host of invaluable information for small business owners.
Not All Reviews are Made Equal
So it may seem obvious that positive reviews are a good thing and negative reviews are a bad thing. Something else to consider as a small business owner is that having no reviews at all can also have a negative impact on your business’s potential. Today’s consumers are savvier than ever. When the average person is glued to his or her smartphone, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re Googling your business before using it — especially if they’ve never heard of it before.
Finding little to no information tells them that it’s either a new business and therefore they shouldn’t subject themselves to being the proverbial “guinea pig.” Or worse … people care so little about you that you’re not even on the radar. Yet just a few positive reviews can reassure potential customers that you’re worth checking out.
Bottom line, lots of positive reviews means people trust your business, which in turn is a great marketing tool to new customers.
Don’t Fake It
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you should fall into the trap of buying fake reviews. It’s often quite easy to spot a series of fraudulent comments, as they tend to be overbearing and written in a similar fashion. With all the talk of “fake news” these days, people are increasingly skeptical and jaded. 27 percent of consumers only trust reviews, and that’s if they believe they are legitimate. If you’re called out with fake reviews, the damage to your business may be irreparable. Nobody likes a liar.
If you are faced with negative reviews, the best course of action is to tackle them head on and improve the service. Research suggests when retailers replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites, a third of those customers either deleted their original negative review or replaced it with a positive review.
To learn more about why online reviews can either make or break your business, check out the full infographic!
Republished by permission. Original here.
This article, “Why Positive Reviews are So Valuable to Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends