As an avid online and mobile user, I always check out a restaurant’s website and reviews before visiting. It’s rare that I don’t check out the menu and the rating on Yelp, or visit the website. I never used to care about what others said and was a big believer in “experiencing it for myself,” but now that I have a child it has become more important for me to know what to expect in terms of service, accommodations and quality of food – even if it is from strangers. Apparently I’m not alone. According to a recent report, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is up from 79% in 2013. So now you’re probably wondering, as a local business owner, why should I care about reviews? Here are some important reasons why you should.
Reviews can help people find your business online
Reviews are an integral part of Local SEO, but they are also vital for local clickthroughs. So if you have a website, make sure to create a reviews page (e.g. domain.com/reviews) and from that page link people to the sites you’d like them to post a review on. This is one of the pages that will show up organically in local searches by potential customers. In addition, you can place that URL on a postcard or handout and give it to the customer at the end of their service or meal to serve as a reminder for when they get home. It is a good practice to train your staff to ask for reviews after servicing customers. The key to generating reviews is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave one.
Influence Customer Perception
84 percent of Americans say consumer reviews influence their purchase decisions. Reviews can be a powerful tool if monitored and used correctly. By allowing your customers to leave a review you do open your business up to scrutiny but also very positive feedback that can be used to gain credibility. Reviews also allow your customers to gain insight into who you are and the type of business you’re running (i.e. customer centric, professionalism). But if you do get a bad review, make sure to respond to it and show that you are willing to resolve any issues, whether by offering a customer a coupon for a discount on a future purchase or apologizing for any inconvenience. Bottom line, you want to show that you care about your customers and the reputation of your business.
Generate Content to Promote Your Business
Share positive reviews on social media or other promotional channels. This will showcase your work/service and help you to generate potential leads. Let the reviewer create your promotional content. This is one less piece advertising copy that you have to create! Positive reviews can also help you solidify your position as an industry leader. Also share internally to increase employee morale or to call attention to a particularly good employee. Just make sure that review you’re using is legitimate.
Iliana Angel is the Marketing Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Local Business Listings.