Key Statistic: 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is good or bad.
This statistic indicates a vast majority of consumers turn to Google and other online reviews when determining how they feel about a business before engaging with it.
The social proof inherent in reviews and hearing about other people’s experiences is valuable information for an undecided consumer.
Since most people are reading reviews, businesses need to take their reviews seriously.
They are an extension of word-of-mouth–meaning what people say about you can theoretically be read by thousands of people, not just individuals in a customer’s immediate network.
And these reviews drastically affect your reputation in the marketplace.
2. People Trust Online Reviews as Much as a Personal Recommendation
Key Statistic: 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Word-of-mouth has long been one of the most powerful marketing tools.
A recommendation from a friend, coworker, family member, or acquaintance carries a lot of weight due to the trust inherent in the relationship.
More people are trusting online reviews at a higher rate than ever.
And this trust is equal to a personal recommendation from someone in their network.
The importance of this cannot be understated:
If word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools, and online reviews are being trusted just as much, then customer reviews are also one of the most powerful marketing tools.
But this also means they can work powerfully for or against you, depending on the nature of the reviews. (The impact of positive reviews will be discussed later on.)
Note: The perceived authenticity of the reviews is also an important factor. If consumers feel like the review is fake, bought, or has otherwise been “planted” there, this can affect their decision making.
3. Most Consumers Will Leave a Review if Asked To
Key Statistic: 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to.
A common concern among business owners is wanting more reviews but also not wanting to pressure their customers to leave them.
This statistic helps to qualm those concerns.
To ramp up your review marketing, you need calls-to-action asking for more Google reviews.
Not only is it difficult to get more reviews without asking (unless your business is gaining customers at a steady rate), but not asking for them while your competitors are will leave you falling behind.
You don’t need to shove it in their face at every turn.
Just place reminders around your store, on your website, or email and text them to leave a review of your service.
(And if you’re nervous about getting too many poor reviews, you might need to audit your service so it’s providing maximum value.)
4. Maximizing Positive Reviews Can Pay Quick Dividends
Key Statistic: 90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business.
A quality review system within your review marketing plan helps maximize your positive reviews.
And data shows this can pay quick dividends.
Because 90% of consumers read just 10 reviews or less before trusting (or not trusting) a business.
In decision-making terms, this is an extremely short amount of time.
It’s also a testament to just how much consumers trust the information they gain from local business reviews.
You want to make sure as many of those 1-10 reviews are positive.
They maintain all of their trust with the market and serve your business in a beneficial way.
However, if your reviews are recent but negative, or if they’re outdated (whether positive or negative) they can suddenly become either irrelevant or detrimental to your business.
Review marketing involves actively seeking out new reviews from your customers, along with optimizing them for positivity.
As these trends continue and consumer reliance upon reviews increases further, a review marketing plan can become a valuable asset.
7. Improving Your Star Rating is Key
Key Statistic: 58% of consumers say the star rating of a business is most important.
87% of people also say a business needs a rating of 3-5 stars before they will use them.
Star ratings provide an overall ranking of your business based on the cumulative reviews of every customer.
It’s a quick and easy way for consumers to gauge the value of a business compared to its competitors and their other options.
For most consumers, a business must have a minimum of 3 or 4 stars before they will use them.
This should be your goal if you are at 2 stars or below.
4 Ways to Get More Online Reviews
Most businesses offer a good enough service to garner mostly positive reviews from their customers, clients, or patients.
The main issue is getting enough reviews for them to stay relevant, to increase their rankings on review websites, to gain more exposure, or to increase their overall star rating.
Here are a few ways to get more online reviews for your business:
1. Offer An Excellent Service
It goes without saying that offering a fantastic service to your customers will generate positive reviews from them.
But it will also attract more reviews because when people experience a service that blows them out of the water they feel compelled to write a glowing review.
(On the flip side, when they experience a service from hell, they also feel compelled to write a negative one.)
So offering an excellent service will net you positive reviews and more of them.
2. Ask For Reviews
As evident in the study, most people will leave reviews if you ask them to.
Many business owners simply need to get over the psychological hump of asking for a review after already “asking” for the sale.
If you’re providing a great service which provides more value than you receive from customers, you should feel 100% comfortable asking for 1 minute of their time to provide feedback on their experience.
Place reminders around your storefront/office, on your website, and send them an email or text.
You can also ask your social media followers to leave reviews.
Just make sure to spread it out so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
3. Engage With People Who Have Already Left Reviews
Most review sites allow you to comment or reply to individual reviews.
Use this opportunity to engage with these people, both the positive and negative reviews.
This shows people reading your reviews you care about people’s experiences.
This will increase the likelihood of them leaving a review (because they know you care about the feedback) and it will show people the service you provide is a top priority.
With positive reviews, simply say thank you for the review, address any concerns they might have brought up, and communicate you’re always working on improving your service.
With negative reviews, it’s usually best to acknowledge their concerns, say you will take action on them (only if you are actually going to), and thank them for their honest feedback.
4. Make It Dead Simple to Leave a Review
Many would-be reviewers are repelled from the activity because they see it as cumbersome and inconvenient.
Creating accounts, searching for the business again, and leaving the review sounds like a hassle which isn’t worth it.
However, if you make it as easy as possible to leave a review, and you let people know the process is simple, you will convert as many of these would-be reviewers as possible.
A clever review marketing funnel helps make this happen plus a fully optimized Google My Business listing. Here’s a checklist from Moon & Owl Marketing which can help.
Based on this data and the insights gathered, you know ramping up your Google business reviews is a smart move in 2018, but you need to get started.
We’ve gained a lot of experience in the review marketing field, and we can set up a review funnel to maximize your positive reviews in no time.
How Does Your Business Compare to Competitors on Review Sites?
Justin Herring is the Founder and Head of Digital Marketing at YEAH! Local. A boutique agency in Atlanta focused on results and ROI with SEO and Content Marketing for our clients. Recognized as an SEO Expert, Speaker, and Trainer.… View full profile ›