How Online Reviews Can Help Grow Your Small Business

May 17, 2016

Most business consultants understand that online reputation management is not a maybe, it’s a must. It’s a fact that online reviews have the power to increase your revenue. In this article, I’ll show you just how valuable reviews are for you regardless of your industry.

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1. Building Confidence in Your Brand

Because you run a small business, it’s likely that your brand is not as well known as larger brands such as Walmart or Subway. It really comes down to expectations; people already know what they can expect from Walmart or from Subway without reading online reviews. But when people do not know what to expect, they need to build confidence before parting with their hard-earned cash. Exposing potential customers to consistent online reviews that demonstrate your company is devoted to providing an amazing experience is a good way of building that confidence.

The more your product or services cost, the more likely it is that people will research you. What’s the point of spending thousands of dollars on advertising when a majority of those people will be too afraid to move forward with your company because of your bad reviews, or lack of good reviews? Good reviews not only build up your brand, but provide great value propositions. Simply put: More prospects will become clients if your reviews are positive. And more prospects will abandon their search if they cannot find reviews, or find reviews that are negative.

2. Lead Generation

Increasingly, consumers search for a company or professional by reading online reviews. Review aggregator sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Real Self provide wonderful leads because these review websites have become a great resource for those searching by review. Because their content is so deep and users return regularly, they also rank well on search.

People usually conduct their research close to making a purchase decision, so reviews often hit customers who are low in the buying funnel. This means that the people who read reviews before spending are more qualified leads because they are usually ready to spend. So, a good review is a real chance to win them over and quickly close a sale.

“Before working with an Online Reputation Management Company, our potential clients would cancel home estimates because of our reviews, a year later, we get new customers from our customers rave reviews.” – James Smith, President of American Air Conditioning and Heating.

Ranking well on search engines will always bring in business, but ranking first on Yelp and other review websites will also bring in lots of new leads for your business. On the flip side, reviews will also help with your own site ranking, as search engines also love reviews and backlinks.

3. Marketing Material

A common trend with social media and email marketing today is using customer reviews as content in a testimonial format. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to easily share a recent customer review. You want to display reviews in ways that support the path-to-purchase of visitors. Customer testimonials are usually shown in the following pages of most web-savvy companies:

  • Home Page
  • Service/Product Offering Page
  • Pricing Page
  • Checkout/Lead Capture

Let your good reviews do the marketing for you, that way you can focus on providing an amazing customer experience.

4. Accountability

Both good and bad reviews are useful in business growth. Although undesirable, bad reviews present an opportunity for growth by helping business owners identify areas of improvement. Be honest and ask yourself, do you listen to your customers who complain?If you’re not running your business with integrity, it’s going to show online.

Do you have tips do you have to maximize the use of customer reviews? And what do you think is the best way to respond to a legitimate bad review? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

about the author

CEO, Future Solutions Media Curtis Boyd is the CEO of Future Solutions Media, an Online Reputation Management company. Curtis helps small businesses owners with review management as well as public relations. Connect with Curtis on LinkedIn.