Getting reviews is one of the top pieces of marketing advice for business owners. Whether you’re gathering them on review sites like Yelp or Clutch, through social media platforms like Facebook, or on your own business website, you need reviews to improve your business.
By Birbahadur Singh Kathayat
Marketing experts from all around the world often vocally promote the importance of reviews for business. “Everyone you’ve ever met is just naturally inclined to seek the opinion of others before trying something new,” writes preeminent marketer Neil Patel in a recent article.
“On your own, you don’t know if that new ramen house down the street is any good, but your brother says he took a date there and had a great time,” he continues. “That carries weight in your decision making as a consumer.”
It makes a lot of sense. And yes, Neil Patel’s reviews for his blog posts, courses, podcasts and digital agency show that he practices what he preaches, gathering plenty of top-starred reviews. And you can do the same for your business.
If you still need a little more convincing, here are six reasons why you should focus on obtaining and promoting a growing trove of positive customer-penned reviews for your SMB.
1. People Read Reviews
In an age where attention spans are short and visibility is scarce, it’s vital to know that people really do read reviews. Some 30% of consumers have installed browser extensions to block your ads, and even more of them skim unseeingly past your social media posts. But they read your consumer reviews, the good ones and the bad ones, and they read your responses to reviews too.
Not only do customers read reviews, but they are also influenced by them. Nearly 20% of generation X-ers say they’ve bought products in the past six months based on recommendations in online reviews. Potential customers check ratings on Google or Yelp before making a decision about where to eat, who to turn to for help with their tax returns, and where to buy a new couch.
Don’t ignore reviews, because nobody else does.
2. Reviews Build Brand Trust
Only 48% of Americans trust businesses, but 35% of consumers say that brand trust is the most important factor when choosing where to shop. That could leave you in a bind when it comes to raising your brand trust – which is where reviews can come in handy.
Consumers trust online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations from family and friends, making them highly effective for building brand trust.
Reviews rank much more highly than marketing or branded posts when it comes to the ability to raise your brand image, serving as “social proof” that you follow through on your promises and reassuring undecided consumers that they can trust your business.
3. Reviews Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
Reviews can raise your website’s placement in the search engine rankings in more than one way, and that’s always a good thing.
Customer reviews help improve SEO by using published instances of the keywords that are most relevant to your products, services and primary business offering. What’s more, search engines prefer websites that add new content on a regular basis. Reviews help keep your content fresh and updated without you having to write a single word.
If you use the right “schema markup,” then when Google shows preview content from your site on the search results page, it can include an average star rating taken from your on-site reviews. This makes your search engine result more attractive to potential customers and increases the CTR, for qualified organic traffic to your site.
4. Reviews Provide Valuable Customer Interaction
Direct customer input and opinion are highly valuable, but it can also be highly scarce.
The good news is that user reviews bring customer feedback to your door. Reviews are a way to get guidance on what you’re doing right and discover where you could improve your business even further.
What’s more, when you respond to reviews, especially negative ones, you hold the stage. Customers genuinely want to read your perspective. It’s your grand opportunity to show how well you cope with complaints (or praise), to highlight your brand’s personality, and shine a spotlight on your great customer service, like your no-quibble returns policy.
5. Reviews Can Be a Source of User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is among the most desirable types of content out there, but it’s much harder to get than a simple blog post. However, customer reviews can turn into a valuable source of UGC.
You can turn your user reviews into testimonials embedded on your website, social media posts, videos, and more.
What’s more, reviews tend to give birth to more reviews. When people see a review posted, they’re a lot more likely to add their own review. And once someone has written a review, they are also more likely to return to your pages, to see if anyone responded to it or left another review that they can respond to.
6. Reviews Increase Traffic to Your Site
When customers write reviews on a review site, it tends to help drive more traffic to your own website. Generally, review sites include a link to your business site, so readers can go straight from a positive review on a platform like Google My Business directly to your website.
And many customers do; someone who’s looking for a great manicurist, for example, is likely to read assorted reviews, and then click straight through to visit the site of whoever got the best ratings.
If you see one brand with mediocre ratings and another with generally positive ones, whose website are you most likely to check out first?
Reviews Can Be the Lifeblood of Your Business
With so many potential customers reading and trusting reviews, it’s clear that they aren’t a good idea to ignore. Reviews play a key role in increasing site traffic, raising your search engine rankings and social proof, and delivering customer feedback and user-generated content.
Evidently, reviews can be extremely important for your business profile and bottom line. Focus on reviews in order to build your customer base and boost your profits even higher.
Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is the founder of Lbswebsoft, where he helps his clients to build powerful brands through content marketing, search engine optimization, website development and web design. He is a writer and author on Socialmediaweek, Semrush, e27 and other publications. You can follow him online at LinkedIn or Twitter