Many local companies focus most of their marketing efforts on SEO, content creation, social media management, and advertising. One thing that often gets left behind is reviews. Whether through Google, Bing, or Yelp, online reviews can be invaluable for local businesses. Even just a handful of good online reviews can mean free exposure, traffic, credibility, and conversion. In the past few years, they’ve become even more relevant.
The Importance of Testimonials for Local Businesses
Companies that have higher than a 4.0 average rating are more likely to convert than any other. This is primarily because most new customers consult some form of online reviews (primarily Google) before moving forward with a purchase. People place nearly the same amount of trust in these reviews as they would with a recommendation from a friend or family member. Besides having a higher likelihood of conversion, these companies with high reviews will also be ranked higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and prioritized on the Google Map Pack.
Let’s talk about negative reviews. I’m sorry that customers are likelier to leave a bad review than a good one. You might think nothing good can come from a bad review, but that’s not necessarily true. Negative reviews allow you to open a dialogue with an unsatisfied customer, address the problem, and make amendments.
Responding to a negative review will show customers that you value their opinions, and everyone who leaves a review (good or bad) will also see that. Disgruntled customers will appreciate you reaching out, and sometimes, they will even remove their bad reviews. Many prospective customers will specifically seek out negative reviews, so seeing that you take them seriously and address your customers’ concerns can give them the encouragement they need to purchase your product.
Negative reviews aren’t just good for making amends with certain customers and can be a great learning experience. Your company can take these criticisms and ensure the problem won’t happen again. That will be better for everyone.
The Perfect Example
Look at the Google My Business (GMB) page for an Albuquerque, New Mexico, dentist’s office. They’re doing pretty well, with an average of 4.9 stars for 81 reviews. Even better, they’re responding to nearly every good and bad review. A first-time patient might see this and decide to contact them. Because the reviews are on GMB, potential customers can easily click a button that takes them to their website’s homepage and get information about their phone number, hours, and address.
How To Get Testimonials
Some companies might feel awkward about asking their customers for reviews. If you’re trying to get more reviews, don’t be shy! Most people will leave a review if they’re asked (nicely.) If you’re uncomfortable asking them face to face, you could send requests through your weekly or monthly newsletter, post about it on your social media profiles, or leave a friendly sign in your store.
Although this isn’t always the case, many local businesses are on a more restrictive marketing budget, at least compared to major corporations. They won’t need a marketing team to manage it themselves; anyone from a part-time employee to an owner can manage the reviews. No matter how many good reviews a local business has, it will give them a fair opportunity to compete with other businesses. And if their reviews reflect the efficiency and quality of their company, it will be well-deserved.
Author Bio – Elena Goodson
I am a social media manager and content creator at New Dimension Marketing and Research.
Outside of work, I am a stand-up comedian and run my website, Slow Boat Library. I speak five languages (English, French, German, Italian, and Arabic) and studied marketing, communications, and journalism in more than six countries in Europe and the Middle East.