A lot of local companies put the majority of their marketing efforts towards SEO, content creation, social media management, and advertising. One thing that often gets left behind is reviews. Whether it be 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.
Companies who 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. In fact, people place nearly the same amount of trust in these reviews than 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 up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and prioritized on the Google Map Pack.
Let’s talk about negative reviews. I’m sorry to say that customers are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one. Now you might think that nothing good can come out of a bad review, but that’s not necessarily the case. Negative reviews give you the opportunity to open a dialogue with an unsatisfied customer, address the problem, and make amendments.
Responding to a negative review will also show customers that you value their opinions and every other person that leaves a review (whether good or bad) will see that as well. Disgruntled customers will appreciate you reaching out and, sometimes, they will even remove their bad reviews. A lot of 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 finally purchase your product.
Negative reviews aren’t just good for making amends with certain customers, they can also be a great learning experience. Your company can take these criticisms and ensure that the problem won’t happen again. That will be better for everyone.
The Perfect Example
Take a look at the Google My Business (GMB) page for a dentist office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With an average of 4.9 stars for 81 reviews, they’re doing pretty well. What’s even better is that they’re responding to nearly every review, both good and bad. A first-time patient might see this and decide to contact them. Because the reviews are on GMB, that potential customers can easily click a button that takes them to their website’s homepage and easily get information for 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! The majority of people will leave a review if they’re asked (nicely.) If you’re uncomfortable with asking them face to face, you could even just send requests out through your weekly or monthly newsletter, post about it on your social media profiles, or just leave a friendly sign in your store.
Although this isn’t always the case, a lot of 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 are reflective of the actual efficiency and quality of their company, it will be well-deserved.
I am a social media manager and content creator at New Dimension Marketing and Research.
Outside of work, I also am a stand-up comedian and run my own 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.