Positive Online Customer Reviews are Key for Small Business Success

It seems like everyone is online these days. People shop on their phones, do product research, ask questions and post reviews regarding their purchases and services experiences. Businesses now get remarkable business exposure online—both good and bad, depending on the performance of their products and services. According to several studies, between 69% and 90% of purchasing decisions are influenced by customer online reviews. Many people say they trust reviews more than advertising.

Why are Online Business Reviews Really a Big Deal?

Because:

  • They help shape a company’s brand reputation. As Chris Anderson has humorously said, “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.”
  • Reviews are basically a dialogue about the pros and cons of a company’s performance. By engaging in the conversation, companies can understand and repair any problems and can highlight the positives.
  • They provide helpful feedback for each business. Reviews provide information to help gauge each company’s performance so owners can see how to improve. They provide insights on service and product appeal as well.

Consumers use reviews as a sort of a “report card” on each company.

How to Get Positive Online Business Reviews

It may be obvious, but the best way to get good reviews is to provide the best products and the best service possible—consistently.

  • Select the review sites that you want to actively use then set up your profile and claim ownership.
  • Ask openly for honest feedback—positive and negative. Then, don’t treat the compliments or complaints lightly. Ask in different ways, including face-to-face requests, texts, phone calls, social media requests, and your company website. If you don’t ask enough, you may not get the feedback that you need.
  • Be specific when you ask. “I’d like you to give me feedback about my (insert product or service here) so that we can improve what we offer. We really appreciate your insights.”
  • Respond to negative reviews.
  • Always express a sincere thank you.
  • Use the feedback to assess your business offering and then make any necessary changes in order to improve.

What Business Review Sites Should You Use?

Here are the top 8 business customer online review sites. Simply pick the ones that are most relevant to your industry. And, select only the ones that you can actively monitor and respond to:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • Yelp
  • Trip Advisor
  • Yellow Pages
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Manta

Some Key Mistakes to Avoid

As you actively manage your customer online reviews, avoid these mistakes:

  • Not responding to negative reviews
  • Focusing on the wrong review websites
  • Buying reviews
  • Not leveraging reviews in all your marketing materials and media

Seek Professional Marketing Assistance

When you are tackling tough marketing challenges, including reputation management and reviews, contact VisionPATH Marketing. With more than 15 years of experience working with small businesses, we have developed powerful marketing strategies and the tools to help you succeed.