Think of the last time you tried out a new restaurant or discovered an online clothing site. Before you made your final decision on where to go/what to buy, you probably checked out the reviews.
As a consumer, this is a natural thing to do to better understand what kind of experience you’ll have. Reviews pretty much tell you if a certain brand or product is really worth the fuss.
But, did you know there are ways to leverage local business reviews on the other end of things? If you’re a business owner, you need to understand how reviews and ratings can work to help or hinder your success.
This goes much deeper than a good review or a bad review. The following are some of the benefits you can get from reviews and a few ways to generate more reviews.
The Benefits of Local Business Reviews
A good review can boost business and a bad review can turn potential customers away. This truth is common knowledge, regardless of the industry you’re in.
Here are some things you may not know local business reviews can do, though.
Build Customer Trust
Sometimes, deciding what business to choose is not as simple as comparing a good review of one option versus a bad review of another. Detailed reviews help consumers make purchase decisions when comparing two options that both have good feedback.
Let’s say someone is buying a new laptop, for example.
Apple and Microsoft are two well-known industry leaders. Each company has its own set of pros and cons, but a potential buyer may not have the money (or patience) to buy one computer from each provider. In order to get a good comparison, they’ll read many reviews for both companies before making their choice.
People do this for big investments as well as for everyday needs. If someone needs a new dry cleaner, wants to check out a new bar, or they heard of a new coffee shop that just opened, chances are, they’re going to check the reviews before actually checking out the services or products for themselves.
Create User-Generated Content
A review is a form of user-generated content. It’s considered organic, non-biased material, but it still plays into your overall content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is the art of creating consistent, relevant copywriting and visuals for users to enjoy. When you have a large amount of content out there, you have better chances of getting a user’s attention. Reviews build those chances even more.
This kind of content is picked up by search bots as they crawl the things you publish. If you get a lot of bad reviews, though, you may end up with weaker search rankings than you had before.
Improve Search Ranking Performance
Just as bad reviews can hurt your search performance, good reviews can improve it. This isn’t just because of the amount of content your business has on the internet.
Positive local business reviews boost your search performance because they start to create authority. As more and more people give positive feedback on platforms like Facebook, Google, and Yelp, the technology behind these search engines recognizes you as an industry leader.
They’re more likely to trust you over a business that doesn’t have as many reviews, or that isn’t as well-established as you are.
How to Get the Most of Your Reviews
What if you have mostly positive business ratings, but you’re interested in creating the authority mentioned above by getting more reviews? Simple – you have to encourage users to write about their experiences.
Below are three ways you can get more people to review your company.
1. Be Complaint-Friendly
Sometimes, users don’t write reviews because they don’t want to be “that person.” They’d rather not nitpick or come off overly critical. This is especially the case if they do enjoy your business, but they just have one or two suggestions.
Yes, there are others who jump at the chance to write a bad review since people remember negative experiences more than they remember positive ones. But, those average experiences are opportunities you’re missing out on!
Be complaint-friendly and watch how many more reviews you get. Plus, pay attention to what people say. Not only is this an opportunity to boost the number of local business reviews you get, but it’s a chance to notice where your business can improve.
2. Create a Course of Action
For those who do have something particularly negative to say, come up with an appropriate response. Designate a point person to handle underwhelmed consumers.
Their job should be to respond to negative reviews across all platforms and find ways to turn things around. Some consumers may appreciate a response and a discount for a future transaction, while others will ask for refunds or a free item in order to give your business another chance.
Note, although every problem is worth acknowledging, not every single unhappy customer deserves a refund. Think of your overall business model and how much you can afford to write off before you start giving things away left and right, and find ways to verify negative experiences, too.
3. DO NOT Offer Review Incentives
Last but not least, do not offer incentives for review you get. Most review sites have a policy against this and in fact in some cases this can be against the law. However, it OK to ask happy customers if they would mind leaving a review.
More SEO Tips and Tricks
Local business reviews can do more than most people think, it’s just a matter of researching how they affect SEO and using them to your advantage. Keep in mind, this is just one of many search tools!
There are all kinds of digital opportunities out there to make your online presence even stronger than what it already is. For more tips and tricks, contact us today to take your search strategy to the next level.