When was the last time you tried a new restaurant without a recommendation?
If you’re like me, it’s probably been a while.
Everyone you’ve ever met is just naturally inclined to seek the opinion of others before trying something new.
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.
That carries weight in your decision making as a consumer.
A staggering 97% of customers read online reviews before they buy. And almost half of those interviewed will only trust 4-stars or better.
So you should pay attention the quality of your business’s reviews.
The issue for you is that winning five-star reviews takes time.
To make matters worse, many businesses see social proof as being largely out of their control. Consumers “feel the way they feel” about your business, even if you do everything right.
But I don’t think we should accept that.
Everything you do as a business should be calculated and purposeful, so leaving such a vital element to chance is crazy.
There are methods that allow you to win more good reviews, faster, and with better results.
You just have to know where to look.
Where do you start? By knowing just how reviews work and how much they do impact your bottom line.
Here’s Why You Should Care
I’ve worked with business owners that didn’t care about online reviews, and it always bugged me.
You put so much money, sweat, and grit into something just to “not care” that someone says you can do better? No!
But even if you’re one of those that “doesn’t care,” there are data-driven conclusions that undeniably prove why reviews are important.
One of the best examples I’ve seen comes from a study published in the Wall Street Journal by some environmental researchers:
They were attempting to convince consumers to save money by using fans in the summer instead of air conditioning.
The most convincing argument? Social proof that their neighbors were already doing it.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There so much more to consider.
Invesp found that consumers will actually spend more if your business is well-reviewed:
What else in your business provides a 31% increase in revenue that you can do today?
You could probably fire someone, but that’s not adding revenue, it’s just cutting cost. And you’ll probably regret it.
My point is: you don’t have many other avenues to see a hike in spending like that for your business other than 5-star reviews.
Or you can think of it in the negative.
Bad reviews are hurting your business and affecting your online performance. That dip you’ve seen in earnings over the last few years might be tied to how poorly you’re being reviewed.
A single negative review from a user could immediately drop your sales anywhere from 5-8%.
I’m not sure about you, but there have been plenty of times when I don’t think I could afford a dip like that.
Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, a stall that big can severely dampen momentum and morale.
And what about your existing customers? Do they read reviews?
Positive rankings actually drive 18% higher loyalty and 21% higher purchase satisfaction from customers.
And when you’re spending 5 – 25 times more to win a new customer as opposed to retaining one, that 18% loyalty rate looks pretty good.
Plus higher satisfaction improves your odds of getting more positive reviews. That’s just simple math.
So at this point, I hope you’re convinced about the importance of online reviews. Because now we’re going to talk about how to make sure yours are in the top 1%.
Know Where to Position Yourself
There are plenty of reviewing sites on the web these days. But not all of them are created equal.
For example, Yellow Pages was the giant of directory listings in the last century.
But most people don’t look to them now as a trusted source when they’re researching an unknown business.
Focusing all of your efforts on an underserved source is just a waste of time.
You need to aim for reviews on the review sites that are going to convert. These sites should be well-known and make it easy to leave reviews.
So where do the most influential reviews occur?
In most cases, the Big 3 are Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
As you can see, these sites have a combined average just shy of 300 million visitors each month.
They’re also suitable for any business, which makes them one of the digital lifelines of many local businesses.
And while the statistics will always vary from business to business, a combined 83% of patrons of service-related industries relied on Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
If you’re not getting reviews on one of these sites, it’s most likely for one of two reasons. You’re either:
Not on the site at all.
Or you’ve made it difficult to find and review you.