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Why Your Small Business Needs Online Reviews

What you say about your brand matters, but what others say about your brand can have an even greater impact. A positive online reputation is essential for earning trust with customers, impacting buying decisions, and driving conversions. There are a number of benefits for making online reviews an important piece of any marketing strategy, but here are a few of the most significant.

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Increase your visibility

Your online reviews affect your website’s ranking in search engine results. If you’re needing an organic SEO boost, accumulating positive reviews is an area that’s worth spending time on—especially if you have a brick-and-mortar business. But even if your business is entirely online, reviews are still important for SEO. Favorable reviews help your website rank higher in search results, which means there’s a better likelihood of your future customers finding you. These customers are also more likely to view you as an authority in your industry when you land among the top search results. It takes time to build SEO, but positive reviews are one piece of the puzzle that can help get you there.

Provide social proof & influence customer decisions

We’re living in a time where social proof is an expected part of the buyer’s journey. People expect to be able to read reviews, see ratings, and browse testimonials before spending their hard-earned money. Customers actually trust reviews 12x more than they trust a seller’s description. And for 93% of consumers, the content of those reviews can make or break their purchase decision. When buyers see positive reviews from your happy customers, they gain interest and have more confidence that purchasing from you would make their lives better too.

Make you seem more credible, trustworthy, & transparent

Earning trust is a key part of attracting and retaining your best customers. One way this can be done is by gathering positive reviews, especially because 90% of consumers need to read 10 or fewer reviews before they trust a business. Seeing positive remarks coming directly from past buyers legitimizes your company and gives assurance to those who are new to your brand.

But it doesn’t only matter what customers are saying about your business. It also matters how you’re responding to them. Customers pay attention to the way your business reacts to reviews, both positive and negative. Responding to reviews with care makes your brand appear more honest and transparent, which increases the chance that someone will want to do business with you.

Help you spot places for improvement

The feedback from reviews can help you better understand your customers’ expectations and where you might be falling short of them. While we all hope for positive ratings, a negative review is still important to pay attention to. Negative comments can expose weaknesses in your products or customer experience and give you insight into how to make improvements. Plus, when you respond with humility to a negative review, you may have a chance to both make amends with a lost customer and win over future customers who see your willingness to go above and beyond.

Help you identify brand advocates

Positive reviews give you a chance to uncover your brand’s strengths and the mega fans who value them. The everyday customers who express appreciation for your brand are among your best marketing assets. Brand advocates have impact because they’re relatable and believable. And word-of-mouth marketing is highly effective. In fact, advocates are 2-3x more effective than non-advocates at swaying others to make a purchase. When you identify who your advocates are, you have an opportunity to build a relationship with them that can be a win-win for both sides.

Reviews are a crucial part of any brand’s online presence. Have you spent time accumulating reviews for your business lately? If not, your online reputation may be something to prioritize in your marketing strategy this year.

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