As a business owner, you understand how important reviews are to your company’s growth. You want to know that you’ve done a good job, or how you can improve your service or product. We’re currently living in an age where most business is conducted online.
People look to search engines and social media to point them in the direction of the business they want to use for their specific needs, whether it be finding a restaurant for date night or selecting a roofing company to repair their home after a severe storm. Your customers are asking themselves, “How do I choose which company to use? There are so many. How do I know which one I can trust?”
You’ve used Google and other similar search engines. You’ve seen businesses listed on the front page of a search and even advertised on the map of the region, each with yellow stars indicating their average customer review. If you’ve ever wondered how these businesses garnered such a high search engine ranking, allow us to show you how your client reviews can help your company grow its online visibility.
Reviews Are the New Word-of-Mouth
In the good old days, if you needed to find a roofer to repair your home after a typical Texas summer shower, you’d ask around. You would talk to your neighbors, maybe open a phone book, or, be depending on the size of your community, already know the reputation of a couple of businesses.
While this is still a viable referral method, more often the way new business is generated is through Google searches. As soon as you hit “search,” you’ll see the most popular websites and companies for that need listed on the front page.
Your eye is immediately drawn to the small map image, dotted with red indicators, listing businesses underneath, each followed with stars representing their average customer review. Without even realizing it, you’re gauging the merits of each of these businesses, just on those yellow stars.
That’s pretty significant advertising, right?
Studies have shown that online customer reviews are valued as important as word-of-mouth referrals. These reviews are coming from multiple sources around the web, too, such as Yelp, Facebook, Yellow Pages, and even straight from Google. This is how new business is generated, leads are created, and referrals are made.
Reviews Build Trust and Authority
If a couple of good reviews is good for your business then lots of reviews are even better, right? The more good reviews your company receives, the more you’re viewed as an expert in your field. On reviews alone, a potential customer is going to see you as trustworthy. They’ll think, “If 150 people already used this company and had a great experience, I bet they’re a great business to work with.”
Your potential customers, in essence, see less risk in working with your business and are more likely to choose you.
Reviews Work Like Fresh Content
Look at Google like a modern-day hipster in a grocery store. He wants to eat only the freshest ingredients and will pass over things that look old.
If you want to stay in Google’s good graces, you need to have a regular flow of new content to your page.
While blog posts are certainly important for keeping current, customer reviews read the same way to search engines. In addition to marketing your business, your customer’s reviews are increasing and maintaining your website’s online visibility. These reviews are actually pushing your business forward.
Reviews and Listings Combined Give a Bigger Digital Footprint
Picture yourself in a convenience store. You’re looking at the soda section, about to pick a drink. While you see a wide variety of choices, many of the sodas obviously come from the same company. One of the best ways a business can increase their sales is by pushing out their competitors.
Let’s revisit your customer reviews coming from multiple sources. You have a Facebook page, a Yelp listing and you’re mentioned on a few local directories. All of these serve as links back to your website. It’s telling Google, “I’m important. I’m growing. My business is popular.” And, like fresh content, Google is going to value these links and rank your business higher in search results.
This is the online version of pushing out your competitors and taking up space. It’s all about web presence and visibility, and this is yet another way your customer reviews are so important.
You already knew your customers were important to your business. Your customers are your business. Hopefully, you now understand how vital their reviews are and how to harness them into business growth.
So, what do you do next?
Establish a system for harnessing your customer reviews and referrals. Give your clients an easy way to say all of those good things about your products and services, and then make sure they’re posted on the right sites.
Remember to keep it straightforward and painless. Send a postcard or e-mail encouraging them to visit the major review generators for Google, like Facebook, Google, Yellow Pages and HomeAdvisor. Not everyone will take the time to leave a review, but some will and your web presence will grow as a result.
Dig Deep Marketing is here to help you gather and manage your customer reviews. If you’re interested in learning more about the services we can offer your business, especially regarding Google citations, we offer local directory listing service and review management systems to help you boost your local online presence and reputation.