No surprise, but everyone knows that word-of-mouth marketing is the best source for new customers that a small business can acquire. If you haven’t started acquiring online business reviews from your customers you’re missing a huge opportunity to help your small business grow.
Why you’ll regret not soliciting online business reviews for your small business:
- 92% of consumers said they read product reviews online (source: smallbiztrends.com)
- Of those that read reviews, 46% were influenced to buy (source: ibid)
- 71% said reviews from family or friends exerted influence in their decision (source: Harris Interactive June 2010 via Bazaarvoice.com)
- For a small business, asking for reviews cost almost nothing
It’s clear online business reviews can have a significant effect on your business’ leads and growth. Online business reviews affect two important marketing elements:
- Human conversion: consumers are going to check you out online before they purchase, and the more expensive, the more risk there is in a purchase, the more research consumers will do before buying from you.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google uses reviews as part of its ranking algorithm. (source: searchengineland.com). In addition, as the web has gotten larger and more difficult to index in real-time, the search engines have had to adapt to other trusted sources to deliver relevant, timely results and what better source than online reviews and Facebook likes–the power of the crowd.
How do I get online business reviews?
Start by asking your customers for reviews online. Are you a retail store? A professional service? Print business cards that have shortened url’s to 3 review sites, for example, to your Google Places page, Yelp, and maybe Citysearch. Don’t forget to ask for a review on LinkedIn if you’re a professional service or a solo consultant. Hand your review business cards out to all your customers, ask them for the review. One caveat with Yelp, in spite of being one of the most popular local search sites on the web, the company has a heavy handed algorithm for reviews and if your customers are new to Yelp the review probably won’t show, so stick with Google and others. Finally, you might even consider an Ipad in the office that is used specifically for reviews. Bookmark your review sites in the Ipad and ask your best customers for a review before they leave.
Have you tried any other tactics for reviews? What has worked for you?