92% of Customers Read Online Reviews to Judge Local Business: How This Impacts Your Sales & Conversions
How many of you buy a product or hire a local cleaning agency, for example, online without checking their reviews or their star ratings? I am guessing the majority would answer with a big no. And that’s what BrightLocal's survey found out too. 92% of the people surveyed would always or occasionally read online reviews to evaluate a local business before they make a buying decision. Also, Dimension Search’s survey shared similar results where 90% of the folks said that positive online reviews influence their purchase decision. Online reviews, I quote Moz’s post here, are “insanely powerful” and have a huge impact on your business conversions. They certainly have the power to influence online business reputation. So, without any ado, let’s start this post. Here’s what the post will explore.
- How online reviews are influencing your customers,
- how they are using it to make their purchasing decision and
- How you should strategize your local marketing campaign to ensure your consumers are happy and leave more positive reviews.
Stats: Why customer reviews are important and do they really use them to evaluate a product or a local business?It is clear from BrightLocal’s survey that 92% of people read online reviews but do they really use them and if yes, then how? Customer reviews, good or bad, can make or break a company. Listening to what a customer says is crucial for any business since it helps improve your product or services. Online reviews impact your online reputation too, with people trusting a business based on good value, reliability and professionalism instead of expertise. Consumers read and use business reviews in a variety of ways as revealed by the survey. Things like quantity of star rating, reputation of the business, recency of the business review matters a lot.
Here are the stats:Star rating is the most sought after factor when it comes to evaluating a local business. The survey also discloses the fact that with time, consumers are taking less and less time evaluating a business. In the survey, 88% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before they formed any kind of opinion about a local business. Local business reviews are continuously getting more and more important. That means those businesses, which still ignore reviews, are also ignoring their potential customers.
How does “more star ratings” benefit your Local SEO strategy?I would open this with an interesting series of tests done by Casey Meraz. He tested the impact of the new 3 local snack pack and how would users react to the same. Interestingly, in the second test, people seemed to click on the local business listing with more reviews and star ratings than the one with none. Moz’s local search ranking factor study also suggests that online reviews contribute to 8.4% of the total. The data from these two clearly suggests how online reviews are dominating local search.
Here’s how online reviews benefit your local SEO efforts:Better local search ranking in Google’s local snack pack – There are literally hundreds of listing and review sites out there including Yelp, Superpages, TrustLink and what not. Apart from Google My Business listings for your business, Google considers third party sites as well. If you have great reviews in sites like Yelp, Trustlink, etc (doesn’t mean you start pushing fake reviews), Google might reward you with a visible ranking in the snack pack.
Improved ranking in organic Google listingIncrease in Click Through Rate – I am going to bring the study from Casey Meraz back again here. In all the three tests, apart from the organic listing, the local result with the most reviews and stars attracted more searchers. As a small business operating online, online reviews can help get the competitive edge. Now, we are going to put forward a few steps to get more quality customer reviews.
How to get more customer reviews without annoying themNow when you know the importance of online reviews for a business, it is time you start getting some good positive reviews. However, this is not an easy piece of cake as it seems. You would ask a customer, they leave a happy smile emoticon with a review and you become the greatest business.
1. First, be a great business.If you are good at what you do and if your customers are satisfied with you, they will for sure give their feedback if asked. However, you need to provide them a way to convey their feelings toward a product or your services. So, first off, finding review sites to list your business. There are plenty of the most common ones, including Google My Business and Yelp that apply to every business. Here are some great ones
- Angie's List
- Better Business Bureau
- Facebook business pages
- Google My Business