How Online Reviews Affect Small Businesses

Small Business Reviews

There are new trends emerging in the world of marketing every day. While online reviews have been around for quite some time it seems they've never been more important than they are at the moment. Studies have shown that about 90 percent of customers read at least one online review before buying a product. Not only that but the majority of customers claim they trust online reviews more than friend recommendations. With that said, it's obvious that every business out there can benefit from online reviews. But how exactly do online reviews affect your small business? Read on to find out.

Social proof helps you make sales

Modern customers often need social proof before they make a purchase. As long as there's someone else out there who believes that buying that specific product is a good idea, they'll be more likely to spend money. Even when it comes from a complete stranger, a recommendation can completely shape a customer's purchase decision. This is why it's extremely important to ask your customers to review your business on the web. If possible, ask them to include as many details as they can. Everything they write about your company can serve as social proof for other customers to opt for one of the products you offer.

Word of mouth is becoming outdated

Not so long ago, people used to make phone calls just to check where their friend bought that specific item they want. Nowadays, they prefer turning to the search engine and trying to find it themselves. On that journey, they often stumble upon and read online reviews. According to studies, the word of mouth is seeing a 2 percent drop every year and has already been replaced by online reviews.

If this trend continues, we can only expect the way internet reviews affect small businesses to increase even more in the future. Just like the word of mouth, celebrity endorsements are becoming less popular as people prefer reading to what actual customers have to say about the product.

Customers prefer buying from credible businesses

No matter what kind of business you're running, you can be assured customers in your industry prefer turning to companies that manage to label themselves as one of the biggest experts in the industry. This is exactly what online reviews can help you with as they show that your current customers are satisfied with your product. If you're still not convinced, just take a glance at these casino reviews and see how they helped companies in the games of chance industry take their reputations to the next level. Every new positive review they get allows them to market their businesses as some of the best options in the iGaming industry, thus growing their player base even more.

SEO has never been more important

If you've been paying attention lately, chances are you've heard a lot about SEO. Ranking well on search engines has become one of the best ways to separate your small business from competitors and attract as many new customers as you can. What you may not know about SEO is that it's heavily impacted by online reviews. When people review your company on the web, they create more opportunities for your website to grow through organic search, which is exactly what search engines value a lot.

Moreover, the micro-format of internet reviews suits search engines very well and we could easily see their role in SEO increase even more. Last but not least, you can expect customers who review your business online to use the same keywords you use for SEO which is always a huge plus.

Building strong customer relationships is a must

If you want your small business to grow, it's critical to build strong relationships with your customers. Nowadays, there are so many ways you can take your customer relationships to the next level. For example, you can post interesting content on social media and respond to the comments you get or you can just send personalized email to your customers.

However, another smart thing you can do is respond to online reviews you get. A simple "Thank you!" is guaranteed to make a customer feel valued and bond with your company even more. What's more, other customers who see your comments will also be likely to write their own reviews.

Final thoughts

The way companies in every sector promote themselves is changing at a rapid pace and while some more traditional marketing channels are losing popularity, online reviews seem to be more popular than ever. This is great news for small business owners such as yourself as it allows you to let your customers help you grow your companies and make more sales. Make sure they start positive conversations about you on the web and you can rest assured other people will follow.

Guest Author

Anna Stinson

Anna Stinson is a tech writer and researcher interested in startups, web development and business innovation. She is passionate about motivation, self-development and yoga. A recent hiking enthusiast, she enjoys exploring new trails and breathtaking views.

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