If you’re a local business owner, you understand all too well how important word of mouth is for business. These days, people don’t like to do business with shops, restaurants, or service businesses without first checking out the social proof from other people who have spent time in the business. For example, before someone finds US local restaurants to visit, they will first read the reviews that others in the community have left for it. The same is true for service businesses of all types, including hair salons, plumbers, accountants, doctors, and every other type of business where the owners perform a service for customers. And retail stores are no exception—most people want to make sure the shop carries great products and has good customer service before stepping foot in the door.
And where do people get all of this information? By reading local reviews left by other people who have visited the business on local business directories.
What’s the Big Deal About Local Reviews?
At first glance, it’s easy to overlook the benefits of online reviews because many retail business owners don’t yet understand the huge role they play in consumer decisions. Just to emphasize the role online reviews play in a customer’s decision to visit a store, here are some startling statistics you should know.
- The majority of people—84 percent to be exact—place more trust in online reviews than they do a recommendation from a friend or family member. Just think about that. It’s a huge revelation, and that fact alone should make you want to get as many positive online reviews as you can.
- Two-thirds of those people surveyed say that when they read positive reviews about a local business, it makes them trust that business. This means people take what others have to say about a local business seriously.
- When your local business listing includes enough positive reviews, Google will sit up and take notice. The search engine spiders like to showcase local businesses with positive reviews, and they reward them by giving them higher search engine rankings. On the other hand, if your local business listing has a lot of negative reviews, the large search engines may not rank your local listing at all—or put you on pages so far back that no one will see it.
- Almost all of the people surveyed, 90 percent, say that they want to read at least 10 local reviews before making a decision about whether or not to visit a shop or restaurant. That means you’ll need to be proactive in asking customers to leave them on your local business directory listing.
- A shocking 87 percent of the people asked say that they would not consider doing business with a shop or restaurant that has negative reviews on their local business listings. If you have some negative reviews, you’ll need to do some juggling to ensure that the good reviews outweigh the bad. Better yet, strive to have the business insight to be so good and customer oriented that no one ever leaves a bad review for your business.
- At this point, you may be panicking because you can’t figure out how you will ever get enough online reviews to make a difference, but the good news is that it’s easier than you think. In fact, in the same study we talked about earlier, 7 out of 10 customers say that if a local business owner asked them to leave an online review, they would do it. That means if you make it a habit to consistently ask your customers to go to your local business listing and leave an online review, they will. So if you ask every customer at the checkout counter to leave a review for your business, you’ll soon have enough good reviews to drive new business to your store.
As you can see, online reviews are an integral part of your local business, but you will have to work hard to get them. Luckily, there are steps you can take to add them quickly to your local business listing on your local business directory. If you don’t already have one in place, head on over to FindUsLocal.com, one of the best local business directories on the web.