How online reviews affect small businesses, and what to do about it

Highlights

  • Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth
  • 94% of consumers will use a business with a four-star rating
  • 3 steps to improve online review scores

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This old idiom rings true for small businesses who face an evolving—yet strangely timeless—battle to attract and retain customers. Turns out, 85% of small businesses get customers from word of mouth, just like they always have, but those customer conversations have migrated online.

Consumers use sites like Yelp and Google to find local businesses

Today, online reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor are a dominant force. Consumers use these sites to make decisions about where to spend their money. Consider the following facts:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • 1 negative review can cost you 30 customers
  • 94% of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews
  • Star rating is the top factor consumers use to evaluate a business
  • 2 in 3 consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more

To summarize, your business will make more money by adding and keeping valuable customers if you can maintain a rating of four or five stars on key review sites. You can’t buy positive reviews, so you have to cultivate them.

3 steps to improve your star rating on key review sites

This might seem like a daunting task, but you can take three simple steps to get there:

  • Monitor review sites. Stay current on what customers are saying about your business.
  • Respond to reviews. Consumers appreciate online interactions with you, and they expect to have their concerns addressed and happy experiences acknowledged on review sites.
  • Hijack the review process. The best way to prevent bad reviews, and encourage good ones, is to give customers easy options for providing feedback to your business directly.

How much do online reviews impact revenue for small businesses?

To get a unique look at the impact of reviews on small business revenue, have a look at Womply’s benchmark study. Some highlights to whet your appetite:

Save time with reputation management software for small businesses

We know you don’t have time to monitor a bunch of websites, respond to every review, and keep up with all the other aspects of running your business. Womply’s reputation management solutions empower you to (1) get alerts when customers review your business, (2) respond quickly to reviews from all sites from a single place, and (3) measure and track your online reputation and compare it to other businesses.

We also know it’s hard to encourage customers to give you feedback directly. Womply allows customers to share feedback with you directly rather than going straight to Yelp, Facebook, or a similar online review site. You can head off bad reviews, generate more positive reviews, and build stronger connections with customers.

If you want to help maximize your efforts and save a lot of time, check out Womply’s marketing solutions for small businesses. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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