Imagine if you could attach a customer “badge of approval” to your business. By seeing that badge, prospective buyers would know right away that spending money with you is a great bet. That kind of social proof can be a game-changer for a small business.
In essence, your business’s online review rating is that badge of approval. A funny thing happens to businesses when they hit the 4-star rating level. Suddenly, 94% of the customers who research the business on review sites like Yelp or Google My Business are willing to visit. Drop the rating by even a half star and nearly half of those same consumers wouldn’t visit.
Today we’re taking a closer look at the impact a 4-star rating has on a small, local business, and how local business owners can use their online reputation to attract more new customers.
Increase confidence in your business by improving your online reputation
Today’s consumers are a little more complex than they used to be. They take more time to research and validate businesses before they make a purchase. Why? To put it simply, they’re trying to be confident they’ll get what they want before they visit the shop.
The need for validation isn’t new. Before the mobile Internet, consumers used catalogs, professional endorsements, and most commonly, word-of-mouth recommendations to inform their purchasing decisions. Today, word of mouth has moved online, and the consumer shopping journey begins on sites like Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook.
Maintaining a 4-star vastly increases consumer confidence, especially for first-time customers. In fact, if you run a small, local business, the most important thing you can do to attract more customers is maintain at least a 4-star rating on key review sites.
How to make your online business reputation twinkle
Maybe you’re behind and haven’t really embraced online review sites, or maybe you don’t have many reviews or your rating is lower than you’d like. The good news is that these problems all have a common solution: getting more reviews, consistently.
While there are no quick fixes when it comes to improving a business’s online reputation—and there are serious repercussions for businesses that tamper with or manipulate their reviews—improving your online reputation can happen faster than most people expect.
The majority of consumers only read about 6 reviews before coming to a decision about the business. More still, 77% of consumers consider reviews that are older than 3 months to be out of date and irrelevant. To put it another way, it doesn’t take many new, positive reviews to improve consumer confidence in your business. If you can encourage your best customers to post honest reviews about their experience, your online rating can improve very quickly, especially if your only reviews come from a handful of detractors.
Of course, this cuts both ways. A few positive reviews can vastly improve your rating and consumer confidence, but a few negative ones can really hurt, as well. That’s why it’s critical to monitor and manage your online business reputation consistently.
Pro tip: How you go about getting reviews for your business will depend heavily on the type of business you have and the systems you have in place. That said, don’t overthink it.
You could put up a poster or sticker at checkout reminding customers to leave a review. If you’re able to send new customers an email, ask them to leave a review. Seven in 10 of your customers will leave a review if you just ask for one.
Maintaining 4-star rating is the key to attracting more customers. With Womply’s reputation management solutions, you can take control of your online business reputation and increase first-time visits. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!