Harnessing the Power of Local Customer Reviews

harnessing-the-power-of-local-customer-reviewsLocal customer reviews wield immense influence over businesses. These reviews, whether on Google, Yelp, or social media, are more than just feedback; they can shape your online reputation and impact your bottom line. Therefore, it’s important to understand the significance of local customer reviews and learn strategies for harnessing their power:

Why Customer Reviews Matter for Local Businesses

Customer reviews are immensely impactful for potential buyers. In fact, 91% of all buyers will read online reviews as a way to evaluate the quality of a local business before visiting it or doing business with that brand. In fact, they will trust good reviews about as much as they would trust a verbal recommendation. The following are additional reasons that customer reviews for your local business matter more than you realize: 

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1. Trust and Credibility

Positive reviews build trust and credibility, attracting potential customers. As mentioned above, buyers want to know that others have been pleased with their purchase before giving a business a chance, as this builds trust and credibility. It’s like a personal recommendation or word of mouth was previously used to build a local business’s positive reputation in the community. 

2. Social Proof

Reviews serve as social proof, reassuring customers that your business is reliable. A business that does not practice good customer service or have a reputation for having good quality products will not have good social proof of that reputation through reviews. Many times, consumers will require reviews as this proof. In fact, in one study, it was discovered that customers prefer a business to have at least 40 online reviews before they believe a star rating or place any value in that rating. 

3. Improved Visibility

Positive reviews can significantly improve your local search rankings on platforms like Google, driving more local traffic to your business. This is because Google considers reviews a key factor in its ranking algorithm. When people search for businesses like yours, Google will show listings with higher ratings and more reviews higher in the search results. This is important because it can guide potential customers to your doorstep, even if they first find your brand online. Also, having recent reviews will help boost visibility online thanks to shares and social media likes and comments.

4. Customer Feedback

Reviews offer valuable feedback, helping you improve your offerings. When you read what customers are saying, you can take that and learn what you are doing well and perhaps even discover some ways that your brand can improve, from payment options to size preferences. This is valuable information, allowing you to hone in on what your ideal customer desires. Then, within reason, you can meet those requests and preferences. 

5. Local SEO

Positive reviews can also impact your local visibility through Google's Local Packs. Local Packs are the three listings that appear below the map in local search results. Businesses with more positive reviews and higher ratings are more likely to appear in Local Packs, which can give your business a significant boost in visibility.

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The Power of Local Customer Reviews

There are many ways in which local customer reviews can actually give you immense knowledge and a power boost for your brand. 

Increased Sales

High ratings and positive reviews lead to more customers and higher conversion rates. In fact, a Spiegel Research Center study found that products with a review present were 270% more likely to be purchased than a similar product without a review. In other words, reviews, especially local ones, help close the sale.

Competitive Advantage

A strong online reputation sets you apart in your competitive local market. This is important as your reputation can be what boosts you above your competitors even when you are offering similar products or services.

Feedback Loop

Reviews enable continuous improvement based on customer input. It’s important for you as a brand to know what your customers want regarding products or services or even preferred hours or payment options. The more you know, the better, and one good way to get this feedback is through reviews. 

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Online Reputation Management

Your online reputation is extraordinarily important. Thankfully, you have a say in how you're perceived online. To maximize the benefits of local customer reviews, consider these steps:

Monitor Reviews

Regularly check and respond to reviews on various platforms. It's important not to let reviews get backed up without a response from your brand. Responding helps you have a say in your own business’s reputation by getting your message out there in a professional manner. 

Encourage Reviews

Make it easy for satisfied customers to leave reviews through emails, links, or with incentives. It’s important for you to make the process of leaving a review as painless as possible in order to increase your chances of getting positive reviews. If leaving a review is too difficult, requiring accounts or demanding customers to enter too much information and the like, you can rest assured that most customers, especially those who were happy overall, will not leave a review.

Engage with Customers

Respond professionally and emphatically to both positive and negative feedback. A review lives on forever, so make sure that you respond to both positive and negative comments in a professional way. 

Stay Consistent

Maintain a routine for managing your online reputation. As a general rule, according to ReviewTrackers, 53% expect a response to a negative review within one week, with one in three surveyed noting an even tighter expected response of just three days. Therefore, it’s important to stay on top of reviews and know what is being said about your brand, products, and services at all times.

Harness the Power of Local Customer Reviews

By actively managing your online reputation and encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences, you can harness the power of local customer reviews to build trust, enhance visibility, and drive sales. Embrace your customers’ voices, and watch your business thrive. 

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