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If you don’t have an online reputation management program, you have a problem.  If you don’t have online reviews, then the problem is even worse.

Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why not obtaining local reviews as a local business is a problem, what kind of marketing data trends back it up, and easy solutions that are available for your local business to be ahead of the online marketing game.

The Problems

  1. If you don’t have online reviews, it’s easier for your competitors to overtake you. Take a look at your top local competitors reviews and remember that every marketing campaign takes time.  If they already have more positive reviews than you, they’re already a step ahead. If your competitors have no reviews online, that is a potential marketing weakness for you to exploit.
  2. More people every day look for online reviews when making buying decisions. If you don’t have any, you are missing out on potential customers. More people than ever before trust online reviews, treating them as they have treated word-of-mouth marketing in the past. Technology trends show that even non-Millennials are using smartphones and other mobile devices to search for reviews.
  3. If you do have online reviews, how you manage them matters. When you have 3 stars or less, a lot of online leads will skip your business and move on to a competitor. If you only have reviews that are not current (written within the past month) you are losing marketing ground.

Bright Local’s Study

Let’s look at some of the current marketing trends that focus on local online reviews. According to a study by Bright Local you can expect a lot of consumers to focus on online reviews. The top findings are that:

  1. 97% of consumers read online reviews in 2017, with 12% looking online for a local business every day.
  2. 85% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  3. Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before deciding to trust a business in 2017.
  4. How a business responds to reviews is more important than ever.  30% name it as a key factor in determining whether or not they trust a business.
  5. How many stars your business is rated is the #1 factor used to judge your business.  49% of consumers say they will not go to any business rated less than 4 stars.
  6. 44% say reviews must be within a month to be considered relevant.
  7. Only 13% of consumers considered a business that has a 2 star rating or less.
  8. 32% of customers read online reviews on mobile apps in 2017 (a growth from 14% the previous year).
  9. Consumers are becoming more concerned about fake reviews.  79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year, but 84% say they can’t always spot them.
  10. People are now more likely to directly contact a business by phone or e-mail after reading a review then they are to go to the website first.

How these trends work out for your business

Local reviews are the word-of-mouth marketing in the internet age, plain and simple. If you are not up to date with your local reviews, you are missing out. Moz (an SEO analytic company) has found local reviews to amount to 8.4% of online ranking factors and other research suggests it may account for as much as 10%.  While 10% may seem little, our most popular online reputation management program can take as little as 5-10 minutes to manage per month and is successful in getting customers to leave reviews as high as 30% of the time (compared to 2-3% for normal requests for reviews). That’s a huge improvement for such a low time commitment. Other factors that help rank include on site search engine optimization, business directory citation management, content engagement, social signals, and link authority.

In Summary

Online reputation management’s key to success for local businesses is local reviews on business directories. The more ongoing reviews left by active customers, the better it is for ranking.  It helps to convince online searchers to use your business over your competitors. This should be one of the core pieces of your marketing program. For more information on what you should include in your online marketing, visit our blog page, or contact us for a free consultation.



Atlas Internet Marketing originally published this article using data gathered in late 2016.  We updated it to reflect new market research performed in late 2018.