If you don’t have an online reputation management program it is a problem, whether or not you have online reviews.
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.
If you do not have online reviews it is easier for your competitors to overtake you. Take a look at your top local competitors reviews online and remember that every marketing campaign takes time.If they already have more positive online reviews than you do, they are already a step ahead. If your competitors have no reviews online, that is a potential marketing weakness for you to benefit from.
More and 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. Plus, technology trends show that even non-Millennials are jumping on the smartphone bandwagon and online searches through smart phones and other mobile devices take only a few seconds versus asking around town.
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 have reviews that are not current (written within the past month) you are losing marketing ground.
Let’s look at some of the current marketing trends that focus on local online reviews. According to a 2015 study by Bright Local you can expect a lot of consumers to focus on online reviews. The top findings are that:
92% of consumers read online reviews in 2015 versus 88% in 2014
40% of consumers form an opinion by reading 1 to 3 reviews in 2015 versus 29% in 2014
How many stars your business is rated is the #1 factor used to judge your business
44% say that reviews must be within a month to be considered relevant
Only 13% of consumers considered a business that has a 2 star rating or less in 2015
68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more versus 72% in 2014
Consumers are becoming more concerned about fake reviews
How these trends work out for your business
Local reviews are the word of mouth online, 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.
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 a team member for a free consultation.