Are you wondering why online reviews matter and what effect they might be having on your business? You’re not alone!

Read on to find out why you need customer reviews, the best places to get them, and how you can use them to promote your local business.

Why Are Online Reviews Important for My Business?

Online reviews are important for many reasons, but the most important is that your customers willing to shell out 31% more money with a business that has earned great reviews. And the influence of online reviews is growing. If your business hasn’t started actively maintaining your online reputation, you’re behind the curve.

More relevant customer reviews stats from BrightLocal:

  • Only 48% of customers considered choosing a business with a 4-star rating or below.
  • In 2020, a whopping 93% of customers consulted online reviews making a decision to purchase
  • People reading reviews on desktop decreased to 57% in 2020, down from 66% in 2019
  • Mobile reviews searches increased again in 2020, with 60% of customers using their phone to find reviews
  • 31% of customers read more online reviews in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic

Can I Ask My Customers for Reviews?

While it’s frowned upon to incentivize positive reviews, you can and should ask your customers for their honest feedback! After all, 68% of customers will leave a review if they’re asked. And 72% of US consumers wrote a review for a local business in 2020 – a big jump from 66% in 2019.

Are Reviews Important for SEO?

Reviews definitely impact your search engine optimization. In other words, how highly Google ranks your website in search results. (Hint: you want to be #1). Cue another reason why reviews matter!

Search engines like Google take many factors into account when ranking your website in local search results, and their algorithms care about reviews more and more. Moz found that the number of reviews and review diversity can impact your local search ranking by 15.44% or more. Search engines want to see plenty of reviews, positive and negative. And reviews with substance will help your SEO more. While a 5-star rating is great, a 5-star rating with a list of detailed reasons WHY they love your business is better.

How Damaging Are Negative Reviews?

Negative reviews can certainly damage the online reputation of your business. But they can also be an opportunity to build trust, earn loyal customers, and establish yourself as a leader in stellar customer service.

First, the bad.

We know that, on average, 3.3 is the minimum star rating of business consumers say they’ll consider using. And only 13% of consumers will do business with you if you have a low 1 or 2-star rating. Ninety-four percent of customers say that reading a poor review online has persuaded them to avoid a business.

Want the really painful takeaway? Businesses like yours risk losing upwards of 22% of customers when just one negative review or article pops up in their internet search. If they see three negative opinions as they research your products, you could potentially be losing 59.2% of prospective customers.

Now, what could be good about a bad review?

Statistics don’t lie. Surprisingly, businesses with reviews that are 15-20% negative actually average 13% more revenue than businesses that have only 5-10% negative reviews.

A surprising 89% of customers will read your response to a review.

67% of B2B buyers want to see a mix of both positive and negative reviews when checking out a business. (G2 and Heinz Marketing) 95% of customers get suspicious of a rating if there are no negative reviews. (Reevoo)

What About “Fake” Reviews?

Studies reveal that one in seven TripAdvisor reviews may be fake. And as much as 61% of Amazon’s electronics reviews are suspected to be fake.

There are companies that will say they can generate hundreds of great reviews for your business. And they probably can. But will they be of good quality? Will they sound authentic? Will the language used vary enough to seem legit and will there be negative reviews to break up the positive and make your review history look believable? Probably not. Fake reviews are usually obvious.

If consumers are suspicious that you have paid for fake reviews, they’ll steer clear of your business. Proof: 51% of consumers won’t buy a product if they think it has fake reviews.

On the flip side, just as you can pay for positive reviews, you can also pay for negative reviews against your main competitors. These are often created by bots or generated by reviewers who are intentionally hired by the competition to tarnish your online reputation. This does happen, but Google and Yelp are cracking down on it! If you fear you’ve gotten fake reviews on Yelp, you can report it here. You can also manage Google reviews here. 

How Can I Use Reviews to Promote My Business?

Add Reviews to Your Website

Are you still questioning why online reviews matter? Reviews and testimonials convert.

For an easy, quick fix, you can have your website developer add a static review slider to your website that displays your best reviews. Or, dedicate a page on your website specifically to reviews and testimonials that you can share with customers via email or messenger. The Praise page of our website is a great example.

testimonials page of how to use reviews and testimonials on your website for better digital marketing and seo

You can also use a plugin to add a reviews slider to your site that showcases your best positive reviews, your most recent reviews, or your most relevant reviews based on popular search.

Here are some WordPress review plugins we like:

Instill Trust and Reassure Customers

Operating your business during a pandemic presents a whole new set of challenges AND opportunities. As if you need another reason why online reviews matter, 67% of consumers say they won’t choose your business if reviews say it hasn’t implemented Covid-19 health and safety measures. And 16% said they’ve left a negative review for a business that isn’t being safe during Covid-19. Your reviews can tell customers that you’re being safe, responsible, and considerate during the pandemic—and beyond.

Recruit Better Talent

High-caliber talent is attracted to companies that manage their online street cred. It could cost your business 10% more per hire if your business has a poor online reputation. This is just one more reason to pay attention to those online reviews. Especially on career-driven sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn.

Put Reviews on Social Media

Reviews and testimonials can be a powerful tool for creating social media posts that earn new customers. Share your best positive reviews or even a negative review that you remedied with awesome customer service. You can create a design or simply capture a screenshot for an authentic glimpse at customer satisfaction. Just make sure to ask permission if the exchange was via email or wasn’t public!

Use Reviews in Email Campaigns

Do you send a monthly newsletter or weekly sales promotions to your customer’s email? Tap into the power of online reviews by featuring recent positive opinions of your business in email campaigns! Or, gather broader statistics you can use in your digital marketing. While you can talk about how awesome your product is, it sounds better to say something concrete, like “89% of our customers are pleased with our products”.

Build Strong Ads with Reviews

Are you running social media ads or PPC ads? Feature your best reviews and testimonials in an ad campaign. We’ve gotten great results using this type of advertisement strategy!

Now that you know why online reviews matter, where to earn them, and how to use them…what are you waiting for? Online reviews will continue to be a huge source of influence with consumers. Get ahead of your digital marketing strategy now to ensure that you get as many 5-star reviews as possible! They could be what sets you apart from your largest competitor.

Learn more about How (and Where) to Get More Online Reviews in this article or reach out to us for help building your review strategy, improving SEO, or adding your reviews to your website and social!