New research reveals a critical insight – the importance of reviews today for businesses has increased, not decreased. In an age where trust and authenticity are becoming more important, Google, Facebook, and other review sites have become increasingly influential in consumers’ purchasing decisions and now almost completely determine business intake. People trust honest feedback, and a negative review can have surprisingly brutal outcomes. With this perspective in mind, it’s time to reassess the value of 5-star reviews for small businesses.
In today’s digital age, businesses need to adapt to changing trends and understand how technology drives success. The man with the spinning sign is effective no more. The Internet is vast, and competition is fierce with over 3 billion online websites. Even if you believe your niche is unique and uncompetitive, several other people probably think the same thing – people with better reviews. In 2022, whether you currently have 5-star reviews or not, one thing is for certain – you’ll need more! Here’s why.
What’s more important? Reviews or ratings?
Ratings and reviews are often interchangeable, but they are not quite the same. Ratings are numerical scores given to businesses based on their performance. So, for example, if a business has a rating of 4.2/5, it’s a good indication that they are doing a good job and have a positive customer sentiment. On the other hand, reviews are where customers leave their written feedback. They are text-based and can be more in-depth and open to interpretation.
While the distinction between ratings and reviews might seem like splitting hairs, it’s important to know this difference when assessing your business’s online presence. Ratings are more objective and standardized. Therefore, anyone can look at a business’s average rating and come to a somewhat accurate measure of its quality.
On the other hand, reviews can be highly subjective and reflect individual experiences. However, the key point is – people trust reviews more than ratings. The 5-star review is the real in-betweener by being both a review and a rating. It’s stellar written feedback accompanied by a perfect numerical score.
Why are 5-star reviews so important?
It’s not just customer sentiment and brand reputations that are affected by reviews – a whopping 75% of consumers say reviews strongly influence their purchasing decisions. Online reviews are a great (and sometimes the only) way for consumers to understand your business better, particularly if you have a physical or service-based business.
If customers don’t get to know who you are and what you do, sales will be dead in the water, and you will be invisible! Zero visibility means zero sales. Reviews on your website can also help you rank higher in search results, as Google and other review sites consider these factors when determining your page rank. The higher you rank, the more targeted and motivated your traffic will be, so get those reviews! There’s no excuse for a review-free website.
It’s never been easier to collect good feedback today, with so many platforms allowing you to collect reviews from your customers seamlessly. Gathering and publishing customer reviews on your website or third-party platforms such as Facebook, Trustpilot, and Google My Business creates a more positive customer experience and strengthens customer loyalty.
How can small businesses get more 5 star reviews?
Ask, and you shall receive! Some review sites, like Google My Business, allow you to ask your customers to leave a review actively. While they do not guarantee a positive review, it’s a good way to start getting reviews from your happy customers. Try providing incentives. While you shouldn’t depend on reviews alone to promote your business, offering incentives for customers to leave feedback can greatly boost your overall rating and gain traction.
You can offer free products or services, discounts, or other goodies to encourage your customers to leave reviews. Not to mention, a sample of your services is often all it takes to create a repeat customer. Once you do collect reviews, you need to keep track of them.
Poor reviews can devastate your business, but they can also be a useful tool to help you improve your product or service. Keeping track of your reviews (both positive and negative) and responding appropriately and effectively can help you identify the areas where you will be able to improve your business.
The danger of bad reviews
Negative reviews can often be used as an opportunity to improve, but they can also damage your reputation and overall brand sentiment. The worst-case scenario is that your poor reviews will be accompanied by a low star rating – the complete opposite of a 5-star review – resulting in the worst thing for a small business – a bad reputation.
“That restaurant is not good, I found a hair in my food.”
“Those plumbers were mean to my mother.”
And so on. Some review sites will omit low-star reviews altogether, but others must publish them. A poor review and a low star rating can significantly hurt your brand. Negative reviews left behind by your customers can damage your business, and nowadays, we frequently see new businesses close down for this reason alone.
You might be tempted to think – “well, I’ve seen plenty of successful businesses with bad reviews.” Still, those entities are often larger businesses with an established client base and a larger volume of happy customers. 5-star reviews are more important for the small business owner. Reputation is truly everything when you’re just starting out.
So why is getting more 5-star reviews important in 2022?
To sum it all up, small businesses heavily rely on online reviews, but you should keep in mind that a high rating is not in itself an end goal. Rather, it’s an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and engagement with your customers. Reviews are important because they give potential customers insight into your product or service quality and enable them to make more informed purchasing decisions, especially early on.
If you want to see an increase in sales, you need to make sure that you’re building an online presence that attracts customers and provides great incentives for customer feedback. Having reviews on your website, social media pages, and other online platforms can help you attract more customers by boosting your credibility. Without reviews, you’re just another face in the crowd. Time to stand out!
Getting More 5-Star Reviews for Small Businesses has never been more important than it is today. Contact us online or call (561) 247-2776 today to find out how we can help your small business.