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Unlocking the Power of Online Reviews for Your Small Business

| Flourish Monthly

Welcome to the ultimate guide for small business owners navigating the world of online reviews! With each review, you have the opportunity to connect with your audience, showcase your strengths, and shape your brand’s narrative. Reviews can even improve your ranking, which means they’ll help people find you easier when they search “realtors near me!” People increasingly want to work with companies who are authentic, and reviews provide the credibility we’re all looking for. So, let’s dive in and harness the power of reviews to propel your business to new heights!


Online reviews are an unavoidable part of doing business online. Yet, very few small business owners deliberately ask for them. They’re not just there for show - they can make or break your business. Here’s why reviews are a big deal:

  1. Reviews Add Trust Factor: We’re sure you know people tend to trust reviews more than ads. According to Podium, 81% of consumers overall rely on Google reviews to evaluate local businesses.
  2. Reviews Add Hiring Power: If you’re looking to hire employees, you should definitely pay attention to your reviews! Research on Glassdoor indicates that 86% of job seekers research reviews on a business to help determine whether they will apply for a job.
  3. Reviews Boost your SEO: Good Search Engine Optimization (or how easy it is to find your website in a search) is especially crucial for small businesses. Google factors in customer reviews, both positive and negative, when ranking your site. This means your reviews can help place your company in a higher search result position. The algorithm is looking for star ratings for sure, but also for the number of reviews, how recent they are, whether you (the business owner) have replied to the review, and the presence of keywords.

 

Where Should I Get Reviews?

Encourage your customers to leave a review on any platform they use. If your customer is on Facebook, for example, their friends and family likely are as well. Some industries also have well-used review sites. However, Google reviews tend to be the most powerful because that’s where most people start. There definitely is a benefit in overall ranking for having reviews throughout multiple channels, but if you’re just beginning your strategy we recommend starting with Google and building from there.

 

How Do I Get My Customers to Review Me?

  1. Google My Business (GMB): Make sure you have “claimed” and set up your Google My Business profile. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, chances are Google has noticed and set up a bare-bones profile for you. Search for your business first to see if it’s there, and if it is, claim it. If not, you can create a profile for yourself. By managing your GMB profile (and keeping it up-to-date), you can help your business appear when someone searches your company’s name. And if your business appears, so do the reviews!
  2. Strike While the Iron’s Hot: When a customer’s feeling good about their experience, ask for a review. Don’t wait! Ask quickly so that the information and good feelings are fresh in their mind. You can ask in-person, via email, or in any other interaction you regularly have with clients, like an invoice or feedback form.
  3. Give Them a Nudge: While you don’t want to tell people what they should say when they write a review, you can ask if they will talk about the specific product or service they got from you and what they liked about it. Not only will this make it easier for them to write the review, but the keywords will help Google learn more about your business!
  4. Make it Easy: Provide links and/or QR codes pointing to your review sites so people don’t have to search for you. The easier it is to write a review, the more likely they are to do it!

 

What If I Get a Bad Review?

Your response to a negative review can change how customers view your business. Make sure you respond to every review, whether it’s positive or negative. Be professional and make sure the customer knows you value their feedback. Google is less likely to count a negative review “against” you if you respond well. Also, don’t worry about having slightly less than 5 stars! Google recognizes the authenticity that comes with positive reviews that have a few negative ones mixed in. The key is how you respond, that you do respond to negative reviews, and what steps you take to correct the situation.

Of course, if the review is fake or incorrect, you can report it. Definitely still respond with “we haven’t done business together” or “this person is a former employee” or whatever is appropriate, then report it to Google. You may or may not have success with this, but it’s worth a shot. Bottom line: the only foolproof way to mitigate a bad review is by getting more good ones, so make sure you’re encouraging people who had great experiences to write great reviews!

 

Remember this: positive or negative, your customers’ voices are your greatest asset. Embrace their feedback, respond with grace, and use it to propel your business forward. By prioritizing reviews, you’re not only building trust with your audience but also setting yourself up for success in the competitive online marketplace. So, seize the opportunity, encourage feedback, and watch as your business flourishes with each glowing review!


If you need help with other parts of your marketing strategy, Flourish has your back! Check out our website to see how we can help you create authenticity in your brand and build a loyal audience who will always write you great reviews. From base-line strategies to full-fledged marketing management, we can do it all! Click here to see how we can help


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