Online Reviews: The Hidden Gem for Growing Small Businesses

Online Reviews: The Hidden Gem for Growing Small Businesses featured image

As a small business owner, every digital channel plays a role in the growth of your company. If you’re not thinking about online reviews as a smart, simple, and inexpensive way to exponentially grow your business, this article is for you.

According to a 2017 consumer survey performed by Bright Local, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as if they were a personal recommendation. The survey also showed that 97% of consumers look online first to find local businesses. Online reviews are a hidden gem that can help grow your small business. Here are 3 smart tips to help you get the most out of your online reviews.

Optimize Your Digital Presence

One of the best ways to start receiving more reviews is to be listed on multiple outlets. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a Google business listing is enough for receiving reviews. Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and even Foursquare are just as vital to encouraging in trusted and honest reviews from your guests. Being listed on multiple review sites also gives unique exposure to your business. While social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the norms for promoting a small business, review sites expose your brand to a group of people that you’ve missed out on.

Once you begin the process of adding your business to multiple review sites, remember to continually update your listings. Days and hours of operation, changes to products or menus and pricing are all things that should be updated on each of your business listings. Updating this information will allow customers to provide accurate and insightful reviews of their experience. Does your business have multiple locations? You want a unique listing for each location to provide the most accurate and reviews to potential customers.

Don’t forget industry-specific review sites. Service companies such as electricians, plumbers, and lawn maintenance should remember Houzz and Angie’s List, while a wedding venue won’t want to forget sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot.

Address Negative Online Reviews

Did you know that online reviews play a crucial role in your business’s local SEO ranking? While positive reviews can increase your SEO ranking, negative reviews can bring that ranking right back down. Therefore, responding to negative reviews is just as important as responding to positive ones. No matter how negative a customer may sound in a review, always be courteous and sincere in your response. Apologize for any inconvenience that the customer may have experienced and see if there is a way you can correct the matter. If a negative reviewer is vague in their review, politely ask if they can they be more descriptive so that you can better understand the problem and how you can resolve it.

Consistently responding to negative reviews shouldn’t only be a priority for SEO ranking. Staying on top of negative reviews is important to find out if your business has a real problem to address with staffing, product, or daily operations. Really pay attention to those customers that have a poor experience so that you can find out if it was a simple mistake or if your business needs to make a serious change. After you have rectified the situation with the jilted customer, don’t be afraid to ask if they would be willing to change their initial stance on their online review. It is always best to change that negative into a positive whenever possible.

Gather More Reviews

It’s no secret that local businesses are rewarded online when they have more reviews. Check out the top of any consumer review site, and you’ll quickly see that the algorithms favor the listings with more individual reviews. If your local business is struggling to get to the top of the page, the best course of action is to start asking for more reviews.

Don’t be afraid that your customers will resent the ask. More and more customers are willing to share their experiences online, especially if they have a great experience to share. Take advantage of this by getting creative with ways to promote online reviews. Social media, in-store promotions and face-to-face interactions are all great opportunities to encourage customers to leave online reviews.

Looking at using email to encourage online reviews? Use a friendly tone that sounds personal rather than generic. You want a unique and genuine review from each customer so make sure your messaging to them is the same.

WiFi Marketing Makes Review Generation Easy

Do you offer free to WiFi to your guests? WiFi marketing is a simple and easy way to turn your guest WiFi (a utility) into a powerful marketing tool. An innovative WiFi marketing platform will be able to redirect your WiFi guests to websites where you are listed for online reviews. Create personalized messaging asking for online reviews and send it right to your customers’ phones. With WiFi marketing, you will now have a brand new way to reach out to your guests and start gathering more online reviews.

Are you looking to start using online reviews as a resource to grow your business? GoZone WiFi is here to help. Our WiFi marketing platform will encourage your customers to leave online reviews and promote your business all from the basic WiFi service you currently offer them. Want to start email marketing to gather more reviews? Our Smart WiFi platform comes with an email marketing tool so you can start sending out personalized email campaigns right to those who visit your establishment. 

Use WiFi Marketing For Better Online Reviews

Contact us today to learn more WiFi marketing and how GoZone WiFi can help strengthen your online reviews for your small business.