Traditionally, referrals and word of mouth were the engines driving the growth for small businesses. Recommendations from family and friends built up trust for small businesses catering to local communities. This traditional form of reputation building, which was of paramount importance for small businesses at one time, has now gone digital, giving millions of customers the power to make or break any business with the click of a button. The reputation of a small business can sometimes receive a damaging blow from just one unhappy customer writing a negative review or comment. Alternatively, a business that continues to receive 5-star reviews can experience tremendous growth and increased sales.
According to a Local Consumer Review Survey in 2018:
- 86% of consumers check reviews for local businesses.
- 95% of people between the ages of 18-to-34 refer to local business reviews.
- Consumers read 10 online reviews on average before forming an opinion about the business.
- Latest reviews are given more weight by the consumers, with 40% taking into account only the reviews written within the past two weeks.
- 57% will only buy from a business that has 4 or more stars.
- 91% in the age group of 18-to-34 have as much confidence in online reviews as recommendations from friends and family.
What Does Reputation Management Entail?
Online reviews are a major factor influencing a customer’s decision to purchase from a business. As a consequence, online reputation management is now an indispensable requirement for almost any business. Online reputation management focuses on keeping track of what customers are saying about a business online and improving the brand image by defeating any negative opinions with more positive views.
In addition to generating more positive reviews, reputation management entails taking feedback, whether negative or positive and responding to it in a way that satisfies the customer. Handling negative reviews with sensitivity is very important, and businesses that fail to do so might suffer from loss of sales and a tainted brand image. Timing of the response matters as well. A delayed reaction can be perceived as the disinterest of the company toward its customers’ concerns. Sometimes, reputation management also requires not reacting at all. It is critical to maintaining the right balance while engaging and responding to customers online.
Benefits of a Positive Online Reputation
- Brand Building: Potential customers are looking for experiences that past customers had with a business. Customers will inquire about the business on social media sites like Facebook and consumer review sites like Yelp. When customers are happy with a business, they will gladly recommend it on social media networks. Such reviews help boost the business’s brand and attract more prospective customers to it.
- Google Rank: Positive online reviews can get a business more qualified traffic and leads, through Google search results pages. Reviews are very helpful for all types of small businesses, including retail stores as well as service-based businesses.
- Recognition as an Industry Leader: When a business is reviewed positively by customers continually, it creates a ripple effect in the industry, thus leading to it being recognized as an authority or expert in its field.
- Increased Sales: Businesses with a positive reputation end up getting a large chunk of customers as opposed to those with poor or no reviews. It’s been found that positive reviews can directly increase sales while negative reviews can decrease sales for a business.
It’s clear that small businesses can benefit from staying on top of their online reputation, but they struggle to do it on their own, without the right tools, services, and knowledge. That’s where Web Weaver Pro comes in. Our Reputation Management can help you monitor your reviews while growing your business. Get our Reputation Management Service today!