Your small business is online – and when people look at you, you want to be their first choice! But getting that visibility isn’t that easy – after all, there are a lot of businesses out there in cyberspace. So, what can you do? Luckily, our digital marketing team has the answer – You need to drive Google reviews! Here’s what they are, what they mean to customers, and why they need to be your priority.
What are Google reviews?
Online reviews have become a powerful tool for small businesses to build trust, enhance their online presence, and boost customer engagement. Among the many review platforms available, Google Reviews stands tall as a game-changer. If you go to the search engine now and type in a business, say “Italian restaurant near me”, the third or so result will be “Businesses”. Here, you can see local businesses in your area on a map, and next to each name is a star rating system – that’s where the reviews are! It’s all feedback from people who have been to that business, and alongside the star rating are comments too. And as a customer, well, you want the one with the highest rating.
With its vast user base and integration with Google’s search engine, it’s no surprise that Google Reviews plays a crucial role in helping businesses optimise their local SEO, drive sales, improve customer interactions, and achieve overall success!
How getting more Google Reviews will help your business
1. More effective local SEO
Google Reviews play a pivotal role in local search engine optimisation (SEO). When users search for products or services in their local area, Google often displays small businesses with positive reviews more prominently. And it’s the biggest review platform too, holding 73% of all online reviews compared to its next closest competitor, Yelp, with just 6%!
A high volume of positive reviews signals credibility and trustworthiness, which also increases a business’s chances of appearing in the “Local Pack” and “Google Maps” results. This improved visibility leads to increased website traffic, footfall, and conversions.
2. People in your area learn to trust your business
Consumers place great trust in online reviews, considering them as genuine feedback from fellow customers. Positive reviews build credibility and act as social proof, encouraging potential customers to choose your small business over competitors. In fact, 89% of consumers globally routinely check online reviews before they buy online, and 49% of them say positive reviews are the third most powerful influence on their purchase!
3. You’ll get more interested people clicking through to your website
Positive Google Reviews can significantly impact click-through rates (CTRs) from search engine results pages (SERPs). And these reviews are highly motivating for your customers, with shoppers being 50% more motivated by online reviews than even coupons or discounts!
When your small business has a high average rating displayed alongside search results, it catches the attention of users, driving them to click on your website. A compelling review snippet or star rating can make your business stand out in the SERPs, increasing the likelihood of attracting potential customers and boosting website traffic.
4. Your customers will have new ways to engage with your business – which they love doing!
Google Reviews foster direct engagement between small businesses and customers, which customers love! In fact, nearly half of all internet users in the world posted online reviews every month in 2019 alone – and that’s some very valuable user-generated content for your business.
By responding to reviews promptly and thoughtfully, businesses can strengthen their relationships with existing customers and build a sense of community. Positive interactions with customers through review responses demonstrate transparency, attentiveness, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. Engaging with customers also encourages them to leave more reviews, generating a virtuous cycle of increased engagement and improved online presence.
5. You’ll get insights you can act on
Google Reviews provide valuable insights into customer preferences, expectations, and pain points. Analysing patterns in reviews can help small businesses identify strengths to emphasise and areas for improvement. Understanding customer sentiments can guide strategic decision-making, leading to product enhancements, better customer service, and tailored marketing campaigns. Regularly monitoring reviews allows businesses to stay ahead of their competition and maintain a customer-centric approach.
In addition, negative reviews provide opportunities for businesses to address concerns promptly, demonstrate excellent customer service, and showcase their commitment to resolving issues. Don’t delete negative reviews or try manipulating the results- instead, respond and do better. After all, more than 50% of consumers say a less than perfect review score is more authentic and would rather buy from someone with a slightly lower score but tons of reviews than someone with very few reviews that are all high.
Also, responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, shows that you value customer feedback and are invested in providing an exceptional experience. Interestingly, 45%of consumers say theyare more likely to visit a business if they can see the business has responded to negative reviews!
6. You’ll sell more to people in your area, especially walk-ins
Positive Google Reviews serve as a persuasive factor in the conversion process.When potential customers see positive reviews about your products or services, they are more likely to convert into paying customers. This is especially true if they live nearby, and local support is a big bonus for your business.In fact, 81% of people in 2021 used Google to specifically look for a local business to buy from, compared to 63% in 2020!
Reviews act as testimonials, instilling confidence and reducing purchase hesitations. Leveraging these positive sentiments in marketing efforts, such as social media campaigns and website testimonials, can further drive conversions and increase sales.
Make Google work for your small business with the right digital marketing strategy!
Google Reviews have become a vital component of a successful digital marketing strategy for small businesses. From enhancing local SEO and building trust to driving engagement and increasing sales, businesses can harness the power of online reviews to gain a competitive edge.
At Digital Freak, a leading digital agency in Melbourne, we specialise in no-nonsense strategies that are affordable and effective. Our team will help you position your brand, build an active and trust-based relationship with your customers, and create and manage all your online content, from your Google presence and video marketing to social media marketing, SEO, and more. Contact us today for expert social media marketing, video marketing and branding strategies that are affordable – and make all the right connections.