Online reviews are an underutilized tool that many small businesses are completely missing out when it comes to interacting with and building their core customer base. A hefty percentage of consumers rely on online reviews to inform their decision making process. Basic online customer reviews are an open opportunity for consumers and businesses to benefit from one another.

Nobody opens the phone book anymore. Whether it’s through social media or through a basic search engine inquiry, the first place the average consumer is headed to when looking for information about your business or services is online.

Online reviews are a simple way for small businesses to build customer engagement and boost online presence by encouraging customers to leave a review following their experience, which, ideally would be a positive one. However, even negative reviews have their place: offering an opportunity for businesses to respond to concerns and conflicts in a visible way, which can actually be quite helpful. When you respond professionally to a negative review, it shows potential customers that you’re willing to work to resolve issues and build trust.

Reviews can help you build more business by adding the voice of the customer to your online presence, a valuable tool when it comes to building an online reputation. It’s alright to mention to customers that if they are satisfied with their service, you’d appreciate if they had the time to leave an online review recommending your business. A customer voice reinforces to other potential customers that they can trust your work.

Start thinking of online reviews like personal referrals that can reach far more people. The more mentions and interactions your business has online, the more potential customers will be sent your way.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!