Why does your business need online reviews? There are a lot of reasons that business owners should pursue online reviews, but some still don’t. Believe it or not, lots of businesses haven’t even put themselves out there online yet, which is a huge mistake in our technology-driven world. Google sees over a billion searches every single day, and many of those are people looking for businesses and service providers. Consumers want to find out about the business, including what others, who have already worked with them, think. In fact, 84% of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a family member or friend.

How many consumers are actually viewing online reviews when trying to find a business to work with?

Get ready….. 90%! That means almost every person who searches for a business on Google. Yelp, or social media, is there to check out their reviews. When you realize that so many people are looking at your business’ reviews online, you realize just how important they are. It will throw your potential customers off when they search for businesses like yours, and find that others have reviews, and yours doesn’t.

Do you know what those consumers are looking for?

Here’s something that might put your mind at ease… of course, you want positive reviews and the more 5-star reviews, the better. However, it’s been shown that 92% of searchers will use a business that has at least a 4-star rating. 4-stars is still a positive reputation, and much more achievable than going for that perfect 5-star rating. In fact, Forbes.com gave us some valuable insight about this, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, conversion rates are higher when products have a few negative reviews. As someone who has always strived for five-star reviews, this information surprised me. A study found that a star rating between 4.2 and 4.5 was most influential in helping buyers make purchasing decisions.”

In other words, don’t beat yourself up if you do receive a negative review here and there. In fact, that just shows that your business is real, and so are your reviews. Strive for perfection, but know that all businesses struggle with negative reviews from those one-off experiences or pesky customers who are never pleased.

Make Reviews Count

Besides the fact that more reviews means more business and more trust, they can also help you evaluate what you’re doing right, and what needs to change. Just as important as quantity of reviews, is the quality of those reviews. Hopefully your customers are giving you valuable feedback about which products they love, and which they could do without. They might even be throwing in names of employees and what they thought of working with them. Take this information and use it to make your business better. Ryan Westwood, CEO of Simplus, recently wrote a blog post about the value behind making changes based on customer feedback. He mentions that, “This allows us to understand our customers’ preferences, help us know what we’re doing well, and rectify any concerns that the customer may have during the project.”

If you don’t already have a strong online presence, and reviews to back you up, now is the time to get started. Make sure you’re asking happy customers to leave you reviews online, and really pushing your employees to do the same!

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!

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