Small and medium-sized businesses need to stand out in an often crowded space. Not only do they need to attract a lot of attention, but they must also build trust quickly with potential customers. One of many ways to do this is through online reviews.

Showing reviews on your website helps build credibility with your site visitors will trust the opinion of other customers. Not only do online reviews help customers, but they also help you make changes based on feedback showing you value the input of customers.

This is part one of a three-part series for small businesses, proving the importance of reviews, as well as how to collect reviews, and how to manage reviews you receive as part of your overall local search campaign.

Why are online reviews so important?

BrightLocal posted the results of a survey in which 90% of the respondents stated they used the internet to find a local business in the last year.

82% of consumers say reviews influence their buying decisions.

The average consumer reads ten reviews before feeling able to trust a business.

Among those that read reviews, 97% read how the business responded to the review.

Reviews are public testimonials of your products, services, and your business. These online reviews are left using a user’s profile, which is why these reviews have a higher trust value.

During the buyer’s journey, they are making a decision. The amount of time the journey takes is usually dependent on the amount of the purchase and how they came to know you. A Google search will take a little longer than a personal recommendation from a friend. Online reviews are used to ease doubt and can be used to get them in the next step in the buying process.

Businesses that do not have recent reviews may suffer as consumers wonder why it has been so long since someone left a review.

No matter whether you are B2B or B2C, attaining reviews can be achieved if you make it easy for you by making it part of your process and for your customer.

how much time do read reviews before making a decision

Choose carefully where you send customers for reviews

When asking for online reviews, choose where you want those reviews left. Facebook, Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, industry-based websites are good for reviews, but you MUST select the platform that will be seen by your customers.

Some websites pull reviews from other websites. For instance, Google might show your rating for Facebook or Yelp.

The choice also depends on how people find your business. If you provide home services (HVAC, landscaping, pest control, carpet cleaning, etc.), people are more apt to use Google to search for the services you provide. Google shows reviews on Maps, the Local Pack, Local Service Ads, as well in some search results.

The number of reviews, the rating, the age of the review, and more often plays into how websites list businesses on their websites. Companies with the most positive reviews tend to rank higher on those websites.

In a nutshell, reviews matter to both your customers as well as search engines. Taking the time to find ways to ask for reviews as well as how you respond and manage those reviews is well worth the effort.

Reviews are one key element to local search. So important that we add it to every one of our local search campaign plans. If your business needs a little kick to be more visible, get in touch. We will start with a basic audit and put together a plan customized to the needs of your business to get your phone ringing and the door swinging at your business.

Hear from a few people we have worked with...

“Richelle Anderson of Lighthouse Web Designs designed a wonderful website for my business. The site captured the feel and information that I wanted to portray to future guests of my Bed and Breakfast. She listened to what I wanted, she made suggestions and she created a final product that I am proud of. Richelle is a creative Website Designer that is easy to work with, professional, and very knowledgeable about Search Engine Optimization. I cannot say enough good things about how pleased I am ...” ~ Vicki M.

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Since 2007, the Lighthouse Web Design and Marketing team has created custom websites and strategic marketing strategies for small businesses. Each marketing campaign is built around the client's goals and needs and backed by a proven marketing strategy.

Lighthouse Web Design & Marketing

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It is more than a catchy slogan. Often business owners are lost when it comes to using the available online tools and networks strategically to grow their business. We study and stay on top of these outlets to provide effective design and marketing services to get their phone ringing and door swinging.

When you work with Lighthouse, you can be confident that you are partnering with the right marketing agency.