What consumers have to say about your business matters, and it always has. The only thing that’s changed is how people speak about your business (aka, Google Reviews). To understand why Google reviews are important, we must first look at its older sibling; word of mouth.
Word of Mouth is the Golden Standard
We’ve known for a long time that word of mouth is one of the most effective ways for local businesses to get more referrals, customers and revenue. People trust their peers before they trust an advertisement or salesperson. It’s human nature to first ask people close to you (or people like you) for advice.
Whether it’s a new restaurant or a landscaping company, word-of-mouth referrals will always carry a ton of weight.
The Word-of-Mouth Evolution
In the last decade, word-of-mouth recommendations have evolved. What was once shared person-to-person in real life or over the phone is now being captured digitally online.
We’ve all done a simple Google search for local services, scrolled through the results (a list of businesses), and read through customer reviews!
Although Google Reviews do not 100% replace word of mouth, you can definitely see how they go hand in hand, especially for consumers who haven’t received a personal recommendation for a service they need right now.
The undeniable benefits of more Google reviews
When a business is looking for serious credibility, look no further than Google. Google My Business is a 100% free tool that gets you listed online and connected to the #1 search engine in the world.
And, the statistics don’t lie…
- 97% of people read small business reviews.
- 90% of people use reviews to decide on a purchase.
The list of benefits related to getting Google reviews regularly is a long one. My 5 favourite Google Review “Magic Effects” include:
- The impact on local SEO
- Improved brand recognition
- Increased purchases
- Reduced marketing costs
- Tightened feedback loop with customers
Without further ado, let’s take a look at each “Magic Effect” in more detail:
1. Better Google reviews boost your local SEO ranking
…yes, I’m talking about that free organic traffic everyone craves.
A boost in local search rankings is one of the most considerable known benefits of Google reviews. Unless you’re selling time machines, you need a way to stand out online! If people in your community can’t find you, how on earth will they purchase your solution or service?
2. Google reviews enhance brand recognition
…because we all know trust matters when you’re choosing where to spend your money.
No amount of paid advertising will EVER be better than customer testimonials.
Consumers don’t always want to be “pitched” or “sold” your product or service. Even if they need your business, they want to be comfortable with their purchase (we’ve all had a pushy salesperson turn us off before).
26.8% of consumers only trust a company with at least 11-50 reviews.
18.9% of consumers only trust a business with at least 51-100 reviews.
Reviews give consumers the most honest outlook on your business.
3. More Google reviews lead to more sales
…need I say more?
Ever bought something and then asked, “Did I make the right decision”? Buyers’ remorse is very real, and everyone tries to avoid it!
Google reviews give consumers the validation they crave before giving their hard-earned cash to a company they don’t know.
The inverse is also true. If a consumer gets a signal that they might be making the wrong decision (A.K.A negative reviews), they will quickly do more research into other options in the marketplace.
40% of consumers will rethink a purchase decision upon seeing negative reviews.
(But… there’s a catch)
95% of consumers get suspicious if a business has zero negative reviews.
(Isn’t the human brain a wonderful thing…)
More reviews give consumers the information they need to make a purchasing decision, but they like to see a mix of positive and negative reviews (a lot more positive, of course).
4. Google reviews lower other marketing costs
…so you can optimize the impact of every marketing dollar you spend
If you invest in other marketing solutions like paid advertising or search engine optimization, your chances of being found online go up, but consumers still want to feel confident about doing business with you. Having solid Google reviews acts as that final stamp of approval and helps with conversion rates.
Take two businesses that are both spending the same amount on digital advertising and search engine optimization. The only difference is, Business A has 100 reviews with a 4.7 rating and Business B has 11 reviews with a 4.1 rating.
Consumers will gravitate towards Business A.
So Business A will get more new leads (and in turn customers) by spending the same amount on digital marketing as Business A, all by having better Google reviews.
5. Tighten Feedback Loop with Customers
…so, you can adapt and improve based on what customers say you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
If you’re running a business, feedback is a critical component to growing.
It’s crucial to understand what you are doing well and what you aren’t doing well (even if you don’t like to hear it).
Business owners often get scared of negative feedback showing up online because it can reflect poorly on them. The truth is that when you have a few negative reviews, you have ammunition to mitigate negative experiences for your customers going forward, thus decreasing the negative reviews you get.