Report shows consumers value online reviews Email
Monday, November 20, 2017 03:00 AM

online reviewAs you try to run your business, keep up with billing, and look for reliable employees to help you grow, online reviews may seem like a trivial matter. But consumer research shows that the increasing importance of customer reviews 
makes it harder to ignore. Just a little bit of effort can go a long way to protecting your company’s reputation. 

A recent report from BrightLocal, a search marketing firm, reveals that most consumers (97% of those surveyed) are looking at online reviews. The top resources for business reviews are Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Tracking those sites and managing your reviews should be part of your marketing strategy.

More striking statistics from the study of over 1,000 consumers:

  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business

That last item makes monitoring and responding to reviews crucial. 30% of respondents said that responses to reviews were key when forming an opinion of a local business. But what does it mean to respond?

Thank customers for their positive reviews, and acknowledge those who leave a negative comment. You can defend your business, but be sure to do it with facts and respect—not emotion. Inciting conflict online could end poorly for your reputation.

So how to counteract negative reviews and get that four-star rating consumers need? Ask for reviews. 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked, so make it part of your follow-up with clients.

Yelp & Facebook are local consumers' most trusted review sites, followed by Google & You can “claim” your business on those sites. On Yelp, Facebook, and Google, it is free to access and edit your business profile—though there are additional paid advertising options.

An interesting fact to note: people are becoming less likely to visit businesses' websites after reading positive reviews. It’s not time to abandon your website entirely, but understand that some consumers will make a decision based on others’ opinions without consulting you directly.

Read the full results of the survey here.

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2018 testing announced for Landscape Industry Certification

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