How Google Reviews Can Help Small Businesses Succeed
We’ve all done it before.
“grocery stores in my area”
“nearest shopping mall”
“chinese takeout near me”
These are typical phrases we frequently search on our phones on a daily basis. In fact, I did this a few days ago while trying to find a salon for a quick haircut near my house.
When searching for a place for takeout or a nice outing, we immediately go to Google to look for all the locations in our designated area (Bonus: get paid for those daily Google searches too with Google Opinion Rewards!)
When the search results pop up, you might notice that some businesses consistently rank at the top of the list. How do some local businesses appear higher in the search ranking than others? What does a small business have to do to stand out among its competitors?
The answer? Google Reviews!
In an age where technology, customer reviews, and brand transparency have become vital to consumers, these things are even more essential to small businesses competing with a vast pool of other small businesses. Star rankings and the quality of reviews can be the deciding factor for consumers when choosing from a wide variety of services and small businesses at their disposal.
Boosting Small Business Online Presence With Google Reviews
Google Reviews rely on local SEO where the higher a business organically ranks, its customer’s trust and online exposure increases. As a result, that business is more likely to be “seen.” From the customer’s perspective, they have limited time and interest in finding what they want. Whether it’s for getting takeout, a haircut, or an oil change, consumers rely heavily on reviews by other customers when choosing one business over another for the same product or service.
According to an online report, consumers are 63.6% more likely to read Google Reviews before looking at a business. If Google Reviews are positive, this encourages the likelihood of potential customers visiting a business’ website, thus boosting its web traffic. Not only does this drastically increase a business’ click-through rate, but the traffic can once again improve its local SEO and net a wider audience in these particular search niches.
Here are what reviews are broken down by:
In the past decade, reading reviews before buying has become a frequent habit with consumers looking to save money while getting the most satisfaction for their money. Upon seeing dozens of local businesses from a search query, the average consumer rarely spends the time looking past the first couple of options at the top of the search results. Places with higher star rankings and reviews are more likely to stand out to the customer among their competitors.
However, these are not the only online benefits of Google Reviews. In a post-pandemic society, convenience and quick access are deciding factors for a customer. Research has shown that customers are more likely to call the business through the phone number provided on the Google listing than on the website itself! Once again, this convenient access to business info through local listings can significantly boost the chances of someone becoming a potential customer for a small business. By eliminating additional steps for the customer, the simple convenience increases the chances of a customer contacting a business.
Influencing the Purchase
For small businesses that offer a particular product, positive customer reviews can help sway the consumer into buying a product or service. At the same time, negative reviews can deter people from purchasing and convince them to go to other competitors. Google Reviews are a great way to see how customers react to products or services, what’s working, and what can be improved upon.
Equal Competition Against Big Businesses
Google Reviews help level the playing field for small businesses against big businesses by providing potential customers transparent reviews outside of brand marketing. While bigger business chains rely on customer service and store quality. Google Reviews give small businesses with less brand recognition the equal opportunity to compete against larger chains.
Improving Business Services
Google Reviews are an opportunity for customers to leave honest reviews. For businesses, this provides the opportunity for improvement in areas that are lacking while providing a chance to show professionalism. For customers, this gives them the opportunity to see how business owners handle unsatisfied customer reviews. Google Reviews create an environment where customers can experience the hospitality of a small business which typically isn’t shown by bigger chains. This helps to create a closer connection with the customer and leaves them feeling that their opinions matter.
Has someone left a bad review about your business? Despite the disappointment of an unsatisfied customer expressing poor feedback, the negative impact can be dissipated depending on how you addressed the review. If you choose to personally reach out to reviewers, this will draw attention to your sense of professionalism and responsibility. Depending on how you approach a negative review can increase your business authenticity. A mix of positive and negative reviews can skewer the conversions, making your small business ratings more realistic and honest.
For glowing reviews, the response can highlight a particular product or service that a small business can use to appeal to more customers, and help them stand out among their competitors.
Why Are Google Reviews More Popular with Customers than Other Apps that Offer The Same Experience?
The answer is simple: Limited time and interest.
Apps like Yelp make consumers take additional steps to leave a business review. With Google Reviews, the process is more simple and more time-efficient with its quick, star ranking system. Unlike apps that offer business reviews, people are more likely to do a quick search on the internet because of its fast efficiency and because they can find the places they want without the additional step of opening the app.
Plus, unlike other online services that create local listings or advertisements, setting up a GMB (Google My Business) listing is free! This is an online advertising tool for business owners to net the most customers for their business without spending any money. Based on customer feedback, a small business can cater to a specific audience, increasing visibility. Unlike traditional marketing, online reviews made by customers create an authentic environment for other consumers to trust at a rate of about 79%, the highest percentage for any online review platform!
One of the biggest priorities for small businesses is getting people to review them on their Google page instead of product reviews on other apps like Yelp, Facebook, and other social media sites.
The Bottom Line
Google Reviews can shape the audience, business image, and visibility in the top Google search results for any small business. In a market where small businesses compete against each other AND big chains, boosting online presence and local SEO are sure ways of getting a small business to stand out in the area.
Additionally, Google Reviews are a savvy way for customers to have direct interaction with the business and provide honest feedback that will influence other potential customers. My take? Take some time to write a Google Review (or ten!) for your favorite local businesses today- it’s free and only takes a few minutes. It’s as imperative in this digital age for small businesses to take advantage of the vast network of thousands of consumers in order to break out into the market as it is for consumers to support their local small businesses.
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