When I sold advertising space the thing I heard most often from small business owners is “word of mouth” is their most effective advertising. Of course we all know this to be true. We’re more likely to try a new restaurant when it comes highly recommended by a trusted friend. When making important decisions such as choosing a family doctor or buying a new car we usually turn to others around us and ask who they use. The internet has made word of mouth easier than ever, even between strangers, with social media tools and user review sites such as Yelp.
Business owners have a vested interest in this online chatter. According to Kudzu.com, 86% of consumers read online business reviews before making purchasing decisions. While many businesses hate the idea of online reviews, they can no longer ignore them. Search engines like Google now considers numerous reviews a positive factor in determining ranking results for local searches. As long as you’re a reputable business, there’s no reason to fear customer reviews and there’s every reason to encourage them.
I’m an active user on a number of online review sites and my observation is that businesses that that have the most reviews also tend to be higher rated overall. The negative reviews can even give more creditability to the positive ones since it’s a sign they’re genuine. It stands to reason that customers with extraordinary experiences – good or bad, would be more motivated to write online reviews. But what about the broad middle ground of your customers who are quietly satisfied with your services? They might need some encouragement. See my post on “Seven Tips for Getting more Online Reviews.”
- Wertz & Dake – Cedar Rapids lawyers specializing in workers’ compensation
- Nelson Manufacturing – Horse feeders and automatic waterers
- Wigwam Golf Resort – Award-winning golf resort near Phoenix, Arizona
- AAET – A site for Nerve Conduction Study Technologists
- EHC, Inc. – Professional janitorial cleaning and lawn care services