The Importance of Positive Online Reviews for Local Businesses

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In the light of a new report by BrightLocal, My Local Leads comments on the importance of getting kudos from customers.

The power of the positive online review for a local company should never be overlooked. Word of mouth advertising has always been one of the most important facets of a successful business. Treating customers right will bring in more customers and bring those same customers back from more. Organizations that fail to please are sure to fail and close up shop. My Local Leads is a marketing firm based in Maine which specializes in local search and search engine optimization. Keeping an eye on trends, reviewing documented reports, and experience have allowed them to help their customers understand the benefit of customers singing praises online. This primer should provide information that helps local business owners understand the importance of those online reviews and encourage them to actively seek them out.

BrightLocal recently reported on the increased importance of positive online reviews. Over the course of the past three years, the trend is growing to find local businesses online. However, finding businesses as frequently has gone down. As My Local Leads sees it, one of the reasons the frequency of finding businesses has declined slightly is because the local business market has begun offering superior customer service as compared to larger, national firms that focus on metrics more than customer satisfaction. Therefore, those local businesses have been retaining customers better. Furthermore, more consumers are just adopting the new technology, so we are seeing more first and second time searchers in the early part of 2013.

Restaurants, general stores, hotels, and doctors carry the lion’s share of mobile searches for local businesses. Meanwhile, big jumps have been seen in auto shops, auto dealers, specialty shops, tradesmen such as plumbers and general contractor, and beauty salons.

The report goes on to show that more than half of online searchers are looking at online reviews for the local shop.

This means that people are finding the businesses online, because those businesses have an effective search engine optimization campaign. It also means more and more people are looking to see what other customers have had to say about the business before deciding to stop in, call, or give the company an opportunity to serve them.

Reports have shown that a one star increase on a five star rating for local businesses can increase revenues by approximately 20 percent. This means that a drop in ratings can be severely detrimental to the local business.

Local businesses want to treat customers right and they want to build their businesses up. From current trends, the importance of online reviews is undeniable. These online reviews can come in many forms. Setting up a Facebook page, a Google + Local account, accounts on Yelp, and similar directories hive individuals more of a chance to get the word out about how great the business is. Encouraging customers to stop by Facebook, Google, or Yelp and telling the world about their wonderful experience at your store is paramount to succeeding in the business world as it grows ever more connected.

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Chris Moreno

Cameron Corniuk
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