Since I’ve started writing about local business online tactics, one fact has become VERY apparent: reviews are important. They’re not just important, they’re vital. Do or die. And every SEO or Marketing specialist will tell you exactly that. And that’s why I refer to the modern day virtual market as simply the “Review Market”.
And now, the Review Market has been verified in a big way. Business management company Womply released their results from a study of over “200,000 U.S. small businesses in every state and across dozens of industries, including restaurants, salons, auto shops, medical and dental offices, retailers, and more.” And the results were interesting – with some predictable trends, and others not as much.
One of the first things they found was a direct correlation between the amount of free online business listings claimed and the increases in revenue of a company. These are the listings like on Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, and most importantly, Google My Business.
This shows the correlation I just mentioned. It’s pretty simple to understand, the more business listings you claim and actively partake in, the more revenue you’re able to make. This could be a result of many different interactions. Google and search engines constantly crawl sites for information, and with more claimed business listings, the more you’ll have consistent information, and the more likely you are to show up at the top of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This is SEO, and it ties back to everything, even reviews! Long story short, claim your business listings on multiple sites – it’s for your own good!
Let’s talk about star ratings. They’re important, but the data about them may surprise you.
As you may see, this follows the correlation you would expect, up to a point. Companies with reviews on average in the 1-2.5 range struggle much more than those with higher reviews. This is an important fact to acknowledge, that reviews truly do have a big effect on the amount of revenue your business is cranking out.
But, as you may see, businesses with a 5-star rating make less than any of the companies involved! This may seem strange, but makes sense when you break it down. When consumers see a perfect 5-star rating, they suspect tampering or unreliable reviews. Only when they see high rated but consistent and varied reviews will they have confidence in the reviews of that business.
And more importantly, to have a perfect 5-star rating, you probably don’t have a high volume of reviews. And according to Womply, that is also not very efficient.
As this shows, there’s a direct correlation between revenue and the number of reviews a company has. So get out there and encourage people to leave reviews! They’re the untapped treasure of the virtual marketplace and can return profit effectively. Ask for reviews and make sure to respond.
We live in the new world of the review economy, and every small business owner should not only identify this, but make it work for them! By responding to reviews, encouraging customers to review, monitoring star ratings and claiming your business listings, you’re giving your business a boost!