Online Reviews: Helping or Hurting Your Small Business-

Online Reviews: Helping or Hurting Your Small Business?

Most reviews are what help others know how well the product, service, or business works. Most consumers want to know at least a little about a product before they purchase it. Is it worth the price? Especially if the product is something they will use a lot, customers will want to see if the product will fulfill all of their needs.

According to Search Engine Land, in 2014, “88% [of consumers] have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business (vs. 85% in 2013). 39% read reviews on a regular basis (vs. 32% in 2013). And only 12% do not read reviews (vs. 15% in 2013).” Those numbers are from 2013 and 2014. That trend has been growing every year, so we can safely assume that those percentages are even more convincing of the importance of online reviews, and how they channel the buying power of our nation. Vendasta says in their study that “only reviews from friends and family are trusted more than online reviews. Reviews from experts and celebrity endorsements are less trusted than online reviews

Positive Reviews

When a consumer is looking to make a purchase, they may need to use the product for some specific application or task. If they find a review that lets them know it will actually work for their intended use, their fear of making a poor choice is greatly reduced, and they will be much more likely to make the purchase. When a customer sees 10 reviews telling of the long life of your product and no reviews about it breaking within a few days or weeks, they’ll feel comfortable trusting your product. These are just two of the many reasons people look at reviews. When you get more and more reviews, you have a better chance of having reviews that cover all of a potential customer’s questions and concerns

The same Vendasta report previously referenced shows that reviews are especially important for local searches as they influence up to 10% of the ranking. 51% of consumers will select a local business if it has positive reviews. So having good reviews not only helps you get more people to your site and more sales, but it helps you show up higher in the local search results. Investing in curating legitimate positive reviews for these reasons alone is an absolute must for local businesses.

Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are almost unavoidable from time to time. It’s hard to completely please everyone every single time. Sometimes due to unrealistic expectations, unfortunate events out of your control, or just a customer waking up on the wrong side of the bed, you’ll get one or two from time to time. So it’s important to know that they’ll come, and what to do about them. Going back to the Vendasta report, they found that “86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. Between one and three bad online reviews would be enough to deter the majority (67%) of shoppers from purchasing a product or service.”

The good news is negative reviews may not be all that bad after all. says, “Most prospective customers read reviews about products or services before making a purchase, which is why many small business owners live in fear of public customer complaints. But, the latest research shows that negative reviews may not hurt your business as much as you might think. In fact, negative reviews can actually be good for business – if the reviewer is polite.” The Vendasta report agrees somewhat in showing that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. This is because people can sometimes distrust reviews if there are not that many, and they are all glowingly positive. This can lead people to think that the reviews are not genuine.

Even though people naturally expect a little negative feedback, we still want to avoid as many negative reviews as possible, and drown them out with many more positive ones. Most people know that everyone is going to get a bad review every once in awhile, and will take it with a grain of salt if they see that the positive reviews far outweigh anything negative they read.

It’s also good to respond to any negative reviews with an invitation to the reviewer to learn more about what made them have a less than ideal experience, and do what is reasonable to make amends when applicable. When people see an active owner/manager trying to correct any mistakes and actively communicating with customers to fix things, this gives them more confidence. If a business resolves its issues quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers returns back to your business.

How Many Stars Does a Business Need?

Here are some percentages that show how many stars a business needs to be able to appeal to a customer.

  • 26% of consumers say it’s important that a local business responds to its reviews.
  • Only 14% of consumers would consider using a business with a one or two-star rating
  • 57% of consumers would use a business with a three-star rating
  • 94% of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating or higher.

Now you know you don’t have to take our word for it. Online reviews are vital to the success and growth of a business nowadays, and it will continue to be more and more so. We have great tools and teams to help you get more positive reviews. Let us know how we at Yellow Pages Digital can help you and your business.


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January 11th, 2017

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