Do online business reviews matter to location-based businesses? Yes, definitely. In fact, according to the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey, “97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.”

Online reviews can:

  • Affect your search ranking and boost local search performance,
  • Strengthen your reputation,
  • And help you understand what your customers like (and dislike).

So, how can you get more positive online reviews for your small business?

3 Ways to Encourage More Positive Online Reviews

1. Monitor your business’ online presence. The first step in growing your online reviews, is understanding where your clients can leave feedback on your business. Common platforms for leaving online reviews include social media sites, crowd-sourced review sites, and Google My Business. You should regularly monitor your business’ online presence across these and other online platforms.

2. Ask for feedback. It seems straightforward, but it’s a critical step: ask customers for feedback about their experience. If you already have an email list, you can send a recipient a message after they make a purchase. You can also post signs in your brick-and-mortar location encouraging people to provide feedback.

One word of warning: don’t incentivize reviews. Giving customers something in exchange for a review can lead to persuasive, misleading, and at times, fake online reviews. This is prohibited per the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Endorsement Guide.

3. Respond to all feedback, positive and negative. When someone leaves a review about your business, they are giving up time out of their day to (hopefully) leave positive feedback about your business. Even negative reviews—when tactful and constructive—can help you improve your business. Take time to say thank you, or address the concerns of your customers, via a thoughtful response.

When current and potential customers see reviews with personalized responses, they will be encouraged to share their experience, too.

The Bottom Line

Online reviews are an influential component of your hyperlocal marketing strategy—they have the power to influence your bottom line. In fact, online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of respondents’ purchasing decisions.

Monitor your business’ online presence, ask customers for feedback, and always respond to reviews. When you provide a truly valuable product or service, the positive reviews will follow.

Electronic Merchant Systems is a leading provider of payment processing & merchant services. For more information please visit our website.

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Electronic Merchant Systems is a registered ISO/MSP for BMO Harris Bank, NA, Schaumburg, Illinois, Esquire Bank, Jericho, NY, Merrick Bank, South Jordan, UT, and Chesapeake Bank, Kilmarnock, VA.