Rave Reviews: Why They Matter Most To Local Businesses
According to the Small business Search Marketing Survey by American Express OPEN, U.S. small businesses can still count oN word-of-mouth as a top way for shopper to find them. Close behind, however, is the Internet. Local consumers now heavily rely on search engine power when shopping locally. We take a look at what this means for your small business.
Seek and find
The survey reveals how new customers are finding their local small businesses.
* Number do not add to 100 percent because respondents were allowed multiple answers.
- Sources new customers use to find small businesses.
.Word-of-mouth - 82%.
Internet - 66%.
Advertising - 37%.
Yellow pages - 23%.
Newspaper/magazines - 23%.
Storefront - 17%.
Other - 21%.
While 82 percent of respondents considered word-of-mouth when looking for a local business, 66 percent also do research on the Internet.
Also finding a local business via the Internet isn't an anomaly. Eight percent of respondents do it every day.
- How many times have you used the Internet to find a local business in the last 12 months?
0 - 15%.
1 - 9%.
2 - 5 - 25%.
6 - 10 - 17%.
Every month - 10%.
Every week - 16%.
Almost every day - 8%.
Only 15 percent of consumers did not use the Internet fo find a local business in the past year.
Prior to engaging with a local business, consumers read online reviews with noted regularity.
- Do you read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business?
27% - Yes, regularly.
49% - Yes, occasionally.
24% - No.
Over a quarter (27 percent) of consumers regularly use online reviews to determine which local business to use.
Consumers are not only reading the reviews, they are largely relying on the opinions expressed by others to determine whether they will engage with the local business.
- How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business?
Positive customer reviews make me trust a business more - 58%.
I read the reviews but they don't influence my decision on which business to use - 25%.
I don't take notice of online customer reviews - 17%.
58 percent of consumers trust a business that has a positive online review.
Positive reviews con establish greater trust between a local business and its shoppers. As customers rely predominantly on the Internet before committing to buy, local businesses must make sure their online presence is a good one. In fad, business owners may want to consider readjusting their advertising budget and using the extra funds to provide a better experience for shoppers, as this would help garner both word-of-mouth references and positive online reviews.
SOURCES: SEARCHENGINELAND.COM; eMARKETER.COM