For the fifth consecutive year, BrightLocal - an SEO company that specializes in local business reviews - has directed the Local Consumer Review Survey, which focuses on online reviews for local businesses. It helps these business owners determine how consumers read - and then utilize - online reviews when deciding where to spend their hard-earned money.
By sending a questionnaire to a local panel of several thousand consumers, they collect and analyze the data that small businesses and contractor marketing professionals need in order to prioritize their reputation marketing efforts using customer reviews.
The main purpose of the survey is to determine how online reviews influence consumers’ attitudes toward local businesses and if they have a direct impact on their purchasing decisions.
The firm recently released its Local Consumer Review Survey 2015 with new data that reveals a discernible growth in the number of consumers who are reading - and acting on - online reviews.
More Consumers are Making Buying Decisions Based On Them So You Need More Online Reviews for Your Contracting Business
As local online and mobile search functions becomes faster and easier, more consumers are relying on the search results to provide them with all the information they need to complete their buying decision. In fact, many people wouldn’t consider spending any amount of money without seeing positive online star ratings or reviews. This fact just highlights the importance of monitoring your online reputation and what is being said about your business.
According to BrightLocal, nearly 30% of consumers surveyed in 2010 stated that they never read online reviews, but that number has steadily declined to its all-time low of just 8% in 2015.
Following are 3 important facts for local business owners to consider regarding online reviews for your contracting business...
Fact #1: Over 90% of consumers now read online reviews, as compared to 88% last year.
Your customer reviews can make or break your online reputation and influence buyer decisions, so you MUST have a system in place to monitor and manage your online reputation. You need the ability to automate an almost hands-free way to generate feedback and get your best reviews posted online frequently and consistently. Only that will help build a five-star reputation that will attract new customers and generate more leads for your contracting business.
Fact #2: 40% of consumers form an opinion – either positive or negative - by reading just 1 to 3 reviews as compared to almost 30% last year.
You’ll notice a sizeable increase in the number of consumers who need only 1 to 3 reviews before they trust a local business. Previously, the sweet spot was higher, when consumers reported that they needed 4 to 10 reviews before making a decision. What does that mean? It means that consumers are spending less time reading, which places more importance on your most recent reviews and drives the need for fresh and recent reviews.
Focus on the consistent posting of new and positive reviews so that searchers are presented with relevant feedback from your current customers that they can trust to help make their decision regarding which business to spend their money with. Be sure to address any problems that could turn into negative reviews while you consistently post positive feedback online to create five-star ratings on the sites that your customers use the most.
Fact #3: Consumers State That the #1 Factor in Judging Your Business is Your Star Rating
People are highly visual creatures and consumers are spending less time making a decision regarding which businesses they are going to trust with their money. So it should come as no surprise that 60% of survey respondents chose star rating as the number one factor that they consider when reviewing your online reviews. The star ratings can quickly provide a well-rounded view of your business without having to dive too deeply into the actual reviews.
Knowing the importance of a 5-star rating, you should be doing everything in your power to create a 5-star reputation AND put it out there for everyone to see.
So What Do These Results Mean For Your Business?
Most people believe that the choices they make are the result of a rational analysis of the alternatives that are available to them. But in reality, it is our emotions that greatly influence - and even direct - our decisions. And while a lot of time and money has been spent researching the psychology of how consumers spend money, the average business owner doesn’t have the time to constantly scrutinize the minds of their target consumers.
That’s where this survey comes in - it does a great job of quantifying the things that drive the activities of consumers when they consider your local reviews or lack thereof. And when an overwhelming majority of your future customers say something is important to them, then it should be overwhelmingly important to you.
If you'd like to know more about the impact of reviews on your home improvement business and how to take action, I'm offering a FREE Webinar on how to Supercharge Your Online Reputationin 2016. I hope you can join us December 10... click HERE to reserve your spot now.