As an internet user, you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time reading online reviews. Whether you’re researching a product or considering a service, you want as much information as possible before you commit. That’s human nature.
According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of all internet users in the United States read online reviews. The numbers are even higher for Millennials. Of those who read reviews regularly, 65% say that online reviews are trustworthy.
The reviews people leave for your studio have a direct impact on your potential to attract new clients. Here are four ways that online reviews can help your business.
Every brick and mortar business needs to think about local SEO. People who search for a martial arts studio want one that’s close to home. They’re very likely to include the name of their town or a nearby city in their search.
Online reviews help boost local SEO because they often mention place names. SEO experts estimate that online reviews make up approximately 10% of Google’s search algorithms. The more reviews you have, the higher your search rank is likely to be.
Positive online reviews have a direct impact on your bottom line. A Harvard Business School study found that a one-star improvement in a business’s Yelp rating translated to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
On a similar note, negative reviews can hurt your business. A 2016 study demonstrated the impact of negative reviews. It found that if the first reviews a user reads are negative, they’re unlikely to keep reading. In other words, you might lose potential customers because of a single negative review.
The best and most effective websites always have social proof. Online reviews are an easily accessible form of social proof, something you can find without much effort or cost.
When customers give you a positive review, you might want to consider approaching them and asking them to make an in-depth statement that you can turn into a testimonial. If taking classes with you helped a shy kid come out of his shell, you can share their story with permission.
Even if you don’t solicit testimonials, you can and should link to your review pages on Yelp or Google from your website. A link makes it easy for people to read reviews and get the social proof they need to sign up for a class.
Even negative reviews represent an opportunity to show existing and potential clients that you care about them. When someone posts a negative review, don’t react with anger. Instead, look for ways to engage with the reviewer and improve their opinion of you.
The companies that do a great job managing reviews are those that don’t take them personally. Instead, they write to the reviewer, apologize for the negative experience, and try to make it right. The benefit of this approach is that people who visit your Yelp page will see it. They’ll know that you’re professional and caring.
It’s not uncommon for customers who leave negative reviews to update them after a positive interaction with a business owner. Start viewing negative reviews as customer service opportunities and watch the impact it has on your business.
There’s no denying the importance of online reviews. By claiming your profile on online review sites and making a point of reading and responding to reviews, you can increase awareness of your brand and grow your business.