Regardless of your brand’s recognition in the market, without a strong digital presence and a stellar online reputation, you’re essentially on a one-way track to losing customers to the competition. Local reviews can help.
An integral part of a strong digital presence beyond the website are digital profiles. These profiles don’t just help potential customers find your store. With the right setup, they can move buyers down the sales funnel. One of the key elements of your digital profiles are local reviews. Leveraging them to guide your target audience can generate conversions and bring new customers to your doorstep.
Let’s take a closer look at how to get more traffic with local reviews.
Thinking Like a Consumer
Consumers use the internet to browse brick-and-mortar stores for two reasons:
- They are looking for products or services around them and need a convenient location. This is an unbranded search, which makes up 58% of queries.
- They have a brand in mind and need to find a convenient location that sells it. This is a branded search, which is less common but more beneficial for a retailer.
The first category chooses the location based on rankings, star ratings, offerings, and convenience. When you need a birthday card, you don’t usually compare prices in different stores. You type in “birthday card near me” and get a list of results.
Once the list appears, consumers tend to explore reviews. If one store is closer but has bad reviews (or none at all), a person is likely to travel an extra couple of miles to a store that offers “best birthday cards ever.” The same works for restaurants, hotels, banks, etc.
The second category wants to find the closest store that sells its favorite brand. So they Google “Nike near me.” If the closest Nike store is 20 miles away, they check out the nearest places that may sell the brand like Footlocker or Macy’s. Which one do they choose? According to research, more than two-thirds of consumers are choosing the one with the best reviews and ratings.
Thinking like a consumer can help you streamline your marketing strategy by focusing on reviews in your digital profiles.
A Few Local Reviews Stats to Keep in Mind
The importance of local reviews in your digital profile is overwhelming. Here are a few statistics to prove it.
- 91% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. (Inc.com)
- For each one-star increase a brand receives on Yelp, the business can see up to a 9% increase in revenue (Harvard Business School).
- The product’s chance of getting purchases increases by 270% when it gets just five reviews compared to the product with zero reviews (Spiegel Research Center).
- The average Google My Business profile has 73 reviews (Search Engine Land)
- Today consumers prefer to find brands via digital profiles or local listings (Synup)
By working on your digital profiles and the reviews in it, you can achieve tremendous results for your brick-and-mortar locations.
(this is a good place to insert an image with Synup stats).
Why Local Reviews Can Boost Your Digital and In-Store Traffic
Reviews are only one part of the power behind in-store traffic. SEO, directions, map requests, and profile optimization play a big role as well. However, reviews often become the deciding factor for a consumer, thus being a key driver behind conversions.
- Reviews make your brand appear more trustworthy, helping consumers with their decision-making process.
- Reviews create another channel for interacting with your customers.
- Reviews can improve your local SEO rankings. Search engines boost the rankings of companies that have a big number of genuine reviews.
- Reviews drive word-of-mouth marketing, helping bring consumers to the doorstep.
Reviews don’t just affect the consumers’ decision-making process, they streamline your digital marketing efforts and improve your online presence.
4 Reasons to Generate Local Reviews for Digital Profiles and How to Do It
Besides improving your marketing efforts and boosting customer experience, reviews in your digital profile can bring you more revenue naturally.
1. Build Trust With Clients
A good variety and number of reviews don’t just help clients with the decision-making process. It shows that your products and services are in high demand. That’s why it’s imperative to keep your digital profile in top condition.
Poor profile maintenance (outdated information, errors) can lead customers to believe that their comments might stay unread. This could prevent them from leaving reviews.
The Power of Replies
Make sure to reply to each review left in your digital profiles, good or bad. By doing that, you are showing your care for the customer and willingness to make changes if something goes wrong. Avoid generic replies. Each one should be deep, thoughtful, and personal.
2. Increase In-Store Traffic
Reviews drive consumers to choose your location over another one even if the competition is closer. A customer is ready to travel extra miles in order to get higher quality. (Can’t find the resource?)
The more positive reviews you can generate for your store, the better shot you have at attracting a new segment of the target audience. You can expand the outreach beyond your local area to nearby towns or even states.
While a customer is still inside your store, make sure they notice how valuable reviews are to your company. Give them an opportunity to leave a review on the spot. Otherwise, they may simply forget.
(maybe an image of how stores use QR codes to ask for reviews? Like this one)
Take advantage of QR codes for Google My Business reviews. You can place them anywhere in the store, from walls to receipts.
3. Improve Promotional Effort
Customer reviews help you analyze consumer behavior. Some items that are popular in one store may not be popular in another and vice versa. You could use existing reviews to gather information about product popularity and use it to adjust your marketing efforts for each location.
With reviews, you can increase brand awareness and gain loyal customers even before you drive a sale through. Positive reviews guide the buyer’s intent in the right direction. When they walk into your store, they are already inclined to buy.
Make It Easy
Customers are more likely to leave a review when your store is easy to find online. Optimizing digital profiles and responding to reviews on the customers’ platform of choice increases your visibility.
Meanwhile, you should remember that not all your clients are tech-savvy. Consider giving out flyers that explain how they can leave a review step-by-step.
4. Build Brand Equity
Positive reviews can help you increase profit margins. They allow you to create a highly positive brand image, which in turn can reflect on the prices you charge for products or services.
For example, when Apple releases a new iPhone, millions of people all over the world line up to buy it even though the smartphone is priced higher than similar products provided by other brands. The reason for Apple’s success lies in brand equity.
The more positive reviews you collect, the higher your brand equity is. While it won’t happen overnight, with time, these reviews can allow you to raise prices without losing loyal clients.
Local reviews are an integral part of your digital profile optimization strategy. By generating sufficient reviews, you can drive online and in-store traffic while boosting rankings, brand awareness, and company reputation.
Today, nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a decision to buy. By incorporating them into your digital marketing strategy, you can stay ahead of the competition and improve the company’s bottom line.
Automate your digital experience with Synup today and bring more clients to your doorstep. Book a demo now!