Times have changed in the last 10 years for local businesses.  The number of consumers that looks at flyers, take notice of billboards, or reads through the penny savers have gone down dramatically.  Most of what influences purchases for local business is word of mouth, and those words are available at the touch of a button on the internet.  Marketing companies like BrightLocal have taken the time to survey consumers on their purchasing behavior, and what they have found may be shocking to you.

84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

Imagine yourself at lunchtime.  As you are walking down the street looking for something to eat, a person walks up to you and says “If you are hungry you should try the Turkey Club at the XYZ Deli two blocks down.”  You might say “Thank you” as you hurriedly walk away from the oddly friendly stranger.  However if someone is searching on their phone for somewhere close by to eat, and a customer review comes up with 5 stars and that exact same comment, most people will trust that recommendation as if it came from a friend or colleague!

90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business

Consumers have a lot of options and not a lot of time to figure out which one is best.  It’s important to take notice of what people are saying about your business online.  A new customer is going to make a decision about your business fast, so the more positive reviews about you there are, the more likely that quick decision will benefit you.

73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant

Change is happening all of the time, and it’s happening faster and faster.  People are aware of this.  They are looking for up-to-date information in order to make the best decision.  As a business it’s important to have a consistent influx of reviews.  If you see that it’s been a while since you’ve had customer feedback, start a campaign to get some fresh recommendations.

7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to

Trying to figure out how to get customers to leave a review about your business?  Apparently all it takes is asking!  Request and remind your customers to leave reviews of your products or services as it could have a big influence on your future customers.

74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

Trust is at the core of all relationships.  This includes the relationship between a business and it’s customers.  It used to be that companies would have to spend time and money through marketing campaigns in order to gain trust.  Now all it takes is quality feedback from happy customers in order to gain an edge in the marketplace.

With information being exchanged quickly and constantly across the internet, customer satisfaction is incredibly important.  A positive review from your customer can be as helpful as a negative review can be detrimental.  The best way to grow your business is to make sure that consumers love what you do so much that they want to tell others just how great you are.