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Whether reviews come by word of mouth, friend referrals, online screeds or written letters, any small business owner knows that they are important to a successful company. But are online reviews as important as some internet experts claim that they are?

All signs point to yes. See, while you might think that because you work with a regular roster of loyal clientele you don’t need online reviews, this can be a very shortsighted frame of mind. Did you know that studies show that 84% of consumers trust online reviews? This is a huge percentage that you cannot afford to ignore.

Online reviews are more important than ever

Online reviews on sites such as Yelp, Glassdoor, Trip Advisor, Facebook and Trust Pilot make or break your business. If you don’t sell a tangible product in a physical location, you might write Yelp and Trip Advisor off as irrelevant, but what about Trust Pilot? Surely your services, whatever they may be, could end up being reviewed there. While you might not check these sites, you can be sure that at least a percentage of your prospective clients are.

Still not convinced that online review sites matter to your business? Well, what will happen when you are looking for new employees or freelancers to work for (or with) you? Some of your past employees might have reviewed you on Glassdoor or similar platforms. Online review sites aren’t as useless as they might seem.

Bad reviews are bad, but no reviews can be worse!

It’s pretty clear that you want to acquire positive reviews and try to avoid negative ones, but there is more to the equation. Having no reviews can be equally detrimental to your business. As soon as a consumer (or potential employee) hears about your business, they are likely to head straight to Google.

Now that everyone has a smartphone in his or her hand seemingly 24/7, this online search might happen faster than you think.

Remember – even just a few positive reviews about your company will make most people trust your business.

Fake reviews are worst of all

So, we have now established that good reviews are best and that having no reviews can be just as bad as negative reviews. Does that mean that you should run out to start buying fake reviews? Absolutely not. No matter how tempting it might seem to wake up to hundreds of gushing new reviews on your online platforms, this is the very worst thing you can do.

Why? Well, your clients will be able to spot them – people are very savvy these days about recognising fake reviews, and nothing will turn them off more. In addition to repelling your potential customers, you could run afoul of the online platforms themselves, earning your business a lifetime ban. Fake reviews – just say no.

Recognising that online reviews are a big part of today’s business climate is step one towards a healthier Internet presence and a healthier future bottom line. Now get out there and start earning those reviews!

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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