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Why you need reviews to grow your service business
Marketing

Why you need reviews to grow your service business

Online reviews are one of the most affordable ways to grow your service business. In this quick guide, we'll show you why they're so important and how to make them work for you.

Ciari Luna
April 5, 2022

Effectively growing a small business typically requires a significant investment in both time and money. If you find that you have more time than money to market your business, then reviews and testimonials are a great area to invest. First, let's start with the basics: what's the difference between reviews and testimonials?

What is a review?

A customer review is a written or spoken comment given by someone to share their experience with a product or service. A review can be either positive or negative.

What is a testimonial?

Testimonials are positive endorsements from past customers. Testimonials can come from reviews, but the primary purpose of a testimonial is to recommend your business (not just review it).

Why are reviews and testimonials so important?

Reviews are one of the best–and cheapest–ways to promote your business. In fact, research shows that 93% of consumers read reviews (good and bad), and businesses with online reviews have up to 3.5 times more sales than those without. Why are reviews so impactful?

Reviews can make your business look bigger than it is

People are naturally drawn to businesses that already have a lot of customers, which can be a challenge for new businesses. Thankfully, online reviews are a great opportunity to make your business appear bigger than it is. Most people assume that online reviews only represent a fraction of a business' total customers (which is true for most established businesses), and you can take advantage of this. If you get a review from 100% of your early customers, people will assume that the total number of customers you've had is anywhere from 50%-100% higher than it really is. This is why reviews are particularly important in the early stages of your business.

Reviews establish trust

Reviews and testimonials establish trust, which is very important to new service businesses. Reviews (both positive and negative) provide important social proof that helps potential customers evaluate your business. As a general rule, the more expensive or personal your service is, the more important reviews become. For example: consumers place more importance on reviews for pet services than they do for grocery stores.

Reviews give you instant customer feedback

Reviews enable you to gather real-time feedback from your customers, which you can use to improve your overall customer experience. Feedback is vital because it allows you to measure customer satisfaction, adjust your products and services, and ultimately make better business decisions. Getting customer feedback and using it to quickly pivot your business in response to your customers' needs is one of your best tools for growth.

Reviews contribute to your search engine optimization (SEO)

If you run a local business (i.e. a business that operates in a physical location, as opposed to online) then a Google Business Page is the best choice for your online review platform. Google business reviews show up on both Google Search and Google Maps, so they're widely accessible. To determine which businesses show up at the top of the search results, Google uses 3 criteria:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence

Of these three categories, prominence is where reviews come in. From Google: "Prominence refers to how well known a business is... Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business' local ranking."

Since nobody can pay for increased ranking on Google, focusing your efforts on building organic prominence can have significant payoffs for your local business, even on a small budget.

Why are bad reviews just as important as good reviews?

The first negative review you encounter will likely be a very jarring experience. But what if we told you that this negative review is actually a useful tool to grow your business? Here's how to make a a bad review work for you:

  1. Take the opportunity to showcase your customer relationship management skills. A negative review is a perfect opportunity to show that you care about your customers, and that you take their feedback seriously. Negative reviews should always be acknowledged publicly, in a polite and respectful tone.
  2. Use the feedback to improve your product or service. A bad review is a golden piece of information that you can use to take actionable steps towards improving your business.
  3. Appreciate the authenticity that a negative review provides. Consumers tend to be wary of businesses that only have positive reviews. Having the occasional negative review (with your public response) gives your business a layer of authenticity and can actually help establish trust with potential customers.

How do you ask for reviews and testimonials?

There are several ways to get your customers to leave reviews for your business. The first thing you need to do is pick a platform for collecting your reviews. In general:

  • Google Business Pages are best for local businesses and for increasing your organic search performance
  • Facebook Pages are best for businesses that are active on social media or trying to build an online community
  • Industry-specific pages (Houzz, Angi) are best if you're already using those platforms for advertising or lead generation

Once you've chosen a review platform, here are our recommendations for getting a steady stream of positive reviews:

  • Gauge your customer's satisfaction before asking them for a review. Look for hints that they enjoyed their experience: they thanked you profusely, they mentioned something specific that they enjoyed, or they're already talking about future bookings.
  • Ask for the review right after you've completed the service. If you wait too long to ask for a review, your customers will forget important details and may be less likely to share their experience.
  • Make it extremely simple for your customers to review you. Send them a direct link via email or text (or both) so they don't have to go looking for your review site.
  • Add a small incentive, such as a discount on a future service, in exchange for their time and effort.

And if you want to automate gathering reviews for your business, you can check out Durable's Review Automation tool.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ciari Luna

Ciari is the Marketing Coordinator at Durable and a small business owner herself, having been a successful Makeup Artist since 2014. She's worked in commercial, film, and television and knows the challenges of running a small business.

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