Online reviews matter for small businesses. Good reviews can take your business to another level, but bad reviews are expected to cripple a business. When it comes to online reviews, it may actually be quantity over quality according to a study by Womply. Womply found businesses with over 200 reviews earn twice as much as the average firm.
Womply, a San Francisco based small business software company, used data from more than 200,000 businesses across the country. They found that roughly 4 out of 5 reviews are positive. The shocking news was negative reviews didn't necessarily mean a loss in revenue, and surprisingly, 5-star ratings didn't necessarily yield more revenue.
Based on their research, the three most important things were: having more reviews, recent reviews, and frequent responses. What was surprising was that, according to Womply, businesses that have up to 50% negative reviews online earn nearly the same as the average business (20% negative). Businesses that respond to more than 20% of their reviews earn over 40% more than those that don't respond at all.
Based on these data, it's more important to interact with those who review you than it is for them to like you. It seems odd, but that's what the data say. And, when you come to think of it, maybe it doesn't. It may just be human nature. If someone took the time to write you a note, you'd probably take the time to reply. People seem to respect that.
We are often reluctant to ask for reviews out of fear of someone saying something negative, but these data show that those fears are mostly unfounded. Reviews negative or positive provide an opportunity to improve your business and have a better handle on quality control.
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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