“Did you know that there are 3.5 billion searches performed every day on Google? That means that no matter your line of work, people are searching for your business online. The above is true even if you’re a teeny tiny business.” Source
Check out these searches. Every month 1, 100 potential customers search for “dentist Toronto”.
Or people who search in a smaller city like Winnipeg for a dentist.
Or those who are searching for a different type of services. Maybe they need a plumber.
You get the point. There are a lot of people searching for all kinds of services every single month.
So whats the difference between your business ranking at the top of a Google search in your local area and total obscurity?
Google believes your customers more than it believes you. If customers are raving about your business, this signals to Google that your business is the best, most relevant result for that particular search query.
This is what they call "user-generated content", something very important to Google, as a study was done with 200,000 businesses across 163 million transactions, and businesses that used UGC converted 161% more than businesses who are not using UGC.
Nail the process of receiving reviews from your customers, and you have built an incredibly lucrative source of new customers, from the biggest search engine in the world.
5 Reasons you need online reviews to survive and thrive.
1. Perfectly competitive market.
What distinguishes a highly profitable dental practice or plumbing company from a not so profitable one? They might all be as motivated, talented, and ambitious.
Economics offers some insight into what most small businesses fall under. This is called a “perfectly competitive market”. This is when small businesses compete solely on price, and have little differentiation between both services.
How can small businesses get out of this “perfectly competitive market”?
The second economic model is what’s called a “monopolistic competition”. This differs from perfectly competitive market in the sense that customers perceive your services offered to be different, and there is no substitute.
Meaning the business can earn sustainable extra normal profits. 💸🤑
So.. How do you do this? Which elements sustain a businesses extra normal profits?
Reviews. It’s important to gain a perception advantage over competing small businesses in your industry.
The starting point for earning super normal profits is differentiating your businesses from that of your competition in your customers minds, and prospective customers minds.
2. Paying for insanely expensive Ads that may either get you new customers or help your competitors get new customers.
Many of your prospects most certainly turn to Google when they are looking for your services. Google Adwords, and many other types of advertising is still very effective. It can put you in front of your audience in a very hyper-targeted way.
What small business owners forget, is that they may be advertising, spending all their money only to have their competitors get the business.
Prospects research their problem or service they are looking for. You come up. Only problem is you don’t have hundreds of positive customers raving about you like the businesses below you.
here is another example..
The average prospect, let’s face it, is just flat out more comfortable choosing a company where tons of other people have already had a great experience with. 88% of people trust online reviews as much are they trust a recommendation from a friend or family member.
I still hear dental practices and tons of other small businesses advertising on the radio only to research their business, and see they have 16 reviews, and a 3.2 star rating....
It’s not about what you say about your business. If you are just running Ads, then you can guarantee competitors are eclipsing you.
Now I'm not saying don't use paid online advertising or traditional advertising like radio. But if you don't have a solid online reputation you may just be blowing money out the window. Getting tons of positive reviews, to complement your digital or traditional marketing efforts will ensure you're putting your advertising dollars to good use.
3. GMB optimization and reviews make up for 41% of the local ranking factors.
Optimizing your Google My Business profile and getting reviews for your business make up of a staggering 41% of the local ranking factors. Ya, you read that correctly.
What that means is if a prospect searches locally for your services you will rank higher, and ultimately get more new customers.
A lot of small business, don’t even have a Google My Business profile. It's hands down the best free marketing tool out there!
Simply setting up your account, adding your business under the right categories, and adding some great photos will put you on the map and in front of thousands of new customers.
Getting reviews will back up that you are indeed a reputable business, but also skyrocket you ranking on Google when someone locally searches for your industry or services.
4. There is a 75% correlation between Google's “Snack Pack” and having your website rank on the 1st page of organic searches
Here is a search for "Edmonton dentists".
You will notice that there are 2 major results here.
The Google “Snack Pack”
Google’s regular organic search results just below
What is the “Snack pack”? (Also known as the “Google map pack” "local-pack")
“Google Snack Pack is a boxed area that appears on the first results page when a local online search is made through Google's search engine. The amount of clicks and online traffic that is generated inside of the Snack Pack area is substantially higher than websites that are listed outside of it.” (Source)
It makes sense since customers want to connect and buy from local businesses that appear to be well known and established.
Protip: notice that the 2nd and 3rd links in the Organic results sections are both review platforms, Yelp (general review platform) and RateMD’s (Dental niche review platform). This is a sneaky and very affordable way to get your business noticed, and be at the top of certain lists like "best dentists in Edmonton".
So, if you rank well in the" local pack" or "snack pack" it's also found that you will rank well in the organic search results.
Key takeaway: if you serious about generating high local traffic for your business, it pays to rank in both sections.
5. Your competitors are already stealing your business by doing it
Well this picture is self explanatory, I hope. Whatever type of local business you have, whether, dental, plumbing, auto repair, pest control, (you get the point) if you're not getting reviews, you're not ranking. If you're not ranking, you're simply missing out on a ton of new customers.
Consider yourself your customer for a few minutes.
Would you choose a business with a 3.7 star rating over a 5 star rating?
Would you choose a business with a 5 star rating with a few reviews or a 4.8 star with 473 reviews?
Would you choose a business running Google Ad’s with little-to-no reviews or the business just below it with a proven track record, and has shown that they have hundreds of happy customers and positive reviews?
After answering these questions, it should be helpful in understanding that your prospective customers are going to be attracted to businesses that have tons of positive online reviews, have quality reviews, and have consistent and recent reviews.
6. Paid search doesn't get the results you may think, and can be as low as 6% of clicks for a search
Let's have a look at the same examples shown above and who is actually clicking on paid advertising vs the "Snack Pack" and "Organic results".
In this example you can see the distribution of clicks from paid and organic searches, and showcases the clear dominance of organic searches. 10% of people click on paid advertising and 90% of people click on organic search results looking for a dentist in Toronto.
Here is another example of a search for plumbers in Calgary. Showcasing that almost 90% of the clicks go to organic and snack pack results.
Simply paying your way to the top isn't even close to as effective, especially without having a solid online reputation attached to it.
There are a ton of statistics showing that most people by-pass the ads all together. This study in particular shows that only 6% of clicks on average go to paid search.
Ranking in Google's 'Snack Pack' and organic searches by getting tons of positive reviews also suggests to your prospects that you are a leader in your niche, and can do wonders for improving brand credibility and getting new customers on autopilot.
Okay so far we have just been talking about generalities, and haven't shown you some case studies to back it up.
Here are a few cases, that prove the value of reviews.
Here shows that in a year Deer Valley Dental Centre was able to increase their organic search traffic by 162%, and increase their Maps search by 53% and convert 13% more new patients. Another big thing to notice is that they went from a 3.4 to a 4.4 star rating increase.
In a Harvard Business School study they showed that a 1 star increase can increase the bottom line of a business from 5-9%.
If you're researching for your top competitors, 'local falcon' is a great tool. It also shows where you rank on the snack pack, and local rankings. The image above shows how well we were able to rank this dental practice. When someone now searches for a dentist within 1km and out, they are at the top of the Google snack pack, and therefore receive a good majority of the website clicks, and new business.
Let's compare a couple businesses in close proximity. Here is another dental practice near Deer Valley Dental, Lake Bonavista Dental. As of right now they don't rank very well as you can see they rank outside the top 20+ spots when prospects search for a dentists in that area.
Here is proof. This shows Lake Bonavista Dental (blue pin) and Deer Valley Dental (the pin with the #1 spot). With 20 other dental practices in that area, the goal is to get your practice found online in the top 3-5 positions. There lays the digital real estate that get all the website visitors and ultimately new patients! 💰
Using Chekkit, our competitive analysis feature, automatically monitors and keeps track of where your business ranks in comparison with your top competitors in the area, and in the city.
Here is another great example.
Greenwoods Dental looked like a typical dental practice online but they were anything but, with one of the best dentists in the city. Now that their reviews match how great of a dental practice they are and how fantastic their team is, getting new patients has been a breeze.
Here is a look from 1km in any direction, Greenwoods Dental shows up at the top of the Google Snack Pack.
Google’s “Snack Pack” and organic search is where thousands of prospects are already looking and more importantly where consumers make their buying decisions. If you’re not there, your potential customers are finding your competitors instead.
Generating online reviews is a sure fire way to get found online, and be the obvious choice.