Online Reviews: Why They Matter for Your Home Service Business
05 Feb 2016
Imagine investing in a long-term SEO strategy and watching your HVAC business’s name rise higher and higher in Google’s rankings.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer. You search for a local HVAC company, and you notice the business that pops up at the top of the list. At the same time the search results appear, you see a summary of online reviews. You see a subpar rating and a few negative comments and immediately bypass that company in spite of its high search rank.
Does this sound familiar? It should, because consumers increasingly are using online reviews to drive their purchasing decisions. This gives reviews the power to make or break local businesses. Read on to learn more about why these reviews matter for your local SEO and how you can put them to work for your HVAC business.
The Value of Online Reviews
If you don’t already take the armchair critics of the Internet seriously, here’s why you should. According to Dimensional Research, 90 percent of customers say that online reviews affect their buying decisions. Likewise, Cone research found that four out of every five consumers have changed their minds about a purchase based only on a negative online review.
As a result, online reviews can prove invaluable to your HVAC company. For one, consumers place more trust in online reviews than they do in statements directly from a business. In fact, Cone research found that 89 percent of consumers trust online channels for accurate product and service reviews. Second, no matter how much you invest in Internet marketing, your SEO rankings will suffer if you don’t harness the power of online reviews.
In fact, according to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews account for about 10 percent of how search engines rank results. Not to mention the fact that, when consumers Google the keywords related to your business, they’ll see reviews pop up along with results. If those reviews aren’t positive, they can easily steer customers toward other HVAC companies.
How to Get Positive Online Reviews
One Harvard Business School study found that, in Yelp reviews for restaurants, a one-star increase led to a corresponding five-to-nine-percent increase in revenue. So what’s the secret to glowing Internet reviews? Here are a few tips:
- Start with your existing reviews. Address any issues your customers already have – you’d be surprised at how many companies fail to monitor their reviews.
- Establish your online presence on social media. Soliciting customers for reviews may put them off. Instead, make your presence known on Facebook and Twitter. The reviews will come naturally if you do.
- Connect personally with negative reviewers. Responding publicly (and specifically) to bad reviews may make your company look defensive, so a personal approach that takes the conversation offline is going to be better every time.
Avoiding Review Scandals
Whatever you do, avoid the temptation of posting or soliciting false reviews. Just last fall, Amazon sued more than 1,000 people the company claimed posted fake reviews on its site. For its own part, Google has long warned businesses to avoid generating fake reviews.
If you solicit reviews from your customers, remember that you can’t offer goods or services as a reward for the reviews. Instead, try to incentivize your customers to review by focusing on customer service and engaging with them online.
Juggling all of the facets of online media that it takes to generate positive reviews requires a lot of effort, skill, and manpower. LeadBuilder can offer your HVAC business the requisite tools to monitor online reviews, manage your responses to them, and ensure that your stellar reputation is well-known in your local community and beyond. Put your online reputation in our hands today, and see how powerful a managed, monitored Web presence can be for your business.
Krystina Lisi is s Local Search Strategist at Mediagistic. She’s an Internet enthusiast with a passion for Google Maps, YouTube, and Social Media. She also is an amateur photographer and Netflix binge-watcher who enjoys 90s sitcoms and sketch comedy. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @krystinalisi.