The Importance of Online Reviews

Online reviews, even for small businesses are so important in terms of getting your brand noticed online, and driving new customers. Even if you think online advertising methods are irrelevant to your business, perhaps your clients are mostly local foot traffic, you would be surprised at the difference online reviews can make to the way businesses are viewed by the public.

Content included in online reviews such as google, trip advisor and Facebook can be a major factor in the success or failure of a business. Companies in the Hotel or Restaurant business can be affected massively by reviews, even if your company does not directly interact or rely on them, the affect they can have on current and potential future customers is massive. Statistics have shown, that positive comments from customers or clients can produce an average sales increase of up to 18%, and that customers are likely to spend on average 31% more because of reading positive reviews. In contrast, statistics have also shown that 22% of customers will not buy from a company after reading just one negative review, and a company with over four negative reviews or comments are likely to lose 70% of potential customers.

Similarly, if a company has no reviews, this can also ring alarm bells for potential customers- how are they to base their assumptions on a company that has no feedback from previous customers? By finding very little or even no information on a company, customers are made to feel apprehensive on whether or not to trust your company. Users nowadays use smartphones as part of every day life, so you can be sure they are googling your business to find out about you, before deciding to purchase your product or service. Make sure you are providing them with an accurate, positive depiction of your business, to encourage as many sales as possible- even if you don’t think your business is targeting online audiences, who’s to say online audiences aren’t targeting you?

As well as online reviews, simply just being present online can be a huge benefit to businesses of all sizes and industries, due to the fact that users nowadays are constantly online. If you want to reach new audiences and customers, you have to be present in the places they are- online. Local online advertising allows businesses to target customers based on their postcodes, so you can still target local people, but in new and exciting ways that are sure to bring a wider variety of customers to your business.

Common Mistakes Made by Start-Ups.

Running a start-up company can be a very exciting task, but also challenging. The first few months of a business are crucial for growth and success, having long term impacts on the performance of your company as a whole.

We’ve put together some common mistakes that start-ups often make, which can have detrimental effects on the companies as they try and grow.

Firstly, market research is the key, so businesses who slack in this part often struggle further on down the line. It’s all very well having a great idea, but the way to turn that idea into a great business is with thorough market research. This research ensures that your idea will fit into the desired market, and if it doesn’t, your research will allow you to change your idea so that it does.

Secondly, all too often start-up companies try to force a model on themselves, because it has worked for other companies, even though it doesn’t suit their company or product. Just because something was successful for a similar company to yours, it doesn’t mean you will see the same successes as these companies. For example, particularly with quick trends, these may work In favour for products developed by companies similar to yours, but then when you come to develop a product, that trend might not be as popular, so you won’t see success building from this in the same way. Focus on the long term- what do your customers need and how are you going to provide them with it?

Once you know who your target market is, and exactly what your product is offering, this is the ideal time to invest in a small online marketing campaign, to build a following of customers who will be with you throughout the process. SeeLocal is an online advertising platform which allows businesses of any size to run and monitor advertising campaigns across a variety of online networks from one easy to use platform. Using online advertising that focuses on the local area is a great way to build up a name for your business locally before branching out nationwide or internationally.

You are likely to get a large amount of positive feedback from family, friends and colleagues when starting your business, but it is important that you don’t bank on these positive notes and overvalue them. Ultimately, until people are actually buying your product, it doesn’t matter how much positive feedback you get from anyone, that is all you are left with until you begin to see consistent sales and profit.

Poor hiring decisions can drastically affect a start-up business, by not taking on staff who genuinely care about the growth of the business and want to see it thrive. Take notice of references given (or not given) and gather what you can about the person, if they are unable or choose not to provide references from previous employers, ask yourself why? Those who do provide references, and who those references provide positive feedback, are always a sign of  hard workers who maintain good relationships with past employers.

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes start-ups make in the early stages is trying to scale up before they are ready. The best way to tell if you are ready to move onto the next thing in your company, is to evaluate if what you are doing is fixing a problem, by providing a valuable service that your customers are hiring you for? If not, keep building on this as a foundation before taking on any further growth in new areas.