Benefits Of Online Reviews
Consumers often use online review websites to help them make purchasing decisions. They mostly use reviews to learn more about the quality of specific products and services. However, they also use online reviews to check how trustworthy a business is or to discover highly-rated businesses that are located nearby.
Many businesses have responded to this trend by encouraging their customers to leave reviews and employing reputation management services. But how important are online reviews and what benefits do they provide? Let’s take a closer look.
The importance of online reviews to consumers
Here are a few statistics to give you an idea of how much online reviews matter to consumers:
- It is estimated that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 97% of people read reviews for local businesses
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars on a rating website
- 80% of 18-34 year olds have written online reviews
- Consumers need to read an average of 10 reviews before feeling that a local business is trustworthy
It’s easy to see that online reviews have become extremely popular amongst consumers in the past few years. This trend is only expected to continue in the near future.
What are the benefits of online reviews for businesses?
Aside from helping customers learn more about your business and its offerings, there are several additional benefits gained from online reviews:
An improvement to search engine optimisation
Adding online reviews to your own website can have a dramatic impact on your business’ organic search rankings. Every time a review is added to your website for a specific product or service, it increases the amount of unique web content that your site has for that item. This increases the perceived relevance and authority of your website from the perspective of search engines.
It is also possible to format the reviews on your website so search engines use the content as answers for user queries. This will help you achieve rankings for additional long tail queries that are often in a question-answer format. Search engines like Google often rank content in this format above normal search results, which means reviews could help you dominate certain search engine queries.
The reviews that are placed on third party review websites also provide SEO benefits to your business’ web site. Google’s search algorithm uses data from third party review websites like Tripadvisor, Yelp, Trustpilot, Google MyBusiness, and Which? to determine the authority and relevancy of a business.
The more positive reviews you have on these review sites, the more likely it is that you will rank in Google’s 3-pack, which are the businesses listed above standard search engine results. External reviews may also be included as rich snippets relating to your business.
Ask yourself why
Let’s start with the most basic question: Why do you want to start a startup? The answer to this question will help you decide what kind of business you are interested in starting.
Do you want to earn a little extra money on the side or do you intend to create a large-scale business? Is it all about money or is do you want to improve the world in some way?
Once you have answered the “why” question, reflect on your own capabilities:
• Do you have a valuable skillset that you could use to create a successful startup?
• What are you passionate about?
• Are you ready to be an entrepreneur or are you risk averse?
• How much capital can you raise?
• How much time do you have available?
The answers to these questions will help you decide if an idea for a startup could be successful.
Develop your idea
You may already have an idea in mind. If you do, re-assess its viability given the answers to the questions in step one. Hopefully it still makes sense. If you don’t have an idea, it’s time to start brainstorming. Some strategies which may help you come up with an idea include:
Identify problems that need fixing
Look for problems that can be fixed with a new of technology, a new invention or a new service.
Can you make something better?
Is there a current product or service that is very outdated? Can you make it better, faster, or cheaper?
How is technology advancing?
Is there a cutting edge technology that will become widely adopted in coming years? Can you develop a new product using that technology or can you advance the technology itself?
Can you make people’s live easier or more enjoyable?
Can you think of a product or service that simply makes people’s lives better?
Research your idea
Once you have one or more ideas that you love, it’s time to research its viability. Your research will need to uncover the answers to questions like:
• Are other businesses already selling a similar item?
• Could you make it faster, cheaper or better?
• Would the target market be receptive to your idea?
• Can you offer the product/service at a reasonable price?
• Are there any technical hurdles you need to worry about?
• How could the product be manufactured? What other costs involved?
• Is the market for this product or service growing or in decline?
• Will you need the help of other people to create it?
• Are there any existing patent which you need to be concerned about?
• How will you protect your own intellectual property?
• What additional costs will be involved, for marketing, taxes, permits and so on.
This great article identifies some of the ways to perform research.
Get feedback from others
If your research suggests that your startup is viable, ask a few trusted people for their opinions. They will be able to give you useful feedback and may even have some ideas for improving the startup you are developing.
Write a business plan
This is a critical step that too many entrepreneurs skip. You need to create a comprehensive business plan that explains what your business does and where it is headed. This document must include things like:
• An executive summary of the business
• A comprehensive business description
• Marketing strategies
• Competitive analysis
• Business development plan
• Operations plan
• Business management plan
• Financial plan
This article from Quick Sprout is a great introduction to writing startup business plans.
Setup the business
It’s now time to get some of the boring stuff out of the way. You will need to:
• Define a business structure (company, partnership, sole trader etc)
• Decide on a business name
• Register your business
• Open a bank account
• Get any necessary permits
• Apply for any trademarks, copyrights, and patents
• Setup taxation details
• Setup a website, social media profiles
• Develop your brand
If you don’t have enough capital to launch the startup yourself, you will need to secure it from other people. This is where having a business plan really comes in handy — you can use it to prove to others that your business is viable. Some popular ways to source startup capital include:
• Ask friends and family to invest
• Obtain a business grant
• Get a bank loan
• Start a crowdfunding campaign
• Ask angel investors for help
• Find a partner with the necessary capital
• Join a startup incubator that offers free resources
• Talk to venture capital investors
Build your team and get to work
Once you have secured some funding, you can building your startup. This will involve several steps which usually includes hiring specialist employee, creating prototypes, lodging additional patents, developing your product or service, testing, working with manufacturers, and so on.
Launch your startup
Finally, you can launch your startup. Depending on the nature of your business, this may involve hiring more staff and opening a physical store. A strong marketing strategy will be required to launch successfully, which will include one or more of the following: content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, advertising in traditional media, online advertising, and search engine optimisation. You can then gradually grow a customer base and learn if your startup is going to turn into a successful business.
Thanks for reading A Guide For Startups. For more information on running a successful startup, give us a call on 0207 998 4197 and we’d be happy to help you get the ball rolling.
We are a digital agency creating outstanding user experiences that deliver results from initial strategy to creation.
Our diverse team of specialists see things differently, fancy working with us? Get in touch by following the button below and let's get started.