How to use Google reviews to increase your revenue in 2019 – A Local Buzz

How to use Google reviews to increase your revenue in 2019

My aha moment came when my husband and I were planning our annual backpacking trip.  He needed a new sleeping bag and was shopping on Amazon.    He brought his laptop into my office and asked “What do you think about this sleeping bag?  I really like it but there aren’t any reviews.  The other one has lots of reviews.”.  Now I should add – since you don’t know my husband – he was the last person in the city to get a smartphone.  And here he was - shopping on Amazon rather than driving a mile and a half to REI. And using reviews as his buying criteria.

So the important of online reviews isn’t just conversation happening in my marketing world – it’s conversation happening everywhere – online reviews are affecting buying decisions.

But by how much? Just how much do your online reviews impact your bottom line? In this article I’m giving you 4 scenarios with calculations to help you determine the impact reviews (Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews...) will have on your bottom line.

The first thing to realize is that 93% of consumers now actively read online business reviews.

93% read online reviews

Online Reviews Affect Customer Spend

In this scenario prospective customers search online for your category.

According to marketingland customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews.  

Customers spend how much more if excellent Google reviews?

During our backpacking trip we came into town for dinner a couple of times.  We had never been to Three Rivers so each time we came into town we searched online for a restaurant.  According to marketingland, we were likely to spend 31% more at a restaurant with “excellent” reviews.   

We  had spotted a Mexican restaurant on our way through town a few days earlier and that was our first choice.  But when we looked online for the address we came across the Google reviews for the restaurant and we discovered other diners said the wait was long.  And we were starving.  We chose a sandwich shop which wouldn’t have been appealing as we were starving and wanted more than a sandwich.  But the reviewers left Google reviews raving about the food, specifically mentioning the large portions.  We spent $30 on sandwiches for two.  

How much revenue did your business generate last year?

2017 Revenue =

Now multiply that number by 1.31.  If you had done nothing differently except execute on a consistent review strategy, your revenue could have been (2017 Revenue * 1.31).

OK perhaps you spent a bit of time and money getting those reviews or marketing them.  So multiply by 1.28.

Some of your customers are repeat customers from last year?  Multiply by 1.20.

Due to excellent Google reviews, you make 20-31% percent MORE in 2018 than 2017.  You make that extra revenue because you have a review process in place AND faithfully execute it.

In Scenario #1, our client increased their revenue by 20% by implementing a faithful online review strategy.

During our backpacking trip we came into town for dinner a couple of times.  We had never been to Three Rivers so each time we came into town we searched online for a restaurant.  According to marketingland, we were likely to spend 31% more at a restaurant with “excellent” reviews.   

We  had spotted a Mexican restaurant on our way through town a few days earlier and that was our first choice.  But when we looked online for the address we came across the Google reviews for the restaurant and we discovered other diners said the wait was long.  And we were starving.  We chose a sandwich shop which wouldn’t have been appealing as we were starving and wanted more than a sandwich.  But the reviewers left Google reviews raving about the food, specifically mentioning the large portions.  We spent $30 on sandwiches for two.  

How much revenue did your business generate last year?

2017 Revenue =

Now multiply that number by 1.31.  If you had done nothing differently except execute on a consistent review strategy, your revenue could have been (2017 Revenue * 1.31).

OK perhaps you spent a bit of time and money getting those reviews or marketing them.  So multiply by 1.28.

Some of your customers are repeat customers from last year?  Multiply by 1.20.

Due to EXCELLENT Google reviews, you make 20-31% percent MORE in 2018 than 2017.  You make that extra revenue because you have a review process in place AND faithfully execute it.

In Scenario #1, our client increased their revenue by 20% by implementing a faithful online review strategy.

Google Reviews Make Your Groupon Ads More Profitable

In Scenario #2, you run a Groupon ad.  Now you may know that I am not a fan of Groupon as a marketing strategy. (Groupon is a great prospecting tool for me though, so if you see a business you know advertising on Groupon, I’d like a referral.)

But let’s say you run a Groupon ad.

Did you know 73% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more?

73% trust business more with good reviews


This dentist ran a Groupon ad for teeth whitening.  You can see that – as of this printing – they had 193 people take up their offer.

Dentist on Groupon benefits reviews


We know that Groupon has between a 2-5% takeup on their offers.  So for 210 to buy we can calculate that 4,200 - 10,500 people saw the Groupon page. Let's call that 7,350 people who saw the offer.

Do you know what many Groupon viewers do?  About 20% of them scroll to the bottom of the offer page to the company website.

We calculate that 1,470  people scrolled to the bottom of the page and clicked the dentist’s website.

Imagine if those 1,470 people landed a page  titled “Our Happy Patients” and the page was full of glowing reviews.  How many of those 1,470 prospective dental patients would have bought the Groupon offer?

We know that 72% of respondents to our consumer survey say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.  A dentist is definitely a local business that needs a high level of trust.

If 72% of those 1,470 bought, our dentist would have an additional 1,058 patients!

That’s a bit optimistic you say?  Maybe so.  But heck, our dentist could have nearly doubled his new patients if only 10% of the 1,470 who read his glowing reviews went back and took the Groupon offer. (an additional 147 patients!)

In Scenario #2, our client nearly doubled the number of new patients by having excellent online reviews.

Now it’s your turn.  Get the results from your last marketing campaign.

  1. How many customers did that campaign bring in?  XCustomers
  2. What is the average ticket for each customer? $Customer
  3. That campaign brought in XCustomers * $Customer.
  4. And if you had doubled the number of customers?  2XCustomers * $Customer.

If you don’t actually run measurable marketing campaigns, then use the results from the last quarter’s revenue.  How many new customers did you bring in and what is their average first ticket?

Google Reviews Help Your Local SEO

Scenario #3

You get a referral. Yeah!  Isn’t this what we all want?  For our business to grow by word of mouth.  Let  me tell you the story of the tree guy.

While Google’s exact algorithm for determining which business to show on the coveted first page is not publicly known, Moz.com has calculated that review rankings make up 13% of the google algorithm. Recent calculations show that it isn't only Google reviews that boost your rankings, but all online reviews.

Review signals in google ranking

A few months ago my neighbor Christine asked for a recommendation to a tree guy.  I gave her the business card for the guy who cut down a dead tree in our yard – Bill.  A couple of weeks later I saw some guys working in her yard – only it wasn’t Bill’s crew.  She said she lost his card but thought she remembered his name and searched online.  There were sooo many tree guys.  She saw Will and Mr. Hill and even Jill.  She wasn’t going to call them up and asked if they knew me so she picked one based on the Google reviews.  My recommendation didn’t even show up on the list.  (He wasn’t a client at the time as he told me all his business came from “word of mouth”.

MOZ calculated that online reviews factor in 13% of how search ranking is determined. Furthermore, IF you have made the list, once users scan the list of results, your aggregate reviews (i.e. your star rating) will affect their decision to click or not in just seconds. And if a prospective customer does decide to read the Google reviews in depth, they will make their ultimate buying decisions based on them.

This is exactly what happened with my neighbor.  If my tree guy had enough reviews to be shown in the coveted Google Maps section of the page, would Christine have remembered his name?  She knows a lot more people than I do and could refer much more business to him than I could.  But she never got the chance because he didn’t have enough reviews to show up.

In fact, reviews on prominent sites like Yelp have been proven to single-handedly increase rankings for businesses in smaller markets with limited competition. See this empirical study by Mike Blumenthal showing the impact of Yelp reviews on dive bar rankings in Mike’s hometown of Olean, NY.2

It also appears that Google is placing more emphasis on reviews and ratings. They recently took the step to reference reviews and ratings from third-party review sites within the Local Knowledge Panel, alongside reviews from Google My Business/Google+.

This is a significant shift with Google showing that they appreciate the importance and significance of online business reviews.

Online reviews are full of things Google loves: fresh content, relevant keywords, and images published on authoritative sites like Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google itself.

In Scenario #3, not only did my referral miss out on a job, he missed out on doing good work for a potentially great referral source.

Now it’s your turn.  Actually I don’t know what to tell you.  How do you calculate missed opportunity? Let’s give it a try.

Click through rates by page position


Studies indicate that “71.33% of searches resulted in a page 1 Google organic click. Page two and three only get 5.59% of clicks. On the first page alone, the first five results account for 67.60% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%.”

If 100 people search for “tree removal”, 71 of them don’t look past the first page.   If your tree removal business was shown on page 1, instead of being one of #11-20 competing for 11 prospects you are in the 10 businesses competing for 71 prospects.  If I put 71 prospects in front of you, how many would you close?

Yelp Reviews Can Add (or take away) Dollars In Your Pocket

Scenario #4

Can you calculate the value of stars?  You can if they are Yelp stars.

This analysis from Harvard Business School shows that a one star increase on Yelp leads to a 5-9 percent increase in a business' revenue and that one negative review can cost you 30 customers.

I saw this happen with my own eyes.  A couple of years ago I was running Facebook ads for a Valentine’s Day special for a high end restaurant.  Valentine’s Day was on Sunday.  On Friday they failed a health inspection.  This was shocking.  There were some mitigating circumstances that were cleared up within the hour.  Nevertheless by night’s end they had 3! negative Yelp reviews about that inspection. Reservations were cancelled left and right and we pulled the Facebook ad as we couldn’t keep up with the negative comments.

Reviewing our analytics, our paid ad was generating interest in the restaurant – diners were going to Yelp and reading the reviews – and not booking.

Months later and their average Yelp rating had never recovered. The restaurant doesn’t have a review strategy in place.  You can push up the average star rating for your business IF you are willing to commit to it.  Is it worth a 5-9 percent increase in revenue?

A study in the Economic Journal revealed that just an extra half-star rating makes a restaurant 30-49% more likely to be fully booked at peak hours.

92% of Yelp users have made a purchase at a business they have found on Yelp.

92% of browsers made a purchase after reading reviews


74% of consumers searching online for a business START with review sites.


74% of consumers start with reviews

For this scenario, if your business has a 2 star rating on Yelp and we could increase it to a 3 star rating, your business would benefit from a 5-9% increase in revenue.

Compounding your increases from the 4 scenarios

Write down your 2017 revenue.

  1. Multiply your 2017 revenue by 1.20 per scenario #1
  2. In scenario #2, you doubled your results from your latest marketing campaign.  Add this result to the result in #1.
  3. In Scenario #3, your business shows up in the search results due to your strong review campaign.  How many people search for your business every month?   Instead of getting .3 of every 100 searchers, you get 7.1%.  
  4. In scenario #4 if you bring your Yelp rating up by 1 star, you get a 5-9% increase in revenue.   Multiply the number you now have by 7%.

You and I are both aware that these numbers aren’t absolute.  Other factors will come into play.  But this is a good estimate of the financial impact of a solid review campaign.

If you would like a calculator to help you determine where reviews will have the most impact, enter your email address here.

It’s clear now that a consistent review strategy will have a positive impact on your bottom line for 2018.

To get a clear picture of your current review baseline, go here.

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