Better Together: How Pairing Reviews + Listings Combine to Become a Lead-Gen Machine

Pat Johnson

It is widely known that the way consumers discover and select local businesses has undergone significant transformations in recent years. A staggering 60% of local shoppers initiate their search on Google in hopes of quickly finding the option that aligns with their needs and guarantees a positive experience.

Regardless of the exceptional abilities of your sales team, the efficiency of your local operations, or the magnitude of your marketing budget, your online reputation serves as the first – and most critical – impression on potential consumers.

Many marketers translate this reality to simply needing to “get more reviews” or “improve our listing profiles” but prioritizing one or the other only covers half of the online reputation management coin.

Reviews matter – but they aren’t enough on their own.

It should go without saying that reviews are as good as gold for local businesses; they are low cost, high value proof points from former customers that, according to a recent study, are a part of 99% of customers’ evaluation processes. In fact, the best ROI of any marketing channel, according to 49% of marketers, is achieved via organic search fueled by reviews.

Reviews help customers believe your brand promise through the experiences of former customers. Every local business promotes themselves as the perfect solution to a consumer’s needs, but reviews are the trusted proof most need to become leads and, eventually, buyers. 

And yet, research shows that have a high star rating or a large volume of reviews can only do so much without well-curated listings. There are a few reasons for this: 

  1. A high number of quality reviews doesn’t inevitably make a consumer decide to do business with you. More often than not, they will first evaluate your listing for additional information to help decide whether or not to choose your business. 
  2. Listings provide clear ways to contact your business, making your business easier to contact. Google listings offer viewers specific ways to get in contact with your business: in one click they can call or message your business, visit your website, or even get driving directions. Your listings can provide consumers clear calls to action that increase lead conversion and eliminate confusion on next steps.
  3. Google and other listing sites reward complete business profiles with higher search rankings: Listing sites like Google, Bing, and Apple Maps want to give their users the best options first, and they often define “best” as having the most relevant information that someone would need to know about a business before choosing to do business with them. As such, listing completeness is a key factor in listing site algorithms. In fact, complete Google Business Profiles generate 7 times more clicks than incomplete ones. 

Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for a local business on Google: which of the following businesses would you feel more confident in?

All else equal, Business B will more likely gain more interest from consumers and drive more leads to the business.

Consolidate your Reviews & Listings Efforts

Think of a local business’s online listings like a car: even if your car has a top-of-the-line engine, a sleek design, and the best bells and whistles available, it can’t go anywhere without quality fuel – which in this case, is reviews. Similarly, if you fuel your car with quality fuel (reviews), but the car needs maintenance, it won’t go anywhere fast.

Local businesses that want to win in 2024 and beyond can’t prioritize either reviews or business listings to generate leads – they need to optimize for both.

Listings need reviews – and vice versa, but many businesses prioritize one over the other and, in turn, don’t generate as many leads or provide consumers with the information they need to make them the obvious best choice. 

Luckily, quality Online Reputation Management (ORM) make managing both review generation and listing optimization easy – even for businesses with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations. And the some, like Reputation, offer added benefits like: 

Reviews and Business Listings are tightly connected, and strongly impact one another. If your business is ready to get the most out of both, check out our Online Reputation Checklist.

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