Online review sites can make or break your small business’s online reputation.
The quickest way to incite a heated debate among business owners is to bring up the topic of online reviews. While opinions and feelings greatly vary, business owners are able to agree on one thing: customer business reviews are an influential factor in a customer’s journey.
Research shows that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, making it absolutely essential that you have a strong presence across multiple business review sites.
Whether you are too busy, or not interested in doing the heavy lifting, your business’s online reputation is too important not to monitor. Vivial helps thousands of businesses manage their online reputation, whether that is repairing damage, collecting reviews for a newly incorporated business or getting happy customers to provide you with more positive feedback.
This article will provide you with all the information you need, including the best review sites, to ensure your reputation on business review websites is one that opens doors for your business (and doesn’t close them).
The importance of online review sites
There are many different types of business review websites and many have a particular industry that they resonate with: Yelp is popular with restaurants; Angie’s List, which provides information on service providers; TripAdvisor will give you insights for your next vacation.
However, any website where your business has a presence and encourages customers to provide ratings and reviews can be used in your online review marketing strategy — whether you are a quick-service restaurant that is part of a national franchise, a single location fashion boutique or a sole-proprietor who provides services to clients.
Kurt Abrahamson, CEO of ShareThis, told The Atlantic, “Recommendations have more of an impact than brand or price…[our research] found that highly positive online shares can generate an almost 10% increase in purchase intent, and negative reviews can also have a correspondingly negative impact, [reducing purchase intent by] 11%.”1
Digital word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is when someone (who isn’t prompted) talks about a business (either in a positive or negative manner) to family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc. Both online ratings and reviews and word-of-mouth marketing are free, which is a contributing factor to its popularity as a promotion vehicle.
While the low price point is most certainly a pro, the primary reason that local business review sites are popular is because of the authority they yield.
As mentioned earlier, research shows that people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that it directly influences their purchase decisions. In fact, shoppers read an average of 10 reviews before making a purchase, proving how powerful reviews on websites can be for businesses.2
Receive customer feedback (for free!)
Large enterprise companies pay top dollar to conduct focus groups to get customer feedback; business review sites give you that feedback for free.
One of the best things you can do with the feedback you get from review sites for businesses is to take it to heart and try to incorporate it into your strategy. While not all customer feedback is valid (there will be complainers and people who don’t understand your products/services), being open to constructive criticism will ensure your products and services evolve and continue to be popular with customers.
While not every online rating or review will be game-changing, it is important that you take the time to respond to the reviewer and thank him/her for sharing feedback.
Reach shoppers with a high purchase intent
Online reviews are a great way to reach customers when they are researching for products and services — and getting ready to make a purchase.
Remember, shoppers read an average of 10 reviews before making a decision, so you should try to have 10-15 current reviews up on the three major review sites (Facebook, Google and Yelp) at all times.
Online reviews are only increasing in popularity, thanks to widespread adoption of sites like Google and Facebook. While it’s important to place your business in front of those with a high purchase intent, it’s also crucial for those in the discovery phase. If you aren’t monitoring online review websites, you can’t be 100% sure what is being said about your business online.
Increase your search engine page rank
Online reviews can also help you boost your small business’s SEO.
To see a bump in your page rank, you should strategically integrate keywords related to your small business into your business listing information on review sites. The addition of keywords will increase your business listing in the search results both internally (on the review site itself) and externally (search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing).
A lot of businesses avoid managing their online reputation because they worry that Internet trolls will visit their page and bad-mouth their business, which is simply not true! 75% of reviews are positive. And even if you do get a few bad eggs, if you actively respond to the review, you have a 33% chance that the negative review will turn positive.
If the reviewer doesn’t want to revise their post, don’t stress — you responded and that shows potential customers that you value your customers.
The post Build Your Online Reputation with Small Business Review Websites appeared first on LocalVox.
from Local Marketing Blog – LocalVox http://localvox.com/blog/small-business-review-websites/