Online reviews are increasingly playing a critical role in a consumer's decision to purchase.
According to data compiled by BrightLocal, 88 percent of today's consumers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. While word-of-mouth still continues to be the most popular way to recommend a local business, this data reveals that online reviews can be an incredibly powerful branding tactic to create awareness for your business.
Of course, there is a caveat that comes along with the trust created by online reviews. Half of the consumers surveyed by BrightLocal said they would only trust a business if it received multiple positive reviews. The other half of consumers based their trust on businesses that offered authentic reviews. In a nutshell, the quality of your online reviews should be just as important as the number of reviews that your business receives.
So now that you understand the tremendous impact that online reviews can have on your business, which online review sites should you use to encourage your customers to write reviews?
Here are 7 places that your business needs to be seeking online reviews:
1. Your own website.
Make it easy for your customers and visitors to read reviews about your business by creating a page on your website dedicated to customer reviews and testimonials. Allow your customers to access forms on this page to submit their own reviews.
2. Google My Business
A great way to catapult your website's search engine ranking by Google is to verify your business on Google My Business.
Be sure to include important information about your business such as your physical address, hours of operation, phone number, and website. If you're already taking advantage of a local listing service, this should already be done for you.
Google My Business makes it easy for consumers to access reviews and business owners to respond to reviews. Another advantage to having a presence on Google My Business is that consumers can simply tap to call your business or have directions to your business at their fingertips.
For most consumers, this is the "go-to" review site. While Yelp will not allow businesses to directly ask consumers for reviews, Yelp decals and signage can be used by your business to let people know that you want their feedback.
4. Better Business Bureau
A business's BBB rating still continues to carry a lot of weight with consumers. Make it a priority to become accredited by the Better Business Bureau to begin earning reviews on this site.
5. Yahoo Local
While Yahoo may not dominate the search space, it still is a popular search engine that consumers use to research products and services. The process of earning reviews on this website is very similar to what is required on Google My Business.
6. Facebook Ratings and Reviews
If you have a local business page on Facebook, you have the option to earn ratings and reviews. This allows you to use the goodwill of your Facebook followers to your advantage. Each time one of your followers likes or shares your page, prospective customers can see your business's ratings and reviews.
Manta is quickly earning a presence in the local review space, and it also offers the ability to take advantage of paid marketing services, such as ads and priority search.
In summary, having a presence on several online review sites can be an extremely powerful and effective way to promote your business. Just be sure to regularly monitor and respond to reviews so that you're always putting your best foot forward.