Online reviews are a great tool that you can add to your marketing and promotion plan to help you attract new customers. Unfortunately, businesses are sometimes afraid to engage in online customer reviews, but when handled properly, the review process can help grow your business.
We live in a world where customers expect to be able to check out a product or service before spending their money. This is particularly the case when the purchase is being made online. In the past, a customer might go to a store and get ideas about the product from the look and feel. Then, talking to a salesperson would help someone decide which item was the right one. Even then, people might ask family or friends for recommendations and check out a consumer magazine like Which? for information. Even if your business is not online, owning the review process is still essential. With social media, your reputation is at stake.
Businesses should take note of some of the best review websites. You cannot just bury your head in the sand and ignore online reviews. Whether you illicit the reviews or not, people will post about the goods and services they have received. Due to human nature, people are more likely to take to social media when things go wrong. So if you want to get good reviews, you might need to prompt customers for feedback.
Do not be scared of hearing something you do not want to hear. Negative feedback can be helpful for market research purposes. An unhappy customer can be turned into a satisfied one if you are prepared to listen and take appropriate action. So be proactive and take steps to get your business listed on the most important review sites and ask customers for their feedback.
There are many business review sites, but they broadly fall into the following categories. They are either peer-to-peer sites or professional review sites.
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Peer-to-peer sites can either be industry specific or generic. Generic review sites include Google, Yelp, Angi, Yellow Pages, and Better Business Bureau. Angi is for service-related companies, but the others cater for all businesses. Google My Business has over 158 million monthly hits in the USA alone. Yelp has more than 40 million US visits a month. If you are not interacting with the reviews people are posting, then you are missing out on a vast potential market.
Professional review sites tend to be more industry-specific. These are more akin to what was traditionally posted in newspapers, magazines, and journals. For example, professional critics give their opinion on the latest books, TV shows, and films. These reviews now appear online on sites like IMDB for movies. The same goes for the online casino industry. This best PA online casinos list, for example, has been compiled by industry experts so that players in Pennsylvania can find the best games and promotions.
There are also industry-specific peer-to-peer review sites. Looking at the tourism and travel industry, Airbnb for example has reviews as an integral part of their site. On the other hand, Trip Advisor for the restaurant and travel industry is a stand-alone site.
If you have set up an account for your business on any review sites, you can embed these links into your home page and promote the good ones on social media. After a sale has been made and the goods received, send an email or text to the customer asking them for feedback. This can be to whichever review site you prefer to invite them.
You might even have a page on your business site where they can leave reviews. The advantage of using one of the big sites is that people can find you there if they do not know you already exist.