Customers are using the Internet to share their opinions on businesses, products and services. They’re turning to sites like Google+ Local and TripAdvisor to let others know about both positive and negative experiences, and other people are turning to these sites to read these reviews in order to help them make a better purchasing decision.
As a business, you cannot simply ignore these sites and these reviews – you need to embrace them and use them to your advantage. If you don’t think that online review sites are worth your time, the following are three ways that online reviews can benefit your business.
Know What People Think About Your Business
Customers are using these sites more than ever, and they can help you learn how your brand is being perceived by real customers. Perform a search for your business on these sites and see what comes up. You may find that your customers are very happy with your business, or you may find that they’re unhappy. If you don’t use these sites to find this information, you won’t know how people truly feel.
Many customers turn to these sites because it allows them to share their thoughts and feelings anonymously. Customers are more willing to turn to these review sites to share their opinions than you let you know directly, so using these sites gives you insight into your customers and allows you to make the necessary changes needed to keep all your customers happy.
Grab a Hold of Your Online Reputation
Online review sites allow you to better manage your online presence. First, having your business listed on these sites can greatly improve your search engine rankings. Claim your business on the appropriate sites and fill out your profile with as much information as possible. Now, when a customers performs a search for your business, they will be led to these sites as well as your own website, blog or social media account.
The sites also allow you to comment back to those who left a review. You can apologize to customers who had a negative experience. Not only will this make them feel better since you took the time to apologize directly, but it will also show other customers who come across the post that you will do whatever it takes to keep your customers happy.
Use it as an Advertising Platform
Customers use these sites to hear the reviews of other people, and they use these reviews to help influence their decision. When your page has real information and has received reviews, it serves as a marketing platform for your business. Customers are now using this site to determine whether or not they’re going to frequent your business, so you should think of these sites as an extension of your marketing.
Online review sites also allow you to become an advertiser and have your ads placed on the site. Your ads will be placed on pages that are similar to yours, allowing your ads to be seen by people looking for businesses that offer your products or services. For example, if you’re a restaurant, your ad may appear on the page of your competitors. Now, when customers are reading reviews on your competition, they will see an ad for your business, which allows you compete for the customer’s business.
So before you think that online review sites are a waste of time, realize that they can give you insight into how your brand is perceived, allow you to manage what’s being said about your company and promote your business and offerings to those who use the site.
Lauren Williams is a small business owner. She likes to give advice about marketing and how to monitor online reviews.