For many people, getting your business online consists of starting social media accounts and finding the best ways to keep your website up to date. These can be expensive and time-consuming tasks and may make you wonder whether digital marketing actually generates a return on your investment.
But did you know more than 78% of people turn to review websites? Review sites let consumers post about their experiences with local businesses and have made the consumer voice stronger than ever. They also let business owners connect directly with their customers. Most review sites offer business owners free tools to reach reviewers. Using these free tools can be one of the most cost-effective ways to reach consumers and market your business online, so what are you waiting for?
If you’re ready to get started, here are six tips to help your business use review sites effectively.
- Ensure basic business info is up to date.
You need to make sure consumers are seeing correct, up-to-date information about your business – especially for things like opening hours, website, address, and contact numbers.
- Make your photos count!
Users of review sites are significantly more likely to stay longer on business pages with photos, so start uploading high quality images! Your photos should show off your store or office, products or services and staff. Try not to just upload a photo of your logo as it’s not that helpful for customers.
- Tell your business’ story to complete your profile.
Today’s consumers are better informed than ever – they want to know more about the provenance of the products they buy and the story of the businesses they frequent. You should use review sites to share this information about your business. Tell consumers about yourself, the history of your business and any specialties you have. Businesses that complete all this information in their profile will substantially boost their monthly page views, compared to businesses that don’t, and also rank better in search results.
- Respond to reviews.
Responding to reviews is one of the best ways to show existing and future customers you take customer service seriously. Whether you respond publicly or privately, it’s important to be polite – thank customers for their business and feedback and address any issues they raise. If your business is satisfying customers, you’re likely to attract positive reviews. But if you do get a negative review, just remember to stay calm and reply diplomatically. It can also help to have a friend or colleague read your reply before you send it off.
- Connect with customers on mobile.
Over 80% of Australians now own a smartphone and a majority of searches on review sites come from mobile devices. So, most consumers are finding information about your business on the go. It’s worth taking advantage of the specific apps for business owners that most review sites offer. You can then get real time notifications about how consumers engage with your page and respond to reviews from your mobile device.
- Point people to your digital presence.
Instead of directly soliciting or incentivising reviews, you should encourage customers to engage with your business online by pointing them to your presence on review sites. If you focus on providing great customer service and let people know where to find you online, your business’ online reputation will grow organically, which is what consumers trust most. Sometimes a simple visual reminder makes the biggest difference, so put up a window sticker or a sign if it makes sense for your business.
About the author
Nick Lembo is Yelp’s Manager of Local Business Outreach. He works with business owners to help them navigate the world of online reviews. He is @nicholaslembo. Founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Yelp is a word-of-mouth app and website that connects people with local businesses in 32 countries. Yelp launched in Australia in 2011 and has communities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. To date, Yelp has over 100 million reviews. For more information, head to www.biz.yelp.com.au