Thoughts & Ideas
The Most Important Consumer Review Websites and how they Impact Your Business
One of the ways consumers come to a decision about using a business or a professional before even giving them a call or showing up at their door is to check out review and rating websites.
More and more these sites are becoming part of purchasing decisions. It could be that a consumer is checking out a restaurant in their neighborhood, finding out more about a doctor recommended by a friend, deciding between several auto mechanics or purchasing a ukulele from an online store – in any one of these situations online review websites have the power to tip your potential customer in your direction or send them far, far away. These review websites do matter.
Here are some review websites that could be said to be the most influential for local businesses.
Yelp – The most well known of all customer review websites with over 130 millions users per month, Yelp could be said to be the “granddaddy” of all such sites. Businesses that pay careful attention to getting positive reviews and responding intelligently to negative ones on this website can see a marked rise in reach and revenue.
Google+ Local – We all know Google is a giant in the “search” arena. So much so that it has even become its own verb – “to Google”. Naturally, any business wants to do what it can to rank well within the search results on this site. Google+ is a way to help that happen.
Facebook Reviews – Facebook has for some time now offered ratings and reviews. This has proved so popular that Facebook now rivals Yelp in the number of reviews it generates. Therefore, reputation management should now be an integral part of any Facebook marketing strategy, with particular emphasis placed on timely response to reviews.
FourSquare – The Foursquare mobile application and website helps users find the best places to eat, drink and to shop around the world. The site offers access to over 75 million reviews and has over 35 million users. It’s vital for shops and restaurants to pay particular attention to this app and website as part of their reputation management program.
Some review websites are industry-specific. The most well known of these is probably Open Table, an online restaurant reservations service that also contains consumer reviews.
A website called Local Visibility System has done a nice job listing sites that are important for generating local reviews for different business types (e.g., golf, auto).
A full list of these can be found on the Local Visibility System website listed in the resources section of this post.
Review Sites that No Longer Matter
Then, there are the review and directory websites that used to be important that are now slipping in their popularity with consumers. In fact, the number of reviews they generate has dipped so badly, they could be considered not to matter at all. Three of these are:
As the “word of mouth” of this generation, review and rating websites matter a lot. Get your business in all the ones that matter and keep an eye on those reviews. It will make a big difference to your business and to the your bottom line.