Why are Online Review Sites Popular with Small Businesses?

Online review sites like Yelp are so popular with local businesses because those business owners rely on word of mouth to thrive. Unlike the major corporations and chains that get business from the masses no matter what, the small companies need the extra boost provided by online review platforms.

Yelp in particular has become a force to contend with in local commerce, ever since its founding in 2004. Today, Yelp users have contributed more than 100 million reviews of almost every type of local business, from restaurants and salons to dentists and plumbers. It’s come with some controversy over the years, with many saying it’s unfair to put small businesses’ reputations on display so publicly.

However, the positives can’t be ignored either. Others feel it’s a good thing that Internet users can create content and share it with the world. Yelp’s job is to harness shifts in consumer behavior to craft the most successful marketing channel of all time when it comes to local businesses.

If you’re the owner of a small business, you must attract new customers by taking control of your online review score on sites like Yelp, Google My Business and TripAdvisor.

Mobile Drives Local

Even the busiest company owner has to recognize that access to real-time information can impact their business in big ways. With Internet usage exploding and mobile search rising exponentially among American consumers, business owners can no longer ignore the effect of review sites on their bottom line.

This dramatic shift in technology adoption has led to similar shifts in consumer behavior, with the majority of people trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

With review sites like Yelp, all the power is in the consumers’ hands, whereby the decision and urgency to purchase something are what prompted their search in the first place, says Forbes.  Review sites act as laser beams pulling consumers toward local businesses right when they’re ready to spend money. You must capture this invaluable opportunity, which you can do even with a tight budget.

While consumers may still get recommendations from friends or family, they are far more likely to go online and perform a “near me” search – yet another aspect of local business that can’t be ignored.

As a small business owner, you have more control of your online star ratings than you realize. Not only can you proactively encourage your customers to post reviews about their experiences, you can turn negative reviews into a second chance. In the past, unhappy customers would either fill out a comment card or, which is far more likely, just trash the company via word of mouth. Thing is, the owner may never have known anything was wrong. How can you improve or appease unsatisfied customers if you don’t know they’re unsatisfied?

With online review platforms like Boost Reviews, now you can. We make it easy to engage with customers so you can reinforce positive reviews and attempt to turn negative ones around. Contact us now to find out how we can help.

 

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