Why You Need to Ask for Online Reviews for Your Local Business

Online reviews can be found everywhere for everything.  From food processors on Amazon.com to local restaurants on Google.  If you have a local business you need to be asking for reviews to either be posted on review sites or to post them on your own website.  This is part of your overall marketing strategy that should not be ignored.

Why do you need reviews scattered all over the internet, because they work.  People are more likely to believe reviews than claims that come from the business directly.  87% of respondents claimed that positive reviews reinforced their buying decisions.  80% of consumers changed their mind based negative reviews found online according to Justen Deforrest in his book 5 Star Reputation Secrets.

With so many different review sites, how do you know which one to concentrate on?  Of course, it depends on the sector your business is in.  If you have a local service business all the search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing allow reviews with their local business features.

Google+ and Google Places reviews will show up on the search and depending on the type of business will show up in a ranking on the top slide bar.

Some of the other more important review sites include Yelp and TripAdvisor.  

The importance of some of these sites is increasing due to the following factors;

  • Yelp- Apple partnered with Yelp to provide exclusive reviews for their Siri function.  So whenever someone asks for a restaurant in Appleton through Siri, it is a Yelp review and ranking that gets the hierarchy.

  • TripAdvisor-This is mainly a site for hotels and restaurant reviews.  The importance of this site is that the reviews are tied to Yahoo and Bing search results.  The reviews from this site show up directly under the results in search.

  • For some sectors of local business it may be all right to have reviews on your own site. This may include plumbers, roofers or local HVAC companies.  If they are not done correctly prospects will feel they could be fake and do more damage than actually not having the reviews at all.  A great way to post reviews on your site is by the use of video testimonials or handwritten notes.

  • Video reviews-  If there is a way to record and interview your happy customers this is a great way to post reviews.  People have to fairly comfortable with the camera.  Have them describe their experience and why they would choose you again.  Only having a handful of video reviews will build credibility for your prospects.  It doesn’t have to be done with anything fancy.  Just using your smartphone with a inexpensive microphone will get the job done.

  • Handwritten notes-  Have handwritten reviews from your actual happy customers scanned and posted on your website.  People are much more likely to believe that the reviews are not fabricated if they are in different handwriting than typed in.

Check out next week’s blog on how to ask for online reviews.

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