Why Online Reviews are So Important for Small Businesses

Over 70% of People Trust Online Reviews

Why does your business needs online reviews?

In the last 15 years of helping small businesses develop effective lead generation strategies, one channel of leads never fails to convert to the most sales, the word of mouth referral.  So why does the word of mouth referral work so well and how does it translate to online reviews?  It all boils down to the power of “transferred trust”.  Common sense tells us that most people prefer to purchase goods or services based on a recommendation from someone they trust or view as an authority, but on the flipside rarely does someone purchase something from someone or an organization they do not trust.  This is why we preach the importance of online reviews.

As a society we have become accustomed to building new relationships online with people we may never meet in person.  Think of sharing posts from a friend of a friend on Facebook , or comments made in a CNN news article that a global community of readers can view.  The internet is a tangled web of opinions after opinions, and guess what?  Opinions matter to the majority of those shopping online for your goods or services.  Between social media, online news providers, and more we are influenced by people’s opinions, which are essentially reviews.

So Where Does a Small Business Start?

This all depends on your business’ target audience.  For example, Tripadvisor would work great for restaurants and hotels, but how would it help an app development company?   If you’re an attorney or law practice then you will want to get a profile on Avvo.  This can all seem overwhelming with all of the relevant review sites available.

The good news is we will break this down for you into the essentials (most business can benefit), to social media (most businesses can benefit), to some industry specific review sites.

It All Starts with the Big Dogs

  1. Google My Business Page (AKA Google Plus)
  2. BING Places
  3. Yahoo! Local
  4. Yelp!
  5. Better Business Bureau

Next Tier:

  1. City Search
  2. Consumer Reports
  3. Epinions
  4. Merchant Circle
  5. Yellow Pages

Grades for the Trades:

  1. Angie’s List
  2. Home Advisor
  3. Demand Force
  4. Home Pros (Lending Tree)
  5. Judy’s Book (Mainly trades but expanding to other industries)

Practice Law?

  1. Avvo
  2. Lawyers.com
  3. Findlaw.com
  4. Legalmatch.com

Is there a Doctor in the House?

  1. Healthgrades.com
  2. Zocdoc.com
  3. Ratemds.com
  4. Vitals.com
  5. Insiderpages.com/doctorfinder

Travel, Hospitality, and Entertainment?

  1. Tripadvisor.com
  2. Opentable.com

For the Social Butterflies:

  1. Facebook Ratings & Reviews
  2. Linked In
  3. Google Reviews can fall under this category as well
  4. So can Yelp!
  5. Quora.com – Social Q&A Site Allows Business Owners to Connect with Potential Customers