When it comes to marketing your business, are you confused about what to do, how to do it and – perhaps most importantly – how to pay for it?
Believe it or not, if you have happy customers, you have access to a free marketing tool: Reviews.
Why reviews matter
People are inundated with non-stop commercials, advertising and marketing messages at practically every turn, on every medium and in nearly every facet of their lives. So, how can someone separate the real from the counterfeit?
For many, the overwhelming answer is word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family. When that is not applicable or when consumers are seeking more “proof” of why a business best matches their needs, they overwhelmingly turn to reviews.
Think about your own buying habits. Did you read consumer reviews before buying that new dishwasher?
Your prospective customers are no different. They too want to make sure they receive the best service or product for the best value.
Ask for reviews
Typically any customer you may have helped through your business’s products or services is more than willing to share with the world (or the online community) what an asset you are. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews! After all, what’s the worst that your clients could say?
Review sites that matter
Just like there’s no blueprint that can be used to run every business, there’s no review site that’s perfect for every business.
It’s important to keep your products and services in mind when determining which sites make the most sense.
The Google-owned social media site is perhaps the exception to the rule about choosing the most relevant review sites for your business. While many are still trying to navigate the Google+ waters (at least compared to Twitter and Facebook usage), Google+ posts and reviews are tracked more actively by, you guessed it, Google. If you want your business to show up more readily in the search engines, creating a Google+ presence – and seeking reviews – is paramount.
Dubbed by many as the social media and networking site for the business community, LinkedIn is a great place to seek recommendations. Nowadays, employers, and probably prospective customers, review LinkedIn profiles before deciding who to hire or do business with.
Yelp may not work if your business is service-oriented, but for restaurants and other entities providing customer goods, this review site is ideal. If you have not already done so, I would recommend creating a listing with photos and more business-specific details.
- Angie’s List
For service providers such as plumbers, landscapers and the like, Angie’s List is the go-to source. The subscription-based site grades local businesses based on the number and quality of reviews and encourages its members to review businesses following service.
If your business is listed as local, a review tab is available on your Facebook page. Reviews are visible to all of your fans, their friends and anyone who visits your page, dramatically adding to your potential exposure. So, in addition to encouraging engagement among your fans, why not ask your customers to share their experience?
Which review sites have proven most effective for your business? Tell us in the comments.