When was the last time you went to a new local business without reading any online reviews first? Chances are, it’s been a while.
Online reviews currently influence 88% of consumers in discovering a local business. They are also twice as important as loyalty and 7.4 times more influential than traditional marketing methods when choosing a local business. Gathering reviews isn’t just a game-changer that will improve awareness of your brand. It’s an essential process that will help you drive more leads to your website.
How Online Reviews Impact Your Business
Reviews benefit businesses in various ways. The most obvious advantage is that they help people find your business online. That increased brand awareness helps drive potential customers to your business, both digitally and to your physical location.
Additionally, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their decision to buy (or not buy) from a company. Reviews are the modern-day word of mouth, which means they can build—or break—a potential customer’s trust in your business.
Which Online Review Sites Should You Focus On?
There are plenty of review sites out there—trying to collect reviews on every review platform would be nearly impossible. According to our research, focusing on Google and Facebook while supplementing with other industry-specific review sites will give you the best chance of getting found and chosen online.
People typically turn to Google before any other resource when searching for businesses near them. It makes sense—Google is a one-stop shop that will help you find everything you could possibly need from local businesses, including websites, contact information, directions to physical locations, and more.
Because Google is often the first touchpoint between a potential customer and a business, we recommend focusing on Google reviews before gathering reviews on any other platform.
When you search for local businesses on Google, relevant Google reviews show up at the top of the search results. Where your business shows up in a Google search is dependent on your star rating, the number of reviews you have, and the recency of those reviews. By focusing on those three factors and optimizing your Google reviews, you increase the likelihood of your business showing up before competitors in search results.
The next review platform we recommend focusing on is Facebook. Facebook has nearly 2 billion daily active users. And 78% of American consumers have discovered retail products to buy via Facebook.
Studies show that 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase with a referral from social media, and Facebook is one of the main resources people turn to when they’re looking for a local business. You likely already have a Facebook business page set up—and if you don’t, you should change that. It’s free, and it’s a fantastic way to compile a lot of social proof in a place that people are looking for it.
For tips on how to collect more reviews on Facebook, check out this article.
3. Industry-Specific Review Sites
So, Google and Facebook are two of the biggest players in the review game, but they’re not the only two that matter. You should also gather reviews on industry-specific review sites.
Not sure where to get started? Here are some review sites you might want to prioritize depending on your industry.
Auto Review Sites:
Home Services Review Sites:
Healthcare Review Sites:
More Review Sites to Consider:
- Yellow Pages: Yellow Pages was, at one time, a paper book directory that people used to find businesses. While you probably don’t care to list your business in a physical phone book nowadays, yellowpages.com is an online directory that can help people find your business online.
- BBB: Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been helping people find businesses they can trust for over 100 years. Getting BBB accreditation shows that your company meets the BBB standards and qualifies as a trustworthy, reliable business.
- ConsumerAffairs: ConsumerAffairs is another popular website that allows businesses to collect reviews, engage with customers, and generate more referrals.
- MerchantCircle: MerchantCircle is an online network of local business owners that helps connect people with qualified businesses and quality services.
Gather more reviews with Podium
Reviews matter. If you want to be found online, drive more traffic to your store and website, and increase revenue for your business, reviews are a tool you need in your toolkit. Increasing the quantity and quality of your reviews isn’t going to happen overnight, though.
First, you need to decide where you want to gather reviews and make it easy for your customers to leave reviews on the sites that matter most to you. The best way to do this is by using a reputation management tool like Podium that is specifically designed to help local businesses win.
If you’re ready to improve your online reputation and create a frictionless review gathering process, Podium will help you do just that.
For more information, check out our Complete Guide to Online Reviews.