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Getting Reviews the Right Way for Local Businesses

 

"Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased … Don't offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews."

These are the review sites you've probably heard of, but may have lolly-gagged to get on. If you want to give your business a quick online reputation audit, checking out how your business fares on these sites (and setting up profiles if you haven't already) is a great place to start:

A non-profit organization, consumerreports.org is an independent product testing organization that tests, rates, and recommends products based off their unbiased testing of those products. They have 7 million subscribers, accept no advertising, and pay for all products that they test. This is about as legitimate as it gets. As such, there's not much you can do here except, if you sell a product, make sure it's really, really good.

 

Yelp!

Yelp is a free review site that lets consumer’s rate businesses on a 5-star scale. Any business can set up a profile on Yelp! For free, and any user can set up their own free profile to review a business. You're free to respond to reviewers, too, but I recommend taking a balanced and polite approach to any negative reviews you receive, as Yelpers are in a pretty tight-knit community.

Yelp! has also come under fire over the past four years for some slightly shady practices, like incentivizing businesses to advertise with them in exchange for gaming the search results for their business ("pay us money and we'll push bad reviews down!"), so savvier consumers have learned to look at Yelp reviews as a whole and with the reviewer's clout in mind, instead of getting turned off by a business because of one bad listing. That being said, it's still to your benefit to get a constant stream of positive online reviews coming to your business' Yelp account so happy customers are always at the top of your review feed, especially if you're a location-based business; Yelp profile information contains things like store hours and location information, so your profile will often turn up when people Google your business.

 

 

Your Website

Finally, the one place where you have total and utter control -- your website is an excellent place to publicize reviews you receive. You could carve out a section of your website dedicated just to reviews and testimonials, and even include a form so happy customers can submit their reviews unsolicited. But if you're actively campaigning for positive online reviews and you encounter happy customers that want to leave you a positive review, but don't have accounts on sites like Yelp!, Angie's List, LinkedIn, or Google, it's handy to have a place on your website to publish their kind words. Consider adding testimonials to landing pages and product pages, too!

 

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Monday, 15 July 2019