Online review sites play a HUGE role in customer purchase decisions in today's digital landscape. They trigger customers to either buy a product/service or move on to the next business.
Online review sites are the new "word-of-mouth" platforms that impact businesses in a GOOD or a really BAD way.
Did you know...
Why do you think this is?
YOU read and trust online reviews because they offer you VALUABLE GUIDANCE from others who've tried and used the service or product you're considering. Much like your family and friends might provide you guidance or recommendations.
Using online review sites can absolutely catapult your small business growth and help you in managing your Online Reputation.
So what are the best review sites out there?
Let's jump to it...
There are a lot of online review sites that can help your business grow.
The list below is a great place to get started to make your local business stand out.
Google isn't just known as the leading search engine worldwide, it also hosts online reviews and ratings. These reviews are displayed on Google+ business pages, Google Maps listings, and Google Search results.
This one is listed first for a reason. It's an absolute must-have!
Google My Business lets you take control of your business page. You’ll be able to manage and respond to your reviews once you create your GMB account. You will also receive verification from Google that you are the rightful owner of your business page.
Facebook isn't just the biggest social media site, it's also a growing platform for online reviews and customer feedback.
Customers can leave reviews on your Facebook business page that potential customers can see.
If you really want to jump-start your marketing efforts on Facebook you might want to learn how to get started with Facebook marketing.
When it comes to the eCommerce industry, Amazon tops the list of the biggest companies.
Consumers use Amazon for online shopping and product reviews. What makes it a special review site is that consumers have been trained to use their review system. In fact, Amazon has been training consumers to use and interpret product reviews for a very long time now.
If you are selling any products on Amazon you need to focus directly on getting more Amazon reviews for each of your products.
Yelp is a well-known review site that caters to many types of businesses - from restaurants and hotels to dentists, boutiques, and mechanics. Yelp has collected 102 million crowd-sourced reviews of businesses since 2004.
According to Nielsen, 4 out of 5 Yelp users visit the site when preparing to spend money. This statistic makes Yelp a very important review site if it's applicable to your industry.
TripAdvisor is great for travel related industries. Check out some of these stats:
TripAdvisor offers reviews and ratings of restaurants, tourist attractions, tour operators, theme parks and entertainment attractions, museums, landmarks, and other types of businesses that cater to travelers.
YellowPages.com provides business information across a wide range of industries including restaurants, automotive, health and wellness, and attorneys.
Unlike the early years, YellowPages users can now leave online reviews and comments for businesses. As a business owner, you can respond to online reviews by using the comment section available within each review.
YellowPages also displays review information and customer feedback from Citysearch and TripAdvisor.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that’s centered on building trust within the marketplace. Its website contains a comprehensive database of reviews and ratings - searchable by business name, website URL, phone number, email, etc.
What makes BBB interesting is that it collects business information that includes complaints from the public. It assigns ratings from A+ (highest) to F (lowest), and it has a feature designed to explain the most important factors affecting a rating.
Better Business Bureau also categorizes reviews into Business Reviews, Customer Reviews, and Customer Complaints which you can respond to whenever needed.
Manta is perfect for small businesses. It is an online small business service directory, search engine, and review site that provides small businesses with the information to grow and connect.
Manta is a directory with strong traffic volume and review capabilities and helps small businesses network through their community where consumers can purchase from, partner with and connect to companies.
Angie’s List is a unique review site. It's a service listing and review website that provides rankings and reviews of service professionals in local areas.
It is primarily geared towards the home services market (painters, remodelers, plumbers, etc.).
Just like BBB, Angie's List also uses a report card style reporting. It assigns ratings from A+ (highest) to F (lowest) on price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and professionalism.
Foursquare became famous for popularizing mobile "check-ins" and now it holds one of the world’s largest active members of global foot traffic data. It lets users find places to eat, drink, shop, and visit worldwide.
Foursquare users can leave "tips" and ratings to share their thoughts, customer experiences, opinions, and advice about places they’ve visited.
Foursquare is available for both desktop and mobile users.
If you're a numbers person, you might find this infographic super helpful. It provides some great stats on the top 10 review sites listed above.
Houzz is a site for browsing and saving beautiful home photos. It's also a place to find the right design and construction professionals. Houzz also let's users leave reviews for home design professionals.
There are two ways to write a review on Houzz. You can either find the professional you want to review and click the “Review Me” link on their profile page or go to the Review a Pro page to write a review for any home remodeling, design or trade professional.
Believe it or not, people are still using Yahoo for internet searches. Making sure your local business is being properly represented here can still be helpful.
Millions of businesses are part of Bing and there are still a lot of people using Bing as their search engine of choice. Similar to Yahoo above, having your business listing set up and accurate will ensure people find what they are looking for with your business via Bing.
MerchantCircle focuses on helping consumers find local businesses. They've got over 2 million business listings and over 100 million consumers using the site.
They have a number of different business categories that are relevant to most small businesses.
Citysearch is a city guide and provides visitors with all the information they need to find local businesses in a particular city including reviews, recommendations, and directions.
It's definitely worth considering as you expand the review sites you focus on for your business.
And those are the top review sites that can immediately boost your business. Always remember that customers spend time reading online reviews before they make a purchase and if you don't manage your online reputation, it can make an impact on your brand.
Don't forget...there are some industry-specific review sites that you might also want to consider. Do a search for "your industry + review sites" to see what comes up.
I'd recommend starting with the 2-3 reviews sites that make the most sense for your business. Once you've got a solid collection of reviews on those review sites you can expand to other review sites from there.
I hope you found this list of review sites helpful. Feel free to comment below with any questions, we're happy to help.
Header image courtesy of StockSnap.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.