I think we would wholeheartedly agree.
More and more consumers rely review sites during their purchasing decision making process.
What should your company do about these directories?
- Be there. As consumers rely more heavily on review sites and local directories, not being present can cause you to be overlooked. List your business with the national ones –the ones we’ve mentioned, plus HotFrog, Brown Book, and Local.com, among others – and then track down the ones specifically for your local community. If you’re not primarily a local business (for example, you do e-commerce), you can still benefit from local listings. It’s a link to your website, after all.
- Register or claim your business. In many cases, only those businesses that register or claim their listings can respond to reviews, add a link to their website, and in other ways have some control over the listing. Brown Book lets you upload videos and other content. Yelp lets you communicate with those who leave reviews. Merchant Circle hosts a blog for you. Explore the options.
- Encourage happy customers to review your business. Trying to game the system by posting fake reviews will backfire, but asking customers to support you is smart. Train staff to respond to compliments with, “I’m so glad you liked it! Would you write that at Yelp?”
- Respond to unhappy reviews. You can’t please everyone, but a kind and helpful response can turn a bad review into a good opportunity to show your excellent customer service. Calm down, if you need to, before you make your response.
- Quote the good reviews. People who’ve made public comments about your company have already shown that they’re willing to share their opinions. Use the things they’ve said as testimonials online and in your marketing materials.
- Watch your analytics. Keep track, with whatever kind of web analytics you use, of the kind of traffic that comes to your site from directories. That information can help you make decisions about advertising and future linkbuilding.