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The Power and Value of Online Reviews

I’ve certainly done it, and I bet you have, too.

You’re looking to try a different restaurant, or you’re in the market for a specific product or some new gear. So you go online and start searching for the type of business you want. Before you know it you’re scanning the ratings of all the stores in your area and scrolling through reviews. Once you’ve found one you like with solidly positive feedback, you’ve made up your mind. That’s your place.

People are social animals, and they tend to put more credibility in feedback from other people more than claims from a business itself. In fact, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Which is why the infographic created by Column Five for Merchant Warehouse on the popular review site Yelp is interesting.

Some facts I didn’t know:

  • Most consumer research value is put into text reviews (44%), with overall business rating following at (26%). Further down the importance scale comes quantity of reviews (17%) and reviews from friends or family (14%).
  • 93% of people who conduct research on business review sites typically buy from the businesses they find.
  • Research found there was an $8,000 average increase in annual revenue for small businesses with Yelp accounts, and that revenue increased to $23,000 when the business paid to advertise with Yelp.
  • However, 87% of small businesses that were surveyed don’t actively use review sites, and 22% of small businesses with Yelp pages have never actually looked at their page.

While the infographic is only about Yelp, the bottom line is that having an active presence on review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are a great way to increase customer awareness of your business and drive more sales — for free (unless you choose to advertise with them). On review platforms, your customers are doing the legwork of talking about your business for you. All that’s left for you to do is make sure they are happy.

Are you guilty of ignoring review sites? Then you’ll want to make sure to check back for another post on review site tips, tricks, and best practices. In the meantime, read on for more:


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