I was traveling recently in Salt Lake City and my family was trying to decide where to eat dinner. We were looking at our phones searching restaurants nearby; my brother-in-law casually mentioned he never tries anything new unless it has a 4 star or better rating. This really struck me and reminded me of the importance of online reviews.
For nearly all businesses, online reviews are an important piece of your digital marketing strategy. They give potential new customers a great insight into what to expect and how their service will be. Often, people think of reviews for restaurants, but in fact, we’re seeing them as useful marketing tools for nearly all businesses. Especially those who provide lodging, goods, or services. Furthermore, they give business owners valuable information about how customers are reacting to your establishment and a great way to connect with clients and improve your practice.
Reviews are allowed in a variety of spaces, some are more important for certain industries over others. The major review sites include:
- Facebook: All Facebook business pages have the ability to accept reviews. If you aren’t utilizing this option on Facebook, consider turning it on.
- Google: You must claim your Google business, but once you do so, you can add information about your business including website and hours and begin to accept reviews.
- Yelp: Yelp is particularly applicable to restaurants as users are already trained to rate dining establishments on this platform. You must also claim your Yelp listing, but in doing so, you can manage your business on this site.
- TripAdvisor: This platform is designed in large part for lodging and travel accommodations, but also features restaurants and attractions and activities. After claiming your business on TripAdvisor, you can accept, monitor, and respond to reviews on this site.
Things to keep in mind as you begin to enable and leverage your online reviews for your business:
- Do a good job: This might go without saying, but customers are extremely honest when it comes to online reviews, make sure you are providing a good product or service or else negative feedback will pop up in your online reviews.
- Monitor your reviews: If you decide to allow reviews online, be sure to monitor them and respond to questions and feedback when necessary. You don’t want to be blindsided by your online reviews, it’s best to manage them as you do any other online tool.
- Have great customer service: Just as you do on the phone or in your place of business, it’s key to have great customer service standards online. Be polite, courteous, respectful, and prompt in your responses to reviews on
- Apologize when necessary: If you or an employee of yours messed up, own that and apologize. It will go farther with the customer at hand and future customers who are studying your reviews.
- Take feedback: Customers are generally willing to give helpful feedback that is useful to train employees, improve your craft, and remain viable. Read with an open mind and genuinely listen to what they have to say.
- Leverage your reviews: Use your positive reviews in your marketing strategy. Include quotes and feedback for your guests to help sell your products and services to new clients.
Spoiler alert: we ended up eating at HSL Salt Lake City. The reviews were spot on, it was delicious!
Need help setting up your online profiles to accept reviews or managing them? Contact us! We’d be happy to help you leverage online reviews as an important piece of your overall marketing strategy.