Businesses today need an online presence to attract and retain customers and get a leg up on industry rivals. Typically, companies focus on creating websites and social media accounts to achieve an online presence. However, another area that instills as much confidence in prospective customers as websites and social media is featuring on business review websites.
Reports suggest 90% of people read reviews before spending money on products or entering into relationships with companies since these reviews give them quick access to first-hand accounts about something they are potentially interested in.
These same reports also suggest that nearly 80% of people trust online reviews as much as the recommendations from their friends or family, and 92% of B2B customers are more likely to purchase a product or service after reading a trusted review.
Despite these figures and visible interest in review sites, some businesses try to avoid featuring on these websites because they fear being on the receiving end of negative reviews. However, the truth is that businesses can get negative reviews on social media too. You must embrace review sites as a resource, as you do social media, accepting both the good and the bad.
What Are Business Review Sites?
Business review websites are third-party websites that allow customers to leave reviews about a company’s goods or services. They are a form of word-of-mouth marketing (click here to learn about this marketing) that helps businesses generate and convert leads and build brand loyalty.
As we have covered in an article, marketing is 50% science and 50% art, and understanding the science and psychology behind how review sites affect a customer’s thoughts and behavior is crucial. For example, common psychological biases connected to review sites and even word-of-mouth marketing include confirmation bias and truth bias.
Today, there are review sites for everything, from local hair salons and grocery stores to Apple and other technology products. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also independent review sites for things like iGaming platforms. You can read this comprehensive review to learn more, but essentially, rather than existing players leave reviews and inform new players about the best available sites to play on in a specific area such as Ontario, a group of industry experts conducts legitimate research to compile this information. Some of the factors these independent review sites look at include security, game selection, and whether websites are optimized for mobile users. Either way, in both instances, businesses, whether hair salons or online gaming sites, expose themselves to a wider audience by featuring on these websites, which helps increase brand awareness.
What Are the Benefits?
Generating brand awareness, building customer loyalty, and improving the overall customer experience are three of the main advantages of having a presence on online business review websites, but there are dozens of others.
Online reviews also help establish trust between businesses and their customers, which impacts the sales funnel and customer relationship management. Businesses can also use review sites as a means for feedback. Even negative reviews can help companies learn where they are going wrong with their product offerings or if they need to improve other areas such as customer service. Excellent customer service is particularly important for those businesses operating in financial industries since these sectors deal with real money.
Going back to the example of iGaming sites, if an operator is not listed as one of the best sites to play on in Canada or the United Kingdom, these businesses can look at what features the listed sites have. Do they offer traditional games and live games? Can players play on their phones or just their computers?
These operators can then use that information and feedback to adjust their business models and product offerings. For example, PayPal as a payment method has become highly praised on iGaming review sites, which is a strong indication that those platforms that do not yet offer e-wallets should adjust their business models to include this option and others like Neteller and Skrill.
The Top Business Review Sites to Consider
As a customer, there are hundreds of options available for reading reviews before making a purchase, including Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. For businesses, however, some standout platforms allow you to request reviews and feedback from former customers. Sometimes, rather than waiting for a review, it is better to take the matter into your own hands, especially if you know your business has provided excellent service to a particular customer.
Some of the best review sites that allow companies to request reviews from customers include Angi and G2 Crowd. There is also Manta, a review site that offers businesses free listings. Likewise, The Yellow Pages offers free listings, but companies are also able to pay for better placements in search results.
Travel website TripAdvisor does something similar to The Yellow Pages by offering its Business Advantage program, which companies can enroll in to get their best reviews listed highest. Additionally, some honorable mentions include ConsumerAffairs, which is a customer review website that lets businesses get access to all of their reviews, in addition to resources on how to improve things like customer service, branding, and online reputation. Business directories like MerchantCircle and Influenster are also good since these platforms let companies target specific audiences.
Today, businesses focus so much of their time and attention on developing their online presence on social media platforms via influencer marketing. As a result, they often forget about just how much influence business review sites have. Of course, that is not necessarily surprising — companies have a fear of potential negative reviews.
However, it is important to remember that your business can be exposed to negative feedback on social media too, and the advantages of featuring on customer review websites outweigh the disadvantages. It is also important to remember that businesses can take control over what reviews are put out there by requesting particular customers who they know had a good experience to leave a review on a website like Angi and G2 Crowd.