Friday, June 3, 2011

Top Online Review Sites to Help Local Businesses

According to the MIT Technology Review, for every one dollar U.S. consumers spend online, another five or six are going to off-line purchases that are influenced by online research. In fact, 97% of Internet users in the U.S. gather shopping information online, and of those consumers 51% explicitly describe their behavior as Shop Online, Purchase Offline. So it’s not hard to understand why businesses win and lose new customers every day, before the potential buyer even walks in the door. You’re dealing with an educated consumer, who does his/her research, and cares deeply about what others have to say. Welcome to the new word-of-mouth marketing!
Last week we discussed the importance of online review sites for local businesses. Here is a follow-up to help zero in on the online marketing revolution, and increase your business presence locally and around the world. Below are six of the major review sites for local businesses. All hold weight with the American public and have a huge online presence even in local markets. Visit the following top sites to register or claim your company profile, post a photo or logo, add your address and contact information, and sign up for review alerts.
You can get your business listed on Google’s map and show up directly on the search results by registering at the Google Local Business Center. Describe your business with location info, services, hours of operation and business website link. After you have a listing, your goal is to get reviews.
See what others are saying about your business and talk back on Yelp.com. This community has exploded, almost tripling in traffic from 10-25 million visitors last year alone. Yelp allows business owners to respond. To gain control of your profile you should first see if your business is already listed, then you must “claim” the listing with phone call verification.
Yahoo is one of the top three search engines over the Internet. Yahoo Local Listings can help promote your business to customers looking for information. Yahoo Local is used by many prospective customers looking for products or services locally. Business owners can get reviews, flesh out their profile and add business information.
According to their website, “Citysearch is an essential local guide for living bigger, better and smarter in your city.” They combine in-the-know editorial recommendations, candid user comments and expert advice from local businesses. Citysearch allows you to claim your business listing and gives you access to services to help you get the highest benefit, most of which are free.
Insider Pages was created to help people find the best local businesses through recommendations from their friends and neighbors. Business owners can claim their free business listing on Insider Pages and have the option to respond to reviews, all for free.
MerchantCircle is an online business directory, social business network and marketing platform with 4.3 million visitors per month (according to Wikipedia). Businesses can upload pictures, write blogs, create coupons and send online newsletters through the network. Consumers can leave reviews on business listing pages and business owners can respond.
While you’re here check out your business listing at patch.com. Under the "Places" tab on the top of the homepage, you can find many business and organization listings in and around Upper Dublin. Patch’s team of researchers spent weeks hitting the streets and visiting our local businesses, schools, parks, libraries, and more so they can provide photos and detailed info about all the local services and organizations. If you own or manage a business or organization in Patch’s directory, visit your listing and claim it. For more information about listings e-mail Upper Dublin Patch Editor Kyle Bagenstose.
Still have questions about registering your business online? Ask me about it! Please feel free to submit your questions or comments below.

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