Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 28, 2013
Small business owners depend heavily on the community they serve for marketing. They rely on referrals and word of mouth to attract new customers. That's why it is so very important for people to leave reviews when they enjoy the service they've received.
Many small business owners provide excellent service and results for their clients, but face an uphill battle trying to compete with the huge marketing budgets of large corporations.
Michael Strickland, owner of Safe-Direct car shipping, started his online auto transport business in 2008, working out of a converted closet in his home, relying on almost entirely on word of mouth to get noticed among all the large corporations.
"I went from being dead last of the 2,912 companies listed on Transportreviews.com with ZERO reviews to now being the #1 Top Reviewed Company on that site with 2,648 positive reviews. As reviews and positive feedback from happy customers started to pour in, so did new business, and now we have many employees spread across many different states,” said Strickland.
According to a recent study, 83% of American consumers research companies online before making a purchase. Imagine what happens when someone doesn't find much information online. While a company website is useful in providing information, it's the reviews that really convince people of the usefulness of a service or product. This is word of mouth marketing at its finest.
Wondering how communities can help small businesses thrive, it's surprisingly simple. All that is needed is a review.
Where to Leave Reviews
Most industries have specific websites for reviewing businesses. Consumers can also leave thoughts on a business on more general sites like Yelp, which focus on locality instead of industry. The truth is, leaving opinions and ratings on more than one site, is helping a small business more than consumers can imagine. Recent information collected by Yelp showed that businesses saw an average increase of around $8,000 a year just by having a free account on the site where people could leave reviews.
Consumers care what other consumers think. If customers have had a great experience at a restaurant and go online to let people know, that will have a definite impact on the restaurant. Even one or two reviews can drastically increase the amount of trust in a company and boost the number of clients that business has.
Consider sharing experiences with a business on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. This has been proven to be more effective than paid ads. People simply trust other consumers more than advertisements.
Even if customers aren't inclined to seek out a website to leave a review, another option is to directly email the company to let them know that their customers love them. This is not only a great morale booster, but a useful testimonial.
Many companies will ask for permission to share a positive email on their business blog or website. This can also help increase the number of customers a business gets.
Small businesses appreciate the increase in sales that comes from positive stories and testimonials being shared online. Like it or not, the Internet is here to stay and it is the primary source for information about local and small businesses. If consumers want to support one, all it takes is a few positive words in the right place.