How to Use Online Profiles and Directories to Boost Your Business

Even if your business doesn’t have a website yet, it’s easy to get the benefits of an online presence without paying a single dollar. Being highly visible on the web, with the help of online profiles and directories, is one of the most easy and cost-effective ways to get in front of your technologically-savvy customers, optimize reviews and increase the growth rate of your business.

Websites that host online profiles and directories are truly powerful tools for businesses because most hosts give customers the opportunity to leave reviews. Reviews are incredibly helpful for any business looking to gain a competitive advantage. They tell you about your target market, help you improve your product or service and let you size up the competition.

Learn to use your web presence to start and grow your business with this guide to online profile and directory reviews.

Why are Reviews Important?

Reviews are highly influential because they provide a genuine reflection of what your customers think of your products or services. They’re very public advertisements for your business, and can dramatically affect what consumers think about your business, for better or for worse.

In fact, 90 per cent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With these numbers in mind, it’s easy to see the value of having your business featured in profiles and directories.

While it’s clear that reviews are important for getting consumers to buy from you, there’s more to them than that. Let’s dig in and see how you can use the reviews on online profile and directory sites to boost your business.

See Your Customers’ Perspectives

Reviews give you the chance to get inside your customer’s head and really understand what made the experience memorable, whether it was memorably great or memorably bad. They’re incredibly valuable insights into what customers like, dislike and value, so make sure you learn as much as you can from them.

As you read reviews, look for recurring themes. They can show you where your business stands out above the rest, and what can be improve upon. It may surprise you to see what speaks to your customer – and seeing what they care about may even identify marketing opportunities you had never thought of before.

Take a leading Ethiopian restaurant as an example. This restaurant wasn’t expecting to receive rave reviews on its unintentionally vegan-friendly fare, but they learned from how popular that aspect of their product was. They used what they learned from these reviews, and were able to increase their revenue by promoting its vegan-friendly options.

Connect with Your Customer

Reviews also give you the chance to grow the relationship with your customer by responding to reviews. Being an active respondent looks good to current and future customers. Being engaged shows that you really care about your clientele, and that you want to give the best experience possible. Give people a hint of the excellent service they’ll get in store by providing excellent service online, too.

When you get glowing positive mentions, let people know how much you appreciate it and thank them for the feedback. When the inevitable negative reviews roll in, take the opportunity to understand their point of view. Most consumers simply want to be heard, so recognizing their concerns may be all that’s needed to smooth things over and win them back as a customer. Plus, they may raise some good points that can give you ideas on how to better your business!

Size Up the Competition

Check out your competitors’ reviews for a look into their customers’ experience. Negative reviews can reveal a gap in the market, allowing your business to step up and fulfill that unmet need. This is especially true for small businesses, which are agile and able to adapt quickly to meet consumer needs.