Owning a business located in a metro area can be a mixed blessing. While you have millions of potential customers nearby, they are spread out over a very large and diverse area. To reel them in, you need to attract their interest through multiple means. Of course, this involves traditional channels such as advertising via electronic media as well as signage and newspapers, but that’s just the beginning. You probably also already have a website and pages on major social media platforms. All of this is terrific, but there may still be a missing link. Have you encouraged your customers to leave positive reviews about your products and services?
Websites such as Yelp enable people to be the 21st-century equivalent of a town crier, spreading the good word about a great bargain or a service done right, or wrong. Studies suggest that online consumers look at two or three reviews before they make a purchase. In fact, research shows that if you have a Yelp account, you will earn an average of $8,000 extra in just one year. A whopping 90 percent of customers who read a Yelp review say their purchasing decisions were affected by it. Yet 87 percent of small businesses still don’t have a Yelp account.
Another way to cash in on your customers’ praise is to make your business known in your local area. If you sign up with Google Local and Yahoo Small Business, you will increase your chances of appearing on Google Maps and other third-party applications. Just be sure the sites you choose have a large number of active participants. It also can be to your advantage to publicize your Facebook page, offering incentives to customers who “like” your page or give you a positive review. Finally, don’t overlook the power of online video giant YouTube, a platform that allows people to both hear and see customer testimonials.
Once you start to generate some positive buzz about your business, don’t let it disappear into the cloud. Imbed links to these written and video testimonials on your website and in your blog pages. This may actually help to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and thus drive more customers to your website and your brick-and-mortar business.
In the huge and bustling melting pot of a big metropolitan city, it is easy to feel a bit lost and anonymous as a business owner. Fortunately, you don’t need to take on the task of becoming well known on your own. Let your customers help through their positive testimonials, Yelp interviews, social media shout-outs and YouTube videos. As they sing your praises and generate positive buzz, first there will be a ripple, then a cascade. Before you know it, your city won’t seem nearly as intimidating.