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reviews

By Sammy Yatco, Client Services Coordinator, @syatco

You’ve been dying to try a sushi restaurant around the corner and decide to go for their happy hour specials. You order the spicy tuna and avocado roll and on your way home you feel the rush of cold sweats and hear the growls of an unhappy stomach. You write a rant on Yelp warning potential diners to stay away… far far away. Sound familiar?
According to a study conducted by Cone Inc., a Boston based strategy and communications agency, 80 percent of consumers have changed their minds about buying a product after reading negative reviews. That’s a lot of opinions being swayed in the hands of consumers who take to online sites like Google Places and Yelp.

Restaurants and services are being widely reviewed, which could greatly benefit or hinder a business. If you are a business owner, make sure you are listed in these directories and keep track of the reviews on those sites. It is also important to encourage your existing patrons to review your business in order to attract new ones. Remember, it’s much easier to convince someone to try your restaurant when it comes from an outside source and not just the delicious pictures on your website. Word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising as well as the most cost effective.  Even if they have negative things to say about their experience, it is a chance for you to address those issues and show others that you are proactive about your business and its success.

Brick-and-mortar stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy offer consumers the ability to shop online, which also opens the door to online reviewing: a dual-edged sword. Online shopping giant Amazon has one of the largest amounts of online product reviews, with thousands of people eager and willing to share their opinions about the latest MacBook Pro or XBOX 360 game.

Online reviews could be the boost your business needs to get out of the recession rut so many people are finding themselves in. So get out there and don’t be ashamed to Google yourself.

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