Today, more and more consumers are turning to the internet to make decisions about everything from home and car purchases to healthcare providers. They are relying – even demanding – peer reviews and feedback that will allow them to make purchasing decisions. Already playing an ever-increasing role in the purchasing of business technology and healthcare, the “yelpification” of business is fast becoming an important factor that all online businesses need to consider, regardless of whether they’re B2B or B2C.
What is “yelpification”? According to the Urban Dictionary, it is “the process by which a place of business is reviewed by an online community. Can also be used to describe the phenomenon of people becoming more aware of a business, area, or region through online reviews.” The rise of yelpification is due in large part to the fact that so many consumers are now researching products and services online. Many consumers seek out online reviews regarding products and services because these reviews are considered to be unbiased and honest opinions based on personal experiences, helping them make better buying decisions. In addition, the very knowledge that these reviews are written by peers gives them greater credibility and transparency than information provided directly from a company.
Given the high value consumers are placing on peer reviews these days (and knowing that this trend is likely to continue as consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to find products and services), how can businesses use this knowledge to their advantage and embrace yelpification?
4 TIPS FOR USING YELPIFICATION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
1. Make sure your website is responsive (optimized for mobile devices, both smartphone and tablet). It is well documented that mobile searches are outpacing desktop searches, and mobile search will have a commanding share of search volume in 2015. Mobile responsiveness is essential. Indeed, Google has modified their algorithm to penalize those sites that are not responsive (mobile friendly) in the search results.
2. Proactively invite and engage in discussion with your potential customers; make them “sell” your company! Get involved in discussions involving your products or services. Social media is a fantastic way to do this. Post about non-controversial, product- or service-related topics to generate online conversation, and be objective and limited in your responses, adding clarification or helpful information when it’s appropriate. This type of real time interaction can generate positive word-of-mouth and can turn customers in to advocates!
3. Ask your customers to write unbiased reviews and testimonials on your website and social media pages. According to YodleInsights.com, a mere 7% of customers have been asked by a company to write an online review for them. The same study also found that 89% of customers would be willing to write a review if asked. This desire for customers to share their experiences is not limited to reviews; social media posts and testimonials also help lend to your credibility, create an opportunity for customer interaction, and help spread the word.
4. Remember that all reviews are good reviews and provide an opportunity for improvement and establishing credibility. There is research that indicates that a few bad reviews can actually increase conversion rates. When potential customers see a few negative reviews (just a few), they tend to find the information as reliable and unbiased, which helps your business establish credibility. Responding to reviews with the intention of resolving a problem or acknowledging that the review is providing valuable feedback that will be used to improve products or services will improve your online reputation.
A TIP FOR DEALING WITH NEGATIVE REVIEWS
What do you do when a review is especially negative? Extremely unfavorable reviews should be dealt with outside of your web/social media presence by communicating directly to the respondent (via phone or email), to minimize potential backlash and/or escalation.
Online marketing is a very effective tool for lead generation. The importance of using the web to gain new clients and need for responsive websites in growing your online presence cannot be understated. Embracing yelpification as outlined in the steps above can open up a whole new group of consumers and allow you to actively engage with these potential customers in real time. Yelpification is currently highly utilized in the Enterprise Tech and healthcare fields, and all signs point to this trend expanding into all areas of online marketing, customer service, and reputation management.