Sharing what you dig and what you don’t is nothing new, but today this consumer word-of-mouth happens at lightning speed online, in the form of reviews. What’s more is that in a recent national survey, 85% of consumers said that they read online reviews about local businesses. With that in mind, Yelp and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched the Success With Online Reviews initiative to help America’s small businesses successfully engage with online reviewers.
The kickoff event was held this past week at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) where local business owners were invited to learn online marketing insights from a panel of business owner experts and reviewers from Yelp's Elite squad. The panelists included Pam Nelson of Butter Lane Cupcakes, Michael Brau of Dorado Tacos, and Jay Sofer of Lockbusters (who also holds the title of most reviewed locksmith in New York on Yelp). During the interactive session, attendees learned several key points including what motivates online reviewers to write as well as the impact of customer service on ratings -- it turns out the highest rated businesses tend to be focused on providing a great customer experience. Another pearl of wisdom from the panelists was that consumers actually like it when business owners respond to their online reviews.
In the coming months Yelp and the SBA will bring these local expert workshops to several key cities around the country, as well as host a series of webinars which begins on February 11th at 2PM EST. For additional dates, times, and workshop locations be sure to check out www.sba.gov/onlinereviews.
The Success With Online Reviews initiative will run through National Small Business Week (May 12-16).