"Does Noble County have an angel investor network?"
That question, posed recently, prompted SHOPNoble to think about how people who care deeply about the success and livelihood of hundreds of small businesses and entrepreneurs can "invest", beyond buying products and services. (The answer is no, however there are a couple of investor groups that do entertain pitches from northeast Indiana's businesses. Learn more about the Indiana Angel Network and Elevate Ventures.)
How can someone without financial means invest in the sustainability and success of our locally owned small businesses? With their words! The statistics about the value and impact of leaving reviews and testimonials about a business are clear:
92% of customers read online reviews before buying (Big Commerce)
72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business (Big Commerce)
70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers (Nielsen)
88% of consumers say reviews influence their online purchasing decisions. (Vendasta)
88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family (Big Commerce)
97% of B2B (business to business) customers cited testimonials and peer recommendations as the most reliable type of content. (Demand Gen Report)
(Statistics from Boast)
SHOPNoble encourages anyone who values local small businesses to consider investing a little time into sharing their positive reviews and testimonials to help boost awareness and encourage others to "shop local". While there may be hundreds of digital platforms that collect ratings and testimonials, we're sharing a few that are highly visible and can have a great impact for any small business:
Google My Business, for any kind of business
Use Google Search to locate a business. Nearly every business with a brick and mortar location has a Google business listing. Once you find it, you can Write a Review.
Facebook Recommend, for any kind of business
Find a Facebook Business Page and leave a "recommendation" by clicking on the page's "Reviews" tab, then selecting the "Recommend" button. Add your testimonial for added impact.
Yelp reviews, great for restaurants and attractions
Yelp is a popular site for locating places to eat, and reviews can be added by navigating to https://www.yelp.com/writeareview/ and using the search feature to locate businesses, then choosing a star rating and adding a testimonial.
TripAdvisor for places of leisure and tourism
TripAdvisor is world's largest travel platform and it helps 463 million travelers each month as users browse more than 860 million reviews and opinions. To add a review and testimonial, go to https://www.tripadvisor.com/ and use the search feature to find local businesses.
And more more...
Hubspot has published a list of 26 digital platforms where consumers can review businesses, and find reviews of businesses. Many of these providers also offer widgets and other tools to aid business owners in asking their patrons to review their business. SHOPNoble encourages business owners to pick one or two that best serve their demographic, then to market the opportunity for their patrons to "invest" further into their sustainability by leaving a review.