We believe it’s important to establish – and maintain – a presence on the various online business directories. Consumers turn to sites like Yelp and MerchantCircle, because they trust recommendations from other consumers.
For the most part, these conversations happen organically. Consumer A writes a review of a restaurant. Consumer B reads it and makes a reservation. When you, the business, have an opportunity to be apart of the conversation, you should take it.
Merchant Circle recently introduced two new features, Neighbors and Answers. On the surface, both appear to be geared toward the consumer, but we see them as excellent marketing tools.
Answers lets consumers post a question, and merchants offer advice. For example, if you’re looking for a personal trainer in Miami, you can post a question about beach workouts. A local trainer can respond with tips, but really, he’s establishing a connection with you and promoting his own services.
Neighbors is a social network within MerchantCircle. Consumers can follow a business and receive updates on promotions and events. There’s no mistaking the Twitter feel here, but Neighbors lets consumers keep an eye on their favorite merchants without leaving the site or sifting through tweets. For example, a coupon for a half-price manicure at my favorite nail salon is automatically deposited in the coupons area of my profile, where I can easily retrieve and print it.
With over 20 million unique consumer visitors a month, MerchantCircle has already arrived. The service is free, so there’s really no reason not to register your business. Features like Answers and Neighbors are just the cherry on top.