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4 Steps to Establishing Your Business on Review Sites If you're trying to sell something, online reviews are important to your customers. Here's how to beef up your business's presence on review sites.

By Ann Handley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Let's start with a question: Are online reviews important to your customers? The answer: Only if you want to sell something. Consumers, whether they're in the market for a Tesla or a toaster, are increasingly savvy, and a recent survey from software company Baynote and the e-tailing group cited online ratings and reviews as the most influential source of information for those making both online and in-store purchases.

"Today's customers do their homework," notes Shelly Kramer, a Kansas City, Mo.-based brand strategist whose firm has advised clients like Chipotle and Wal-Mart. "Your customers check you out long before they ever decide to buy from you. They rely less on advertising and more on search results. They rely on their friends' opinions. And they rely on customer reviews."

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