Consumers trust online reviews. They can make or break your business. Have a plan!
A list with explanations of the important review sites your business should focus on.
Strategic review and advice on how to improve and defend your reputation online!
Consumers trust online reviews and it is important to protect your image online because negative reviews can hurt your business and income. Get more real reviews, remove fake reviews and protect your business online.
You can have the best marketing, the best placement on the search engines; the best office building but your online reputation (ie. Online reviews) can damage your business if you do not actively manage it. As a business owner, you have control over your business and online reviews can play a pivotal role in increasing your profits and bettering your business including customer retention and acquisition.
Reputation management is a fancy way of saying online reviews. This should be a part of your marketing budget and something that is reviewed frequently. Reviews matter and they directly impact the amount of income your business generates. There are important steps that you can take to decrease the amount of negative reviews you have online and increase the number of positives. Having an active reputation management plan focused on increasing the amount of positive reviews should be a significant part of your marketing plan. With that said, it will be a minor part of your entire marketing budget but arguably one of the most important investments you make in your business.
Business owners often face the tough decisions of choosing a digital marketing firm to handle certain aspects of their marketing efforts. With reputation management it is common for companies to attempt to flood their accounts with fake positive reviews in order to manipulate the results. This sometimes works in the short term but it is not a smart long-term strategy because the websites can quickly catch on and penalize you for an extended period of time. Often these fake reviews are clearly from people that are not clients and it is an instant turn off for potential customers.
The impact of negative reviews on your business can be significant because people do trust them and they are specifically targeted towards the negative aspects of your company without highlighting any of the positive aspects. With a well-thought-out reputation management plan you are able to manage your reputation online by showcasing all of your positives and addressing any potential negative feedback. As a business owner it is important to also listen to the negative feedback and make changes within your organization if certain themes develop.
How important is your online reputation to your business? Here is a statistic that should clearly show why you need an action plan and strategy – along with why you should heavily focus on your online reputation.
According to a 2009 Convergys Corp. study a single bad review will cost your business 30 potential clients – meaning people that found you through your marketing efforts and then checked out your reviews, prior to contacting you – then decided to move on and choose another company.
Negative reviews are costing you money - it is as simple as that.
Yes, without a doubt. If you were like every other consumer online, prior to making a purchase or choosing a company for a specific service you naturally will look at their online reviews. This is across-the-board both for products as well as services. Ask yourself when was the last time you went to a restaurant you knew nothing about without at least looking at their reviews? When it comes to major life choices like choosing an attorney or a doctor, the person painting your house or fixing your car, there is little doubt that that person is thoroughly vetting the businesses they are considering.
As a business owner you need to know and understand that your reviews online matter and they are either increasing your business or costing your business income. There really is no middle ground when it comes down to it. If you are not actively maintaining your online reputation you are making a detrimental long-term mistake for your business.
According to a study in Bright Local in 2019, 8 in 10 consumers will check reviews of local businesses prior to choosing to do business with them. 80%!
That is a significant source of new business and if controlled properly, combined with effective marketing it can heavily increase your revenues. As important to note, 79% of online users say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This means that when an online user is reading your reviews they are taking them as seriously as if their friend, who already used your company, was telling them the same thing. That is good but scary.
This means that your company needs to focus on creating an overall experience that generates good reviews for you. This starts with the receptionist and ends with you, the business owner. It is important your staff is trained with the focus being on converting leads but also keeping clients happy! It might be worth considering a customer service audit to figure out where your business strengths and weaknesses are.
If your clients are complaining about issues that you can fix and you choose not to fix those issues, then maybe it will destroy your business. If you choose to ignore the common issues that customers are complaining about then it can hurt your business.
One very important thing to note is that negative reviews are impossible to avoid, and users online understand that. There is not a realistic expectation for your business to have only 5 star reviews – it is actually less trustworthy because no one believes you are perfect, and when you have dozens of reviews that are all 5 star it loses credibility in many ways.
Your clients do not expect a perfect experience but they do expect to have certain goals met. Reading your reviews is the first step in finding out what business practices you may need to change. Good honest feedback from a third party can be a good thing and help you make small changes, which will increase your effectiveness and revenue. You can read more about that in our Business Owner Consulting Program.
Also please know that a lot of the time, your reviews come from people that have never contacted you, never stepped foot in your office nor have had any interaction with your company. These are typically the easiest to reply to and we have very effective ways to dilute the effect these have on your business.
It is well known that competition will take measures in order to hurt your business and leaving bad reviews is an anonymous way for them to try to do that.
Yes, respond, and respond quickly to online reviews. There is no reason to not reply quickly. You are immediately notified by the review site (ie. Google, Yelp) when you get a new review. It may be a positive review and it may be a negative review - but that client took time out of their day to either thank you or express their thoughts and it is vital that you reply, and reply quickly.
97% of online users read not just the review posted (source bright local 2019), but also the business’s reply to the review.
Responding to reviews is extremely important because it shows that you are actively engaged in trying to improve the overall customer experience. This helps you not only with conversion but also search engine optimization. It shows that you are a two-way street and when clients contact you that your business replies in a timely manner. It also shows that you are willing to fix the issues that the person is complaining about or at minimum address them head-on.
This is important for conversion because when a potential client is reading the reviews they will notice that you replied and attempted to resolve the issue. If the issue was not able to be resolved it at least shows that you addressed it – which does matter to potential clients.
Quick Tip: As you know it is common for competition to leave negative reviews or hire a company to do that on their behalf. When you receive a negative review and have no record of that person even being a client it is important that you call that out in your response while offering to assist and providing contact information for them to contact you. Those accounts rarely reply back and potential clients can easily see the review was not legitimate.
When a client leaves a positive review it is also important that you acknowledge them and thank them for doing that. For a client to go out of their way to log onto a review website and type out their opinion of your business they deserve acknowledgement from your business for doing that.
Replying to good reviews shows that you care about your clients, before they pay you and after. More importantly, replying to negative reviews is vital because it shows that you are trying to fix the problem, which you should be doing. There are certain strategies we have developed with this that work quite well in diluting the effect of the negative reviews. We are also able to have negative reviews taken down in many cases, if they are untrue or not factual. It is usually immediate and well worth looking into if you have a specific review that is really bothering or hurting your business.
ASK! You spend tons of money on your marketing both online and offline. You spend tons of time training your staff, making sure your business is at the top of its game but many businesses lose focus on just simply asking their clients if they would be willing to leave a review online. You would be surprised how many are willing to do so if they are asked. They chose you for a reason and you met their expectations and they will be happy to share their good decision with others.
Also, it is important to follow up with them a week later with a very specific well-crafted email either thanking them for leaving such a wonderful review or gently reminding them to leave a review. It is also very wise to have a small, postcard size print out telling them where they should leave reviews for you. This is helpful for two reasons, one is it makes it much easier for them. The second reason is you can choose what networks to target. As an example, if you had 100 positive reviews on Google yet only 10 on Yelp – it would be worth trying to get some additional reviews on that site as well. We also provide very specific help in gaining positive reviews on certain review sites known for “hiding” good reviews – and a simple to implement plan that has a proven track record.
The other thing that you can do to get more reviews online is to constantly focus on improving your day-to-day business operations. It is important to identify common issues that cause negative reviews like long hold times on the phone or long wait times in your office. Every business is different and has different metrics when it comes to reputation management but bettering your business and striving to do so every single day will also increase the number of positive reviews you get online. It is also important that you showcase your positive reviews on your website and also on your social media platforms. This will assist you in numerous ways but it also makes it less Intimidating for your clients to leave reviews because they see numerous other people doing it.
Some businesses choose to incentivize their clients to leave positive reviews for them online. There are benefits to doing this but also negatives. The biggest flaw with this is it can appear that you are paying people to leave your company positive feedback which can lower the value of the positive feedback to potential clients. Paid reviews are less trustworthy reviews. We have seen a few cases where negative reviews were left because of these tactics which hold a lot of weight with potential clients – because how do they know which reviews to trust and which ones to not trust?
It is imperative as the business owner that you read all the reviews of your business online and try to identify measures you can take in order to better your business. Sometimes brutal honesty from people that have been to your business is a very good thing. If they had a bad experience, be it from you having a busy day or your usual office staff being out sick – it is important to make changes that can help out in those types of scenarios. Let’s say you were running 30 minutes behind on all appointments and you knew that you would not be able to catch up. One of many solutions would be to have your office staff call your appointments ahead of time and let them know you are running a bit behind schedule. It is a small task (a few phone calls) but shows that you respect their time as well.
Scenario two (of many) would be that someone says they called on Tuesday and they were left on hold for 15 minutes and then once the call was answered, the person could not answer the questions so they decided to use a different company. The first step would be to reply to that negative review and explain why that happened and also why it is unusual and offer to meet anytime if you can be of any assistance. This reply is meant for the person leaving the review along with the hundreds of potential clients checking out your reviews today and two years from now. More importantly, this means you need to train a second person that can handle the duties of the receptionist in case this happens again.
Negative feedback can be a benefit to your business because it will directly tell you what aspects you need to fix in order to improve the overall customer experience. If there are common themes that arise from your online reviews it is important to weigh those and know that they are likely true experiences from actual clients. They are telling you exactly what you need to fix to improve the overall experience. It is also important to note that if that person is taking the time to log into a review site to leave this feedback there are likely numerous other clients that have experienced the exact same thing but are choosing not to take the time to leave a review - they likely have just switched to use a different company.
When it comes to negative feedback, as a business owner it is sometimes very hard to hear and even harder to adjust your business to make sure it does not happen again. However this is an essential part of growing your business and bettering your business while keeping your customer in mind. There will always be the occasional “crazy” review that you can and likely should ignore. Nonetheless, when a common theme develops from the negative reviews and you are choosing to ignore them then you are likely costing your business significant income on a monthly basis.
One other quick note: If you do fix the issue it is wise after a certain period of time to reach out to the people that left negative reviews and ask them to give you another shot. If they would be willing to do that you could both re-earn their business and also they would have the ability to adjust their review which could be significant for the conversion of new clients. Potential clients love seeing the businesses listen and will just her business in order to make clients happy.
There are numerous other aspects to consider when choosing to focus your time and efforts on reputation management. It is the best money you will spend because it can be the highest converting factor on getting clients into your practice. If done properly and managed correctly it can be a revenue generator and a gift that just keeps on giving. The best thing is once you have a system in place that actually works, there is little extra effort on your part that needs to be done day by day. SayWhat Consulting are experts in consulting clients to find the best company fit to handle your reputation management. We will vet them, find out their tactics and make sure they follow through on everything promised. We will also implement our client success programs within your office so that the good habits are easily learned by your staff and are embedded as daily habits.
When you are deciding on choosing a company to handle your reputation management it is important that you fully interview them and understand what they do to help your business garner more reviews while addressing the negative reviews. Do you want to be 100% sure that they are not using unethical tactics like buying fake reviews on behalf of your business. It is important that you evaluate their work including their successes and failures. Any company that cannot admit failures if somebody you would want to stay away from because as we all know there is no such thing as a perfect company.
Reputation management is an art that can be used to significantly impact your business in a positive way if handled correctly. We also offer services to remove negative reviews that are untrue or not factual about your business. There are a few companies that understand how to do this and we have successfully done that for over 10 years. Feel free to contact us with additional questions.
Every business has a reputation. It’s something that your company strives to maintain at all times. Your brand is the face of your company, and it needs to be appealing to potential customers. A good review can go a long way in helping you establish and maintain a solid reputation. If you want to increase sales, you need an online presence that showcases your products and services in the best possible light. This is why review sites are so important for any business that wants to grow its customer base. They help you get testimonials from past customers, provide insight into what people are saying about you, and help you keep track of everything that’s going on with your company. Here are important review websites that are vital for reputation management, along with information on their company, how to leave reviews and the benefits of having customers review your business on their particular website. This list covers some of the most important websites for your business to focus on but there are many more and every single business and area is different. There are certain websites aimed more toward the service industry versus products. Some websites are better known in certain demographic areas compared to others - you must understand your market and where people are searching. SayWhat Consulting has 20+ years of digital marketing experience and we can assist you in developing a strategy that will work for maintaining and increasing your online reputation. Reputation management is important for your business and the smartest decision you can make is to build up your reputation now instead of reacting to a negative review - proactivity works well with your online reputation. With that said, if you are looking at this because you just got a bad review, don't panic and give us a call at (424) 235-8704 or contact us here. We can help you out immediately.
Google Reviews and Google Maps
Google is the most popular search engine in the world, creating nearly 80 percent of all internet search queries. Google is a company based in the United States. It was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University. Google now employs more than 34,000 people around the world. In the beginning, Google was just an online directory that helped people find information on the internet. The company’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.’ They have done that and more. Reviews on Google are vital to your business and efforts. They are visible on Google Maps and play a role in the search engine optimization of your website and even your pay-per-click advertising. Out of all the review sites online - Google is by far the most important one to focus your reputation management efforts on. Google provides you with specific tactics you can use to increase your online reputation with them. Google's Best Practices for Reputation Management.
This social platform was created in San Francisco in the year 2004 by former PayPal employees Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman. The platform was initially started with the focus on providing a platform for consumers to post their reviews of local businesses. However, with time, the platform has grown to be much more than that and now has a huge user base of over 175 million people across the globe. Yelp is available in a wide variety of languages and is used by consumers in various countries across the world. Yelp is a review site that can be particularly helpful when it comes to building a reputation for your company. The advantage of Yelp is that it’s very well-known, and is often used by people looking for services like restaurants, salons, and other different establishments. If you have a lot of past or potential customers, or just people who have visited your business, put your contact information and address on your Yelp page. Make sure to include your website address and contact information as well. You can even use Yelp’s message tool to remind customers that they received the message, and ask them to leave you a review on Yelp. Yelp has both positives and negatives. One of the biggest negatives clients run into is filtered reviews. These reviews are "hidden" and difficult to find and do not count towards your overall star rating. There are tactics you can use specifically with Yelp in order to have your reviews unfiltered. With Yelp, it is also very possible to have negative reviews removed for your business if they meet certain criteria or are false. Contact us if you need assistance removing negative reviews from Yelp or having filtered reviews unfiltered!
Bing is Microsoft’s search engine that was launched in 2009. It is currently the default option for most internet users, hosting around 40% of the search market share. Bing is powered by data and algorithms, rather than human editors. It has a very user-friendly interface, and most users are more likely to click on a result if it is green, as opposed to if it is red. Bing also features local search, enabling users to search for nearby restaurants, shops, etc. Bing’s data comes from many sources, including web crawlers, user search behavior, and search partners. Bing Places is a website that provides local information. It’s powered by Microsoft and it aims to improve the search results for users looking for local information. According to ComScore, 126 million unique US users searched 6 billion on Bing networks in March 2019. The Bing search engine commands 36% of US desktop searches today. Bing is well worth investing time into for getting online reviews and being an active part of your reputation management strategy. As the default browser of a significant amount of people, many who do understand how to change that setting, it is wise to invest in gaining online reviews and also looking into Bing's Paid Advertising Options.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The Better Business Bureau is one of the largest complaint-management non-government organizations in the world. It maintains over 600,000 business profiles and is a trustworthy authority when it comes to reporting problems with a business. The BBB is wise to spend some time focusing on for a few reasons. It typically does not rank well when you search specific companies unless they have a lot of complaints, however still worth the effort because of their name recognition. People understand and trust the Better Business Bureau which means it is worth the small amount of time to gain a few reviews. More importantly, we also highly recommend paying for a profile listing with them for your search engine optimization. The cost is insignificant and it is a solid and trustworthy link going to your website. Links can improve a site’s rankings in Google and Bing, increase traffic and conversions, and even help with brand awareness. However, getting links can be a difficult task, and it’s important to choose the right ones. The Better Business Bureau is a very good one to have and simple to receive.
The Social Network has over 2 billion active users per month and is growing at a staggering rate. Facebook has revolutionized the way people communicate, share information, and keep up with friends and family. There are a lot of things that people don’t know about Facebook, and one of the biggest ones is how to get the most out of the social media platform. Facebook is an invaluable marketing tool that can be used to engage with millions of people online. It’s also one of the top places for businesses to get reviews, which helps boost your online reputation. You can create a business page on Facebook with a custom URL, and then use this URL to drive traffic to your main business page. With the vast amount of people on Facebook, it is common sense to have a specific strategy to increase the number of positive reviews about your business on it. You can do that by engaging with your current and potential customers on social media. You can ask for their feedback on your products and services and mention it to them when they are in your office or purchase a product. Facebook is well worth investing time into for your online reputation.
Angi (formerly Angie’s List)
Angi is an online review platform that allows consumers to share their experiences with a particular company or service provider. If you are looking for a house painter, carpenter, roofer, electrician, landscaper, etc., you can go through the review posted by previous customers to choose the right contractor for your home improvement project. Angi is the most trusted source for home improvement and contractors in the United States. With over 1,000,000 reviews posted, Angie’s List has become a trusted source for finding the right contractor and home improvement contractor. Their algorithm is much simpler than most review websites which makes it easier to implement a reputation strategy for your home improvement business.
Trustpilot is a community of more than 100 million users who provide reviews and recommendations on products and services. You can read reviews on hotels, restaurants, stores, car rentals, flights, and more. You can also rate and comment on the service, quality, value, and more. This information can help you decide on whether to buy a product or sign up for a service. Trustpilot is trusted by millions and well worth investing time into getting and increasing the number of positive reviews you have. They also make it simple to implement the reviews onto your website and receive reviews from clients.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and thus it is a great way for consumers to buy products. It is also a great way for businesses to sell their products online. If you are selling anything on Amazon, you want to make sure that your product gets good reviews. It is one of the most popular ways for consumers to shop for anything from clothes to electronic items and other items like groceries, health products, sunscreen and anything else you can think of. If you are selling any product online you are likely using Amazon and reviews play a major role in your product sales. People will buy products from Amazon based on the positive reviews that they see - we certainly do. Therefore, you want to make sure that your customers have a good experience buying your product. When you have a good product and good reviews, people are going to buy that product. The importance of a strong reputation management strategy with Amazon is a requirement to truly succeed - that first starts with your business having a good product. Assuming that you do a well-planned strategy for online reviews can result in a significant increase in the number of sales made. As discussed frequently on this page, consumers trust online reviews so they do matter.
Remember that Reviews can help boost your SEO
While Google and Bing both consider these external links when determining the value of your site, a strong review from a satisfied customer can also help you improve your site’s SEO by increasing Google’s confidence that the content on your site is valuable. This can improve your site’s Google ranking, as well as the visibility of your site in Google search results. Online reviews are one of the ranking factors with Google and Bing. People trust what others say about a business or product, and that is why a good reputation can increase your online rankings as well. Google wants to provide its users with the best overall experience which weighs all the onsite and offsite SEO - including the experiences that customers have when they decide to do business with your company.
Reputation management is a process of keeping the good image of a brand, business, organization, or individual in the eyes of the public. Keeping a good public image is a must for all the brands, as they need customers to keep their business running. The public image of any brand can be damaged by a few things, and that damage can be easily prevented by repositioning or repairing the image of the brand, business, or organization. It is the process of protecting your brand’s image, popularity, and name in the eyes of the public. It is a continuous effort that needs to be done regularly if you want to protect your brand’s reputation. The main purpose of reputation management is to avoid potential damage to your brand’s image, avoid legal issues, and increase sales. Client satisfaction is paramount to achieving those goals!
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