If it comes search engine results for local businesses, one of the important factors that influence visitors is the quantity and quality of reviews. A restaurant listing with a limited number of reviews, no reviews at all, orworse, negative reviews, will not get many clicks.
We all understand that online reviews are important. But how do local small business owners promote them? There are many ways.
Respond to All Reviews
Certainly it is important for local organizations to encourage reviews. But, it’s also important that the business reacts to present ones. If the review is positive, thank the customer for leaving it. If the review is negative, respond in a positive way and encourage the reviewer to take the matter offline, to tackle the issue directly. Prospective clients want to see that you’re receptive to reviews.
Make It Easier to Leave a Review
It’s not easy to leave a review on Google, the most important place to get reviews. Users will have to create a Google account, log into that account, surf the world wide web to get the organization, then leave the review. That’s plenty of hoops to jump through.
There are many ways to encourage customers to leave testimonials, and make it easier.
- Create a prominent display or banner in your business, requesting a review.
- Produce a PDF flyer — you can print it or send through email — with instructions on the best way best to leave a review.
- Create a giveaway to market testimonials. Once per month, give a gift card or other incentive to somebody that has left a review. Do not overlook the giveaway as being for positive reviews only. Buying positive testimonials is unethical.
- Mail a postcard or letter to your clients, thanking them for their purchase and requesting feedback. Give a URL to them, to write a review on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other popular sites.
- Read what Google states about getting reviews (on Google). There is an whole page that explains, in part,”Let them [customers] understand it is fast and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”
Installation and Confirm Your Business Profile
To react to Google reviews, you need to verify the information that Google has in your company. Google obtains, for Maps, basic info — company name, phone number, address — from public sources. However, it is up to the business owner to confirm that the information is correct, and to supply extra information, like hours, the website URL, and much more.
Verifying the information that Google has on your company will allow you to respond to reviews, and include additional, critical data, like photos, hours, website URL, and much more. In cases like this, Plano Air Conditioning and Heating has done that, to create a more complete profile for prospects. Click picture to enlarge.
You may set up and confirm the regional small business listings through Google’s Google My Business support. Or maybe you use a third-party supplier, such as Yext or Advice Local (my employer) to do it for you — not only on Google but on other directories, too.
Whichever you choose, remember that it is going to take some opportunity to produce an account at each directory, confirm the list, then make sure that your company NAP — name, address, phone number — is the exact same across those sites.
The U.S. Small Business Association recently supplied, in a blog post, many approaches to promote positive reviews of your business. I’ve already mentioned, above, a variety of the SBA’s suggestions, such as confirming and establishing your company profile and monitoring reviews. Other suggestions I have not covered include the following.
- Include Great photographs. A listing that has bad photos of the business will not encourage prospective clients. Have good photos, even if it means hiring a photographer.
- Remind customers verbally of review websites. Make it a practice of asking customers for testimonials and reminding them to leave a review.
- Use program or a different service that will help contact your clients for testimonials.
Whether you use software or a service to advertise reviews really depends on your situation. In the event you have hundreds or thousands of customers, or don’t have enough time to run your organization and encourage reviews, a service which manages this for you might be a wonderful option.
No matter encouraging testimonials will bring more clicks and new customers.
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