When a consumer is using a search engine to look up local business for their products or services, online reviews are one of the first things they look for. This general perception of your brand by the public is referred to as your online reputation and it is a crucial factor in determining your local search rankings. Your online reputation is an ongoing project that requires proactive maintenance. While it can be overwhelming, here are a few tips to help you create a winning reputation!
1 – Getting Started
Cultivating a good online reputation may seem like a lot of work upfront but following a few of these simple techniques can help you get started! After you have sold a product or completed a service for a customer, you have roughly one week or so to solicit feedback from them. There are multiple approaches to get someone to leave you some positive feedback. The first approach is to simply ask for a testimonial and you can train your staff to do the same. There is also nothing wrong with utilizing a more traditional marketing technique and handing out print materials; such as flyers or business cards. If you would rather have a more technical approach, there is always email solicitation. If you don’t already, be sure to gather your customers name, phone number and email address. That way, after you have done business with a customer you can send a follow up email thanking them for their business and displaying the links to the website where you would like them to leave feedback.
2 – Where to Send Customers
So, you now know how to ask for reviews but how do you know where to send them to? Review sites have a major impact on customer decisions, so you want to send them where it will help your online reputation the most! The top major review platforms are Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp and YP (Yellow Pages). Online reviews are said to make up at least 10% of how Google and other search engines rank results, which makes Google My Business your number one place to send your customers to leave feedback! However, if your customers do not have a Gmail account it is recommended you send them to Facebook, Yelp! Or YP as backups. Customers will need to have accounts with the aforementioned platforms to leave reviews.
3 – Maintenance
You may be wondering, “Now that I’ve gotten some reviews, is my work done yet?” Not yet! Your online reputation is an ongoing project that requires maintenance and consistent monitoring. You will need to continue to solicit new reviews so that your online reputation stays fresh and competitive. If you only have reviews that were posted 6 months to a year ago, they don’t hold as much credibility as a recent review. The goal of a steady stream of reviews is to continuously display how great your products or services are. You will also want to take a proactive approach to managing your online reputation as well. With the positive always comes the negative reviews. Every once in a while, a negative review will surface, it happens. You don’t want to just ignore it, you want to take control of the situation to manage what people are saying about you. Always be sure to respond within 24 hours of the posting to offer a solution or to write a simple thank you.