Any Search Engine Optimization expert will tell you that good reviews are great for your business. Good reviews help your business gain trust with your customers. They are also noticed by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
Interestingly, most businesses fear to ask for reviews. Some dread the ‘negative review’ that might damage their reputation. Other businesses don’t like to ask customers for something in return for their business. However, a business thrives on both positive and negative reviews. A business owner can tend to their own business well enough, but there are several more aspects of any business that even a business owner may overlook or not realize. That’s where reviews, both good and bad, come into play.
Reviews From Social Media Links Drive Customer Decisions
In fact, in today’s digital world, reviews from other people help drive the decisions of today’s savvy customer. Search engine optimization specialists realize that people are currently more accustomed to being bombarded with online advertising. Also, they are much less likely to trust online ads from businesses than they were decades ago. People consider advertising from businesses as ‘fake’, painting a rosy picture that does not truly reflect a business.
So, as a better alternative, customers are turning to themselves as a trustworthy source. Reviews are a customer’s way of letting other people know about their personal experience with a business. In fact, most people trust a review of a business, especially a descriptive one, just as well as if they had been referred by a friend or neighbor. Many people will get a personal recommendation about a business, then check online reviews to ‘validate’ the business.
On the other hand, customers have become savvy about online reviews. They realize that businesses can manipulate reviews as well. People are wary when they see nothing but 100% perfect positive feedback about a business. After all, we do not live in a perfect world. Customers are used to, and actually prefer, a business that is ‘less than perfect’. Businesses that have a rating between 4.2 and 4.8 stars actually fare better than those with perfect 5.0-star reviews.
Negative Reviews From Another Perspective
What most businesses don’t realize is that negative reviews are just as helpful as positive ones. Negative reviews help you get insights about your business from a completely different angle: the customer. Search engine optimization experts agree that a customer can teach an owner much more about their business than they realize. The customer may see a side of your business that you haven’t thought of before. Maybe the customer complains that they were inconveniently hassled or had to wait. Or, maybe one of your employees is continuously showing poor customer service skills. You may not realize there is a deficiency in your business unless your customer highlights it for you.
A New Way to Think About Reviews
Instead of thinking of reviews as ‘positive and negative’, think of all reviews as ‘feedback’ for your business. This feedback tells you how your business is doing from a customer’s perspective. That ‘negative’ feedback that you receive is actually highlighting an area of your business that your customer believes needs improving. If several customers complain about a long wait line, then you know that maybe it’s time to find a way to speed things up. By using this negative feedback, you can make your business better by improving those areas your customers highlight for you.
Your Customer Will Give You Feedback if You Ask
So how do you ask for feedback from customers? Luckily, customers are more willing nowadays to leave some kind of feedback if given a place to do so. In fact, a whopping 94% of customers never tell a business directly how their experience was. Instead, they turn to reviews to point out good and bad parts of their experience, and ‘get it off their chest’. Customers will turn to their favorite outlet to air their grievances about a business. Search Engine Optimization specialists suggest creating and monitoring your business profile on popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This helps you find what your customers are saying about your business, in real time.
Let Customers Give Feedback Right from Your Website
It makes good business sense to reach out to them to find out how their experience was. It shows you care about how they feel, whether it was good or bad. Online marketing experts recommend adding a feedback form to your website. Keep it simple; If customers are quickly able to use this feedback form to help tell a business how they’re doing, whether good or bad, they will.
Having a feedback form on your website shows potential customers right from the start that you want to make your business better. It shows that you care about their opinion, and you’re open to improving your business from their point of view. Plus, having customers give feedback on your website keeps negative feedback from leaving a bad mark on your social media profiles. Keep the form as simple as possible to encourage more people to complete the form. Use just a few multiple choice, yes/no, or 1-10 scale questions. Follow that with an open-ended question to solicit specific feedback.
Encouraging and Thanking Customers For Feedback
Once you receive feedback from a customer, you have to let them now that you have listened. Responding to both positive and negative feedback not only shows customers you are listening, but it shows you want to improve your business and make it better. If the experience was bad, own up to it and let them know you are taking steps to correct the problem. This way, customers who come back the next time have a vastly improved experience. Even those who say ‘I’ll never go there again’ can be swayed if a business thanks them for highlighting the issue, and lets them know they are taking steps to correct it.
Finally, thank the customer for their feedback. Let your customer know that you appreciate them giving their opinion, regardless of what they thought about your business. If they left positive feedback, you can ask them to post that to their favorite social media platform. This increases your positive reviews while keeping negative reviews away from those platforms.
Better Social Media Marketing for Better Search Engine Optimization
Of course, monitoring and responding to feedback can be a large job. A great way to help manage this is to get help from a professional Search Engine Optimization firm. And one of the best online marketing companies in Los Angeles is Nimbus Marketing. Their search engine optimization firm has been highly rated in Los Angeles for search engine optimization consulting services. With Nimbus Marketing as your social media marketing company, your business can only do better!
It’s no secret you need online review management for your business. However, you’ve got to get reviews the right way. Ask your online marketing company and they’ll tell you about the pitfalls of asking for reviews. Good reviews show potential customers that you do good work. On the other hand, Google wants to make sure your reviews are legitimate. So, how do you navigate the minefield of getting reviews?
Let’s Start With What Not to Do
You shouldn’t offer incentives for positive reviews. This is the first and most damning pitfall of review management. If Google finds out you’re offering people rewards for leaving good reviews, they’ll penalize your site. That’s a good way to turn your reviews from a good thing to a terrible thing. Most websites (except for Yelp) encourage you to ask for reviews, but nothing more. Yelp asks that you don’t even mention reviews (although this is a tough guideline to follow).
The other way you can tank your reviews is by setting up a review kiosk. Review kiosks are computers or tablets you set up for customers to write reviews before they leave. Both Google and Yelp have banned review kiosks. When your IP address sends them a bunch of reviews, they will begin filtering those reviews out.
Don’t Try To Force Your Customers Onto Your Platforms
You should remember, you can’t force your customers to use the review platforms you’re chasing reviews on. With that in mind, you want to decide on three or four different platforms that are the most important to your review management. Once you’ve chosen the platforms you want, make it easy for your customers to leave reviews the way they want to. Your customers won’t do it if it feels like a chore. We recommend that most businesses focus on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and perhaps one other site if there’s one that’s specific to your industry and more relevant to your business.
Settle In For The Long Game
Remember, you’re in this all the way. Much like football is a game of inches, review management for your Google and Yelp listings is a game of ones and twos. You don’t need or even want to get a flood of reviews. If you suddenly start getting reviews by the 10-fold, that might look suspicious to the algorithms and get those reviews flagged. If you just get 1 or 2 reviews a month, by the end of 3 years you’ll have more than 30 reviews. That looks good.
Don’t Shoot Too Early, But Don’t Miss Your Chance
If you ask your customers for reviews right after they’ve bought from you, or you performed your service, they’re probably going to be annoyed, and not write the review (or write a negative one). But if you wait for three months, they’re not going to remember the experience, and they’re not going to want to write the review either. Make sure you ask for a review at the right time for effective review management.
Show Your Customers That Their Review Matters
There aren’t a lot of people willing to write a review if they don’t think it’s going to matter. Just responding to reviews is a good start, but it’s not the end. Make sure you respond to the negative reviews, and whenever you can, make it right. Responding to positive reviews shows that you appreciate your customers and want to stay engaged with them, even when there’s nothing that needs to be “fixed”.
Create a Feedback Page
Print Up Current Reviews and Display Them In Your Store
If you’ve already got reviews out there, print them up and display them around your store. Put them in places customers will spend time. If you’re a restaurant, you could put them on your placemats, or even bathrooms. This has two huge effects. The first is showing how seriously you take reviews. Additionally, you can appeal to your customer’s ego. They might be able to get highlighted if they write a review.
Have you used any of these strategies? Have you found any strategies that work well? Drop us a line on our Facebook page and let us know! If you’re looking for a full service online marketing company that’s out there to get you up there, call us at (310) 486-1154, shoot us an email, or visit our contact page to request a conversation.
In the world of marketing, SEO is one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood marketing terms. That’s right, friends: I said marketing. Even the best SEO experts have their challenges in debunking SEO myths. It has been painted as a top-secret magic trick that requires the power of Gandalf the Grey to learn its ways, in reality, at its core, it is a marketing method. The undervaluation of SEO has, in turn, caused Savvy business people to fall short in understanding the true value SEO has to offer. SEO is important and is part of a good solid marketing plan for any sized company.
It is extremely unfortunate when a business fails to see the value SEO has to offer. SEO is a very viable marketing outlet and can bring you qualified leads and customers. Studies have proven that SEO can have a superb Return on Investment (ROI) when compared to traditional marketing outlets such as TV and printed ads. SEO won’t turn your company into a Fortune 500 company or bring millions overnight. However, it will provide you with visibility, branding, traffic, high ROI, credibility, and insight into customer behavior.
SEO Visibility and Branding
Search engine ranking is important but it’s about more than having the users click through your website. Keywords are of critical importance and provide visibility to your company. Many web users search multiple times for a product or service. Keywords provide visibility for multiple search results that are related to your business. For example, most customers don’t just simply search once they click on a website and find themselves satisfied. The most common pattern is that they click on multiple websites, edit their search, click on further sites, hone their search again, and so on.
What this means for your business
As customer surfs the web they will enter multiple keyword structures. With SEO your company will continue to be visible as they browse which will create more and more mindshare. It will increase the likeliness of them clicking through your website and build trust. This brings us to the next topic of why SEO is imperative for your business.
SEO Provides Your Business Credibility
Searchers unknowingly make mental notes based on the ranking the search results provide. Think back to the days before the internet. Did you call the guy on the 7th page of the listings or did you start from the first page and work your way through. Higher rankings equal a great amount of consumer confidence in your company. High search ratings ultimately will bring your business higher credibility.
SEO Increases Traffic
Traffic alone will not make you any money. However, would you rather set up your storefront in an old country back road or in the middle of Times Square? The people walking around everywhere aren’t guaranteed to make you money but eventually, they will become your customer. Just like Times Square, you still have to give it your best effort to sell to your customers once they are on your website. What’s outstanding is that SEO is usually a great deal more affordable than Times Square.
SEO Has a High ROI in Advertising
SEO rewards your business for its efforts at a higher rate than virtually all traditional forms of offline advertising — this translates to virtually all types of internet marketing as well. SEO provides a unique inbound marketing strategy; it provides you with the ability to market to the customer when they are in actual need of the product or service. Unlike commercials, it doesn’t interrupt the buyer’s favorite T.V. show or music. There is no need to take up space on a news article or clutter up someone’s email with spam. You simply appear when they are in need of business. The beauty is that you don’t have to convince them they need your product or service you just have to convince them that you are the right company for them. Basically, half the battle is already won before it ever started!
SEO Provides Unmatched Insight
As previously stated, SEO generates a significant amount of traffic which is advantageous. Google Analytics has the ability to track this traffic. Google Analytics is an absolutely amazing tool. The data and metrics are valuable because they provide insight into your customers: demographics, age, purchasing patterns, browsing, language barriers, the technology they use, times they are most active, and more. This provides you with the capability to make informed decisions and layout the best strategies both on and offline.