JVI Mobile Marketing
How to Use Online Reviews to Gain the Success You Crave

How to Use Online Reviews to Gain the Success You Crave

If you’ve been wondering what the big deal is about online reviews, you’ve come to the right place. Here you'll learn how reviews affect your search rankings, when you should remove your reviews (spoiler alert: not very often) and how to earn more positive reviews to keep your business booming.

arm reaching through computer screen handing money to shocked woman

Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings?

You already know that local SEO is the name of the game. It’s essential to send Google signals – through keyword use and other SEO techniques – that your business is local. You also want them to know who it serves and where it is.

What you might not know is this:

Your online reviews play a direct role in your business making the cut to appear in the Google local three-pack.

The Google 3-pack is a collection of businesses that appear at the top of Google’s SERP when someone searches a keyword. It turns out that one of the keys to landing a coveted spot in the three-pack is getting good reviews. Here’s what you need to know.

The Proof That Reviews Matter

How can we tell that reviews make a difference in SEO rankings? Google’s algorithm is proprietary and the known ranking factors (keywords, links, and Google Rankbrain, to name a few) don’t include reviews.

Local SEO experts have been saying this for years, but it’s actually fairly easy to see that online reviews are important. Google any local business category and you will get a list of results with a three-pack at the top. When you look at the businesses that made it into the three-pack, you’ll most likely see the following:

  • Star ratings pulled directly from online reviews of the business
  • Keywords in those reviews

For example, if you searched for the keyword “Spokane hair salon,” you would see reviews that related to that keyword. That’s all the proof we need to know that reviews make a difference in determining which businesses appear at the top of the SERP.

The Local SEO Guide found that local reviews were the second most influential factor in determining search rank in their 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study. The influence in this study appeared to be limited to reviews that specifically included the keyword searched. Customers, however, are likely to use the most commonly searched terms naturally.

In addition, LSI keywords that are related to the search term may also play a role. Try Googling your top keyword and looking at what’s highlighted in the reviews in the three-pack. You may notice that reviews that use semantically-related words show up even if they don’t use the precise term you searched.

online reviews will effect your google ranking
You want your business to be in the top results when customers are looking for businesses like yours near them

The Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings

There are some concrete reasons that Google thinks reviews matter. They’re directly related to the ways that Google’s algorithm has evolved. In the early days of the internet, it was possible to get a page to rank highly on any search engine by stuffing it with keywords.

That changed because it omitted any concern for the experience of a user who clicked through to a site. After all, if you could click on a site because it ranked for a keyword only to find that it was useless to your needs, you wouldn’t revisit it. You might even resent the search engine that directed you to it in the first place.

With that in mind, here are:

The Top Three Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings

  1. It trusts outside sources more than it trusts you (at least when it comes to the relevance of your site.) This first reason is related to the ongoing importance that Google places on authority backlinks. It stands to reason that it would accept mentions and references from other sources as proof that your site is relevant to certain keywords and topics.
  2. Google uses written content as a way of determining authenticity. When customers write reviews, they describe your business. They may even include information that’s not on your website. Even if you don’t list reviews on your site, these things can help flesh out the information on your site and give Google more context for its interpretation of your site.
  3. Click-through rates also influence Google’s ranking algorithm. That might seem obvious, but what you need to know is that a business with lots of good reviews is, inevitably, going to get more clicks and traffic than a business with a few mediocre reviews. It’s in your best interest to encourage online reviews if you want to boost your Google rank.

These three things explain why reviews matter to Google. The key takeaways here is that Google takes outside resources into account to help it determine the authenticity and usefulness of your website. Users “vote” for your site by writing reviews and describing your site. Just as web users trust peer reviews to help them make buying decisions, Google trusts them to help it make recommendations of which sites are most likely to be useful for the keyword searched.

How to Make the Most of Your Reviews

Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your online reviews:

  1. Claim your listings on all relevant review sites. This includes Yelp and Google My Business, as well as local review sites. You want to make sure that you use keywords in your listing, link to your site, and include relevant information that will help people find you.
  2. Link to your review pages directly from your website so customers can leave reviews if they want to.
  3. Put a reminder about online reviews on your receipts or comment cards. Remember that dissatisfied customers are often motivated to leave online reviews, but happy customers will do so if you make it easy for them.
  4. Send a note to your email list with a link to your review sites and ask them to leave a review.
  5. Reply promptly to negative reviews to try to resolve them and get the reviewer to update their review.

These things will help you dial up the impact of your reviews and help you get into the coveted local three-pack for your most important keywords.

Reviews matter…

You know that, and now you can do something about it. Organic traffic is increasingly difficult to come by but encouraging and highlighting your reviews can help you get the biggest possible bang for your marketing bucks.

Reputation Management and Online Review Generation
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When Should You Remove Online Reviews?

Not too long ago, business reviews were written by subject-matter experts and printed in well-known publications. In today’s world, that’s simply no longer the case. Nowadays your customers can easily voice their opinion and experience they had with your business online for the world to see.

But that’s actually a good thing – and there are plenty of good reasons why your business should be listed on review sites. The first is that you get to add a link to your website which will boost your traffic – and secondly, people can also get some basic information about your business such as the name of your hours of operation, where it’s located, your phone number and so on.

But most importantly it’s the customer reviews on these review sites (they call them review sites for a reason!), that makes them so important, but it also can be a double-edged sword.

Positive reviews can do wonders for your business, as review websites are considered more credible than any form of advertising. But negative reviews can have disastrous consequences to your bottom line. The complaint can be serious enough to significantly derail your business. Like a report about seeing bed bugs in a hotel room or a cockroach in an entrée at a restaurant. What’s really frustrating is when the report is not true and no merit at all.

But the question is, when should you remove reviews – reviews that make your business look bad?

thumbs down surrounded by several negative online reviews

Advantages of Removing Negative Reviews

Purging negative reviews can be a good thing. First of all, it limits the number of people who’ll ever read them – keeping the damage to a minimum. After all, it’s not unusual for a potential customer to reconsider their choice after reading just one negative review over a dozen positive ones.

Another benefit to removing negative reviews means that your average rating will go up. Studies show that a high customer rating means a potential increase of 55% in sales. According to Yelp, a restaurant with a 4-star rating is 63% more likely to be full at any given time than a restaurant with just a 3-star average rating. And a one-star increase in the average rating can bump up your revenue by 5 to 9 percent.

So it’s blatantly obvious why anyone who runs a business would want to remove negative reviews.

Disadvantages of Removing Negative Reviews

But these reasons alone for removing negative reviews doesn’t mean you should necessarily do so. In fact, websites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google don’t make it easy for you to remove negative reviews for one very simple reason— it damages the credibility of the site and the business

Removing reviews is to remove trust
People trust review websites because they believe that by and large the reviews are honest and unbiased. To most people it’s an obvious red flag if they only find positive reviews. There’s got to be some contrast. You can’t please everyone and consumers know that. They will become suspicious if all you have is raving reviews about your business.

In this way, negative reviews are helpful because almost 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to trust the reviews when they see that there is both positive and negative reviews in the mix. In fact, it’s been found that shoppers who read negative reviews are actually 67% more likely to convert than the average consumer.

What to Do When Slapped With Negative Reviews

First of all you need to understand that unless the review is inaccurate, a fake review, or violates the policy of the review website in question – you don’t stand a very good chance of actually getting the review removed.

To start with, you need to keep an eye out for online reviews – whether they are positive or negative. But if you can’t spend the whole day manually monitoring these website, it’s a good idea to consider using an online tool like reviewpush.com to help you monitor the sites automatically.

If you want a free alternative, setting up a Google Alert will pretty much do the same thing.

Once you have been alerted to a new review, it’s best if you can respond to it right away, good or bad. When you respond to positive reviews, it shows that you’re a gracious business owner who acknowledges the importance of your customers.

But when you are responding to negative reviews or complaints, you have several options. For example, if a customer felt your business fell short in some way then you should apologize and promise to do better.

But you can turn a negative into a positive while by taking responsibility but also emphasizing how you’re going to do better next time to balance things out.

Or you can even engage with the customer and ask ideas from them. Apologize for any inconvenience caused and then ask if they have suggestions on how you can do things better.

Whatever you do:

Just be polite.

The good thing about responding to negative online reviews is that 33% of the reviews are amended and become a positive review instead when they get a response from business owners. So it’s a win-win solution.

Negative reviews with inaccuracies or negative comments of your business that are flat out lies posted maliciously–often by competitors, or disgruntled ex-employees are the reviews that you’ll have the best chances of getting removed – but there must be a legitimate reason.

How to Remove Online Reviews

Each review site has its own rules and guidelines, but for most reputable sites you can’t just remove a review simply because it says negative things about your shop. However, you can take a peek at the guidelines governing such reviews, and you can flag a negative review if you think it has violated a rule or guideline.

  • For Google local reviews, check out the Google local review content policies and see if the review violated any one of its guidelines. If it has, you can flag the review and bring it to Google’s attention. Examples include offensive content, advertising for your competitors, or conflict of interest such as a review which was written by a competitor.
  • The Facebook Community Standards are similar to Google’s. You can just follow the Facebook instructions to report a review and request for its removal.
  • For Yelp, check out their guidelines and if you see a violation you can follow the instructions on reporting an inappropriate review.

For other review sites:

Contact the website’s webmaster, requesting them to remove the content, or at least indicate to Google that it shouldn’t crawl or index the page. They will probably require a compelling reason to remove reviews, so back up your request with as much proof as possible.

Whether you plan to keep or dispute a negative review, your main priority should be to boost the trust of your customers. Remember, positive reviews can make them trust you, but the presence of negative reviews doesn’t always mean that they will trust you less.

It may be better to simply respond to negative reviews in a proactive way than try to remove them. When you show to your customers that you value them by making every effort to give them a positive experience, then even bad reviews can be used to your advantage.

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6 Smart Ways to Generate More Positive Reviews

We have 6 tips for you to generate more positive reviews in a smart way. Who doesn’t love receiving positive reviews from a satisfied customer? Every business owner knows the value of positive reviews – and they’ve never been more important than they are right now.

Did you know that more than 80% of all consumers say that they trust a product review from a stranger as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. Not only that, people trust user reviews more than the official descriptions of products.

If you’re thinking of customer reviews as something that you can’t control, think again. Business owners can do a lot to encourage reviews – and of course, you can increase the chance that you'll have mostly positive reviews by providing excellent quality and service.

Still, those things aren’t enough. You can’t afford to sit back and hope that customers leave reviews of your business.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take a backseat to your customer’s whims. Here are six smart ways you can get more positive online reviews.

#1: Email Customers After a Purchase

Do you send customers an email after they make a purchase?

I’m not talking about the confirmation email where you send them an order number if they order online. I mean an email where you specifically ask them how they like your product and request that they write a review.

This is a practice that’s become increasingly common – and for a good reason. Some people automatically leave reviews for everything. They’re the well-known Yelpers who have thousands of reviews.

Many people need a reminder. They’re not going to leave a review of their own accord – but they just might if you ask them nicely. This is the review version of the call to action on your website. It’s a specific request to take a specific action.

Try sending your review request email a week to ten days after the purchase. That way, the customer will have had a chance to use your product and may be ready to offer an opinion.

#2: Empower Your Employees to Ask for Reviews

Sometimes, making the right request at the right time is all it takes to get the reviews you want. That’s why it makes sense to have your employees ask for reviews.

Some Uber drivers do this. Just before they arrive at their passenger’s destination, they ask about the review. The simple request puts the idea of leaving a review in the customer’s mind and greatly increases the chances that they’ll comply and leave a review.

Why ask at the point of service? When a customer has just made a purchase or used your service, the experience is fresh. A cashier who provides a friendly checkout and some banter is ideally placed to ask for a review because they have an opportunity to build rapport with the customer.

If you decide to use this method of getting reviews, consider printing cards asking for reviews and putting links to your review pages on your website. You don’t want customers to be confused about what to do – so eliminate the guesswork and you’ll reap the rewards.

#3: Use a Reviews Provider

The benefit of using a reviews provider like JVI Mobile is that they can get you a bunch of reviews at once. They’re real reviews from your real customers and they can give your page instant credibility.

These providers are a good option for start-up businesses because they can make your website appear to be well-established and popular. As you go, you can supplement the online reviews you get through a service with new online reviews from your customers.

JVI Mobile Marketing – Greensboro Digital Marketing

#4: Try to Get a Google Local Guide to Review Your Company

Google Local Guide is a program owned by Google that designates certain reviewers as local experts. The process of getting a local guide can be a complex one, but here are some tips to help you do it:

 Make sure your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and active

 Join Google Local Guides on your own – you can write reviews of local businesses and raise your visibility provided you don’t use the platform to promote or favor your business

 Attend local events with other guides

 Invite other guides to come to your business

This isn’t a quick fix, but the nice thing about Google Local Guides is that when a local guide reviews your business, their designation shows up in the review and that gives it more weight than it would have otherwise. Another benefit is that Google requires guides to use their real names, so there’s less of the anonymous ranting that shows up on Yelp.

#5: Automate the Asking Process

If there’s a way for you to automate the process of asking for online reviews, why wouldn’t you do it?

Automation means that there’s no worry that a stressed-out employee will forget to ask. It turns the process into part of your customer service – a hands-off way of encouraging customer feedback and garnering the kinds of online reviews you want.

Here are a few suggestions to help you automate your system:

 Set up an autoresponder to send an email requesting a review. Instead of manually sending those emails, link the date of a customer’s purchase to their email and have it go out on schedule. If you link customer purchases to your email marketing provider, you can rest easy knowing that every customer will get a request for a review.

 Print up review request cards and put them in the customer’s bag at checkout. This method eliminates the need for your cashier to ask for a review, and makes it simple to do even at times when you’re busy and have a line at the register.

 Put review links on your product pages. That way, when a customer makes a purchase they can easily read reviews of it – and it may help to remind them to leave a review after their purchase.

With JVI Mobile's reputation management platform, you can have your review process automated using our tools. Automating your review request system makes good business sense because it eliminates the guesswork.

#6: Set Up a Review System in Your Company

Even if your business is small, you shouldn’t fly by the seat of your pants when you’re requesting reviews. The method you use to ask for online reviews should be part of your company’s standard operating procedures.

Your review system should:

 Specify whose job it is to ask for reviews

 Specify the language to be used when requesting a review

 Specify methods to be used (email, conversation, links and printed cards, to name a few)

 Specify the timeframe for requesting reviews

 Lay out procedures for responding to both positive and negative reviews

If you codify your system for requesting and managing reviews, you can be sure that there isn’t any confusion and that customers always get the request you want them to get.

Don’t Sweat the Negative Reviews…

We’ve focused here on garnering positive reviews for your business, but don’t get too stressed about negative reviews. If you handle them properly, they can help your business too!

Respond quickly and graciously and offer solutions. Don’t get defensive. Many businesses use negative feedback to demonstrate that they care about their customers.

If you’re getting so many reviews that you’re having trouble keeping up, you may want to consider using an online review management system to help you – and having too many reviews is the problem you want to have! That’s how businesses grow.

See how your business stacks up! Get your FREE Review Scan here to generate an instant reputation report and check out how your business appears on local review sites.

How to get more positive Online Reviews for your business
Looking to get more online reviews for your business?

Why Building Authority is the Secret to Online Success

Why Building Authority is the Secret to Online Success

Building authority is the secret to online success.

Who are you and why should anybody care what you think?

If you can’t answer that question in a compelling manner, then you’re probably not an authority figure in your niche.

Maybe you’re just starting out. Or, maybe you’ve been in the game a while, but you’re having a hard time getting people to pay attention to you.

Either way, the solution is to make yourself into an authority.

Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know:

Authority is not something other people bestow on you. It’s something you can build. That might surprise you. It shouldn’t. The people you view as authorities created their power by their actions. And you can too.

Why Authority Matters

Why is authority important? It’s very simple. When you have authority, people listen to what you say.

They value your opinion – and when you tell them to buy something, they’ll do it.

That’s why authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence. Psychologically speaking, people are inclined to do what an authority figure tells them to do – even if they wouldn’t do it on their own.

A simple example of this principle in action comes from television advertising. Maybe you remember those commercials featuring well-known actors. They always started with something like this:

I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

You might think of that as a disclaimer, but it’s a statement of authority. People were accustomed to thinking of those actors as doctors. So, when they recommended a cough syrup or headache medication, people trusted those recommendations.

Another way of looking at it is that authority is based on trust. If you do a good job building your credibility, people will trust you and your products.

Branding and Authority

You’ll build authority more quickly if you define your brand and present it in a consistent way in all your online marketing.

Why? Because authority is easier to build if you have a narrowly defined area of eauthoritaty figure stamp of approval that says brandxpertise. Nobody is equally knowledgeable about everything, right?

authority figure stamp of approval that says brand

Of course, there are exceptions. Someone like Oprah is so well known that people might take her word for just about anything. She can present herself as an authority on self-help, alternative medicine, clothing, and books because she has achieved a level of authority that allows it.

Most of us can’t do that. We need to define our niches and stick to them.

Here are some ways you can create a consistent and authoritative brand:

1. Understand how you want people to think of you and your brand and create your brand personality and voice around those things.

2. Create a customer persona and use it to create your online content that will appeal to your target audience.

3. Use the same colors, language, and voice everywhere your brand is represented online. That includes your website, social media accounts, email marketing, and in your comments on review sites and forums.

4. Don’t let yourself get distracted by things that aren’t related to your brand. You shouldn’t be sharing the latest viral video on your Facebook page unless it’s relevant to your followers. Save those things for your personal page.

Think of your brand as the cornerstone of your authority.

Authoritative Content

Every piece of content you create for your brand must be authoritative. That means that everything on your website, online profiles, social media accounts, ads, and marketing videos must be conceptualized and executed with authority in mind.

It all starts with your website. You need a professional site that uses clear and authoritative language designed to appeal directly to your target audience. It should be easy to use and provide immediate value to the people who visit it.

The same is true of your social media content. Every status update, Tweet, or photo you post must be relevant to your brand and presented with authority.

You may also want to consider creating long-form authoritative content to build authority. Examples include:

 Exclusive content

 White papers

 Case studies

 How-to guides

Any of these can help you demonstrate your authority.

Authoritative Opinions

If you watch cable news, you know that one of the ways they fill the 24-hour news cycle is by booking authority figures to offer opinions about current events.

Think about it. Every political consultant, pollster, or retired general is there for one reason. They have experience and knowledge that is applicable to a story, and because of that, they are viewed as authorities whose opinion is worth hearing.

You can build the same kind of authority online by being opinionated. That doesn’t mean you should spout about politics (unless that’s related to your brand, of course.) What it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to say what you think.

One very effective way to do that is to curate content for your social media pages. Curated content is content that somebody else created. You can find it by following:

 General news outlets and publications

 Industry-specific publications

 Popular bloggers in your niche

 Popular brands in your niche

It’s not enough to share curated content without commenting on it. That won’t help you build authority.

Instead, read or watch everything you share and then offer an opinion about it.

For example, say you find an article that lists ten essential things about your industry. You might feel that the writer left out something important. You should point that out when you post the article.

Taking a controversial stance can be a good thing, too. When you contradict or rebut something that an established authority says, you’re putting yourself on their level.

The key here is to sound confident when you offer an opinion. If you seem uncertain, people will dismiss your opinion.

There’s one more thing…

The final step to building authority is to put these things together and use them to create marketing campaigns that convert. If you do it right, you’ll set yourself apart from other brands in your niche.

In other words, you won’t just be one option for people seeking products or services in your niche. You’ll be the only option – and all because they view you as an authority figure.

To learn more about how we can help you achieve online success, fill out the form below and we will reach back out to you.

How to Rank for “Businesses Near Me” Local Searches

How to Rank for “Businesses Near Me” Local Searches

google search of restaurants near me

Search has changed in the past five years. Anybody who’s paying attention knows that. When people search for local businesses near me, you want to rank towards the top.

Since 2014, mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches. At the same time, Google has prioritized local searches to the point where finding non-local results has become almost impossible. In fact: These two factors, combined with a concurrent rise in voice search, have changed the ballgame when it comes to ranking for local searches on Google.

They explain why searches for “businesses near me” have skyrocketed. After all, if someone’s out looking for a place to eat or a store to visit, they’re probably not looking for something 100 miles away.

They want to know what they can find nearby.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to improve your “near me” search results.

Understand What Factors Influence “Near Me” Searches

It’s important to understand which factors make the biggest difference in “near me” searches. The solution is not stuffing your site with “near me” keywords. Instead, keep these three things in mind.

1. The relevance of your business to the search being conducted. Google wants to return only relevant results. That means if someone searches for a shoe store, your clothing store may not rank even if you sell shoes, too. Likewise, a sushi restaurant won’t rank as highly if someone searches “Asian restaurants near me” as it would if they searched “sushi restaurants near me.”

2. How close your business is to the searcher’s location. People who are conducting “near me” searches want businesses that are close by. Even if your business is relevant, a distance of 100 miles will mean you rank lower than a business that’s just five miles from the searcher’s location.

3. How prominent your business is online. A business with a top-ranking website, multiple listings in directories, and a strong social media presence is likely going to earn a higher rank than one with a weak online presence.

The key here, then, is to make it clear what your business does and where it’s located and to combine those with the strongest possible online presence.

Amplify Your Search Signals

To improve your rank, you need to let Google and other search engines know where you are. One way to do that is to plant virtual flags by getting your business included in online directories and review sites.

You should start by searching the most relevant “near me” terms to see where you rank in the results.

You’ll also want to note the sites that appear near the top. They will likely include:

Yelp

Foursquare

Trip Advisor

You may also see local directories that are specific to your area or niche. Make a note of these. Then, go and claim your listings on each site. If you’re not listed, create a profile.

It’s also important to make sure your NAP listings are consistent. It should be clear that the company listed on Yelp is the same as the one on Foursquare and the one linked to your Facebook page.

Differentiate Your Company from Others in the Area

What sets your business apart from the others that rank in “near me” searches? One way to find out is to vary your search terms and focus on the things you offer that others don’t.

For example, let’s say you own a sushi restaurant. You should search “sushi restaurants near me,” but you might also vary it and search these terms, too:

 Sushi restaurants near me open 24 hours

 Sushi restaurants near me that deliver

 Top sushi restaurants near me

 Affordable sushi restaurants near me

You get the idea, I hope. If you’re the only sushi restaurant in the area that delivers, highlighting your delivery service can help you attract new customers.

Name Local Landmarks and Other Identifying Features

Your NAP listings tell potential customers where to find you, but they may use other terms to define what’s near them. For example, many large cities have defined neighborhoods. In San Diego, these include:

 Normal Heights

 The Golden Triangle

 Mira Mesa

The same is true in other big cities. Identifying yourself by the neighborhood you’re in can help you rank in “near me” searches.

The same is true of landmarks. Someone in Seattle might search for “Italian restaurants near the Space Needle.” You may also want to name prominent businesses near you (provided they aren’t your competitors). Adding exterior photos can also help identify your location.

Target Mobile Customers

According to Review Tracker, 14% of all searches are carried out by people who want to visit a business immediately. It makes sense to target these people, many of whom will be searching using mobile devices.

One way to do that is to include your telephone number with all listings. Some sites may allow you to enable a “Call Now” feature so that mobile users can dial you with one touch. One example of this is Facebook, where mobile advertisers can choose “Call Now” as their CTA button.

Encourage Your Customers to Review Your Business

The final step you need to take is encouraging your customers to review your business on Google. Any review signal can help, but for obvious reasons, Google reviews carry more weight than those on other sites.

Keep in mind that businesses that actively solicit reviews tend to get more reviews and have higher average ratings than businesses that don’t. One reason is that people who are satisfied often won’t bother to leave a review – whereas people who are unhappy are motivated to leave one.

You can start by generating a link that your customers can use to leave reviews. You can find detailed instructions on how to do it here.

If you don’t really have much tech experience, the simplest thing to do is join the JVI Mobile Marketing Reputation Management System. Our clients are having tremendous success with the program and they don’t really have to do much of anything to grow their list and get great public reviews from their customers!

Of course, you’ll also need to monitor your reviews and respond as needed. That way, people who read reviews will see that you care about your customers’ experience.

Remember that rankings change…

Even if you’ve done all the things suggested here, it’s still important to monitor your search rankings. If you’re still not getting the rank you deserve, you’ll need to double down on your efforts to make sure that people near you can find you.

6 Smart Ways to Generate More Positive Reviews

6 Smart Ways to Generate More Positive Reviews

positive reviews -- man pointing to five stars as a customer review

We have 6 tips for you to generate more positive reviews in a smart way. Who doesn’t love receiving positive reviews from a satisfied customer? Every business owner knows the value of positive reviews – and they’ve never been more important than they are right now.

Did you know that more than 80% of all consumers say that they trust a product review from a stranger as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. Not only that, people trust user reviews more than the official descriptions of products.

If you’re thinking of customer reviews as something that you can’t control, think again. Business owners can do a lot to encourage reviews – and of course, you can increase the chance that you'll have mostly positive reviews by providing excellent quality and service.

Still, those things aren’t enough. You can’t afford to sit back and hope that customers leave reviews of your business.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take a backseat to your customer’s whims. Here are six smart ways you can get more positive reviews online.

#1: Email Customers After a Purchase

Do you send customers an email after they make a purchase?

I’m not talking about the confirmation email where you send them an order number if they order online. I mean an email where you specifically ask them how they like your product and request that they write a review.

This is a practice that’s become increasingly common – and for a good reason. Some people automatically leave reviews for everything. They’re the well-known Yelpers who have thousands of reviews.

Many people need a reminder. They’re not going to leave a review of their own accord – but they just might if you ask them nicely. This is the review version of the call to action on your website. It’s a specific request to take a specific action.

Try sending your review request email a week to ten days after the purchase. That way, the customer will have had a chance to use your product and may be ready to offer an opinion.

#2: Empower Your Employees to Ask for Reviews

Sometimes, making the right request at the right time is all it takes to get the reviews you want. That’s why it makes sense to have your employees ask for reviews.

Some Uber drivers do this. Just before they arrive at their passenger’s destination, they ask about the review. The simple request puts the idea of leaving a review in the customer’s mind and greatly increases the chances that they’ll comply and leave a review.

Why ask at the point of service? When a customer has just made a purchase or used your service, the experience is fresh. A cashier who provides a friendly checkout and some banter is ideally placed to ask for a review because they have an opportunity to build rapport with the customer.

If you decide to use this method of getting reviews, consider printing cards asking for reviews and putting links to your review pages on your website. You don’t want customers to be confused about what to do – so eliminate the guesswork and you’ll reap the rewards.

#3: Use a Reviews Provider

Are you selling products from well-known brand names? If you are, you might benefit from using a reviews provider like Bazaarvoice or JVI Mobile to build up reviews on your product page.

The benefit of using these providers is that they can get you a bunch of reviews at once. They’re real reviews from real people and they can give your page instant credibility.

The downside is that the reviews aren’t from your customers. They’re from people who have bought the product – and they’re all verified. That’s the good part. The less-great part is that they can’t and won’t be providing reviews of YOUR business, including your ambience, customer service, and other key drivers of business.

These providers are a good option for start-up businesses because they can make your website appear to be well-established and popular. As you go, you can supplement the reviews you get through a service with new reviews from your customers.

#4: Try to Get a Google Local Guide to Review Your Company

Google Local Guide is a program owned by Google that designates certain reviewers as local experts. The process of getting a local guide can be a complex one, but here are some tips to help you do it:

 Make sure your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and active

 Join Google Local Guides on your own – you can write reviews of local businesses and raise your visibility provided you don’t use the platform to promote or favor your business

 Attend local events with other guides

 Invite other guides to come to your business

This isn’t a quick fix, but the nice thing about Google Local Guides is that when a local guide reviews your business, their designation shows up in the review and that gives it more weight than it would have otherwise. Another benefit is that Google requires guides to use their real names, so there’s less of the anonymous ranting that shows up on Yelp.

#5: Automate the Asking Process

If there’s a way for you to automate the process of asking for reviews, why wouldn’t you do it?

Automation means that there’s no worry that a stressed-out employee will forget to ask. It turns the process into part of your customer service – a hands-off way of encouraging customer feedback and garnering the kinds of reviews you want.

Here are a few suggestions to help you automate your system:

 Set up an autoresponder to send an email requesting a review. Instead of manually sending those emails, link the date of a customer’s purchase to their email and have it go out on schedule. If you link customer purchases to your email marketing provider, you can rest easy knowing that every customer will get a request for a review.

 Print up review request cards and put them in the customer’s bag at checkout. This method eliminates the need for your cashier to ask for a review, and makes it simple to do even at times when you’re busy and have a line at the register.

 Put review links on your product pages. That way, when a customer makes a purchase they can easily read reviews of it – and it may help to remind them to leave a review after their purchase.

Automating your review request system makes good business sense because it eliminates the guesswork.

#6: Set Up a Review System in Your Company

Even if your business is small, you shouldn’t fly by the seat of your pants when you’re requesting reviews. The method you use to ask for reviews should be part of your company’s standard operating procedures.

Your review system should:

 Specify whose job it is to ask for reviews

 Specify the language to be used when requesting a review

 Specify methods to be used (email, conversation, links and printed cards, to name a few)

 Specify the timeframe for requesting reviews

 Lay out procedures for responding to both positive and negative reviews

If you codify your system for requesting and managing reviews, you can be sure that there isn’t any confusion and that customers always get the request you want them to get.

Don’t Sweat the Negative Reviews…

We’ve focused here on garnering positive reviews for your business, but don’t get too stressed about negative reviews. If you handle them properly, they can help your business too!

Respond quickly and graciously and offer solutions. Don’t get defensive. Many businesses use negative feedback to demonstrate that they care about their customers.

If you’re getting so many reviews that you’re having trouble keeping up, you may want to consider using an online review management system to help you – and having too many reviews is the problem you want to have! That’s how businesses grow.

Google Posts – Exciting New Feature For Local Businesses

Google Posts – Exciting New Feature For Local Businesses

Exciting news from Google: their latest update for Local Search, Google Posts, is open to everyone!

But wait; what are Google Posts, and more importantly, why are
they such a big deal, especially for businesses that rely on organic clicks?
Stick around as we explore what just might be the key to unlimited visibility
for your business no matter how small it is.

Google Posts: What Is It?

Google Posts (not its official name) is a useful little feature
that lets both individuals and organizations create and post content directly
on Google. According to Search Engine Land, content created using Google Posts
gets ranked highly in the search results.

Brief History

Google Posts on Google My Business

Ostersund, Sweden – Feb 2, 2015: Google My Business website on a computer screen. Google My Business helps you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews.

Google’s nifty new feature was first launched in January 2016
with the aim of providing a platform for US presidential candidates to relay
real-time updates to their supporters. Content posted by the presidential
candidates appeared in a card-like format, and for this reason, the feature was
initially known as “candidate cards.”

 

Two months later, the Google Posts feature was finally extended
to small businesses, albeit on an invite-only basis. As a result, it was only
available to a select few number of local businesses from around the world.

A year later, the program was extended to sports teams, museums,
movies, and musicians in the US and Brazil. It was not until June 2017 that the
feature was finally rolled out to small businesses that were using the Google
My Business platform (GMB).

 

ORP, Review Managment, Reputation Management JVI Mobile

Features of Google Posts

1. Content is posted directly to Google. As a result, it appears
on both Google Search and Google Maps results.

2. For promotional content, a 7-day limit is imposed after which
it is removed from the default view. Event-based posts are removed after the
event date passes. Posts that are removed from the default view can still be
accessed in the historical view under the Posts Tab.

3. Content appears in a carousel format that is positioned just
below the paid ads but on top of the organic search listings.

4. The feature is strongly integrated with social media. Social
share buttons and a shareable link are available at a click.

5. Each carousel can contain up to 10 posts. However, only
two-and-a-half can be viewed on the search results without scrolling.

6. Google does not index the URLs on Google Posts.

7. Businesses under the “hotel” category currently do not have
the “post” option enabled.

8. Only the first 100 characters appear in the Knowledge Panel.

9. The feature currently does not support the use of videos and
animated GIFs. Pictures smaller than 250 x 250 are also not accepted.

10. One-click call-to-action links can be created to allow
customers to perform actions such as “Buy Now,” “Make a Reservation,” “Sign
Up,” and “Learn More.”

11. Google Posts don’t integrate automatically with Google
Analytics. If you want insight beyond what is provided on the GMB dashboard,
you need to create a custom URL for your call-to-action link.

How to Create a Google Post

How to create Google Posts

Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.

Google Posts can be accessed via the Google My Business
platform, which is available for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. Alternatively, you
can click here.

  • To create a post, first log into
    your GMB account, then on the left-side menu, click on “Posts.” An interface
    with a blank text pad will appear.
  • On the interface, you can to type
    up to 300 words max and upload an image. For event-based posts, you are allowed
    to add an event title complete with the relevant dates and times. On this
    screen, you will also be able to add call-to-action buttons such as “Buy,”
    “Sign Up,” “Reserve,” and “Get Offer.”
  • Once you submit, the post appears
    on searches performed on your business’ name.

Using Google Posts: 3 Useful Tips

#1 Don’t stuff keywords

If you’re a serial keyword-stuffer, this is a habit that you
will have to let go of when using Google Posts simply because they will not
have any impact on your rankings whatsoever. Use the platform to highlight new
products, offers, and promotions only.

#2 Make the first 100 characters count

To avoid being cut off mid-sentence, ensure your first 100
characters form a coherent compelling and complete sentence that will make
people want to click on the call-to-action button.

#3 Ensure you use appropriately-sized images

Anything smaller than 250 x 250 won’t work; the best image size
to use is 750 x 750. Also, ensure that the picture you choose is
center-weighted to avoid having the top part chopped off on the results page.

As we wrap things up, we can conclude that Google Posts can be a
vital small business marketing tool for you simply because:

  • They allow you to create and share
    daily promotions, specials, and offers that will attract more customers;
  • They let you share the arrival of
    new products and keep your existing customers updated, and lastly;
  • They allow you to integrate
    call-to-action buttons in your posts, making it easier for your customers to
    connect with you.

Google Posts is still a relatively new feature, but it is on
track to becoming one of the most valuable small business marketing tools for
business owners like you.


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Three Golden Digital Marketing Strategies for Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop Owners

Three Golden Digital Marketing Strategies for Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop Owners

Take a look at your business. What is it that determines whether you stay afloat or go under? Is it the same thing that motivates you to do better every day? To phrase it simply, what is it that drives your entire operation? The answer is simple and quite obvious: customers.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Auto Repair

Every auto repair and auto body shop owner out there will tell you the same thing: getting customers is not easy. Obviously, that isn’t something you want to hear when starting your own auto repair business.

Unfortunately for many of these auto repair and body shop owners, the importance of digital marketing strategies, especially in a world where the internet exists, is either lost on them or entirely unacknowledged. Fortunately for you, however, you are about to learn the three essential auto repair shop marketing strategies and how they can help you gain more customers no matter how big or small your business is.

1. Reputation Management

What is it?

When a customer searches for your business online, the results will include every bit of information that Google considers relevant to the search(SEO). This includes websites with positive and negative reviews about your company, forum posts, articles, and blog posts.

Reputation management, or online reputation management(ORM), is what businesses do to control what their customers see first when they search for their company online. The most efficient way to achieve this is by boosting the positive search results so that they are ranked higher than the negative results, giving the company lots of good publicity.

In as much as reputation management revolves around publicizing good news about your company, it is also about learning how to respond to criticism swiftly and appropriately.

How it will help your business

So how will reputation management help you gain more customers?

a) By giving your business an online presence – some of the key components to online management such as keeping your websites updated (or creating one for those who haven’t), posting articles and media, and publishing to your social media pages can make your business an authoritative presence online. This means new customers will find it easier to trust you.

b) By making your business easier to find – very few people go past the first page of the search results. If your company has established a good online presence, Google will rank it higher on the first page and make it a lot easier to find.

Reputation management allows you to present the most relevant or accurate information about your business first, giving you the chance to put your best foot forward and become more visible on the internet. Neat, isn’t it?

Review Managment, Online Reputation Management JVI Mobile

2. SMS Marketing

What is it?

Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is a permission-based marketing technique that businesses use to distribute promotional messages to their customers. This strategy requires your customers to opt into an automated texting service, usually by sending a text to a predetermined shortcode. Customers who opt in receive a confirmation message alongside instructions on how to opt out of the service.

The scale of your operations will determine whether you will need SMS marketing software for this strategy. However, it is a lot less labor-intensive to automate the process.

How it will help your business

SMS marketing plays a massive role in many business’ marketing campaigns for one particular reason: it is a fantastic close range marketing tactic. When it comes to increasing customer loyalty and growing your database, it is a very potent marketing technique.

Its efficiency can be attributed to the fact that consumers prefer SMS marketing to push-notifications and the more traditional email marketing. In fact, Forbes estimates that 64% of consumers (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kernlewis/2014/10/06/sms-marketing-start-with-service-and-add-promotion-carefully/#34477deb6908) would much rather get promotional messages through SMS.

Text Messaging for Auto Body Services

Why is this, you ask?

Because many of these consumers feel that text messages:

· Are more likely to grab their attention sooner (98% of SMS messages are opened and read within the first 3 minutes);

· Are easier to read and respond to;

· Make it easier to communicate with businesses like yours, and most importantly;

 

· Do not make them feel like their identity and personal data is at risk of being exposed.

A general rule of thumb to be observed when implementing this tactic is that the platform should primarily be used to serve your customers and not to promote your business.

 

What does this mean?

Simply put, you should use the SMS communication channel to relay information such as appointments, service reminders, and important events. Promoting your business using SMS marketing, while still allowed, should be done with tact. The last thing you want is your customers to feel pestered or annoyed by incessant text messages about discounted auto servicing rates. A general rule of thumb is to keep the total number of messages to less than 5 per month.

Keep it short and straightforward, and most importantly, keep it relevant.

3. Promotional Marketing

What is it?

This kind of marketing involves the use of promotional tools such as contests, raffles, and sweepstakes to create awareness about a brand/company and to attract customers. This tactic is usually deployed with one primary goal in mind: to create a buzz.

How it will help your business

Promotional marketing can help your business in the following ways:

a) Creating awareness about your company – everybody loves to win, which is why promotions get a lot of attention from consumers. You don’t have to bend over backward to get your customers interested either; a prize as simple as free service or repairs for a specified period is enough to get everyone in a competitive mood. The more competition there is, the bigger the buzz generated.

b) Providing a platform to conduct market research – Contests and promotions are also crucial for market research. You can use them as a platform to carry out short but useful surveys on your existing customer base. For example, a series of brief questions on the participants’ registration forms can give you crucial insight into your clients’ driving habits, their preferred type of engine oil, and various other pertinent things that you can use to better your services or to promote your products.

If organizing promotional events sounds too hectic for you, worry not. Online contest management software such as the one offered here (http://www.jvimobile.com) not only lessens the load for you, it also encourages your customers to share the contest on social media by rewarding them with more entries for every person that enters the contest through their recommendation.

Remember, you don’t have to go over your budget when organizing contests, sweepstakes, and other promotional tools. A single prize is usually enough to attract several participants. However, if you can afford it, there is no harm in offering multiple prizes, especially when you’re promoting a new product.

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Thus far, here is what we have learned:

· Reputation management is all about making your business more authoritative and easier to find online;

· If you can help it, don’t bother with email marketing or push-notifications; SMS marketing is the way to go, and last but not least;

· Promotional marketing is a double-edged sword that can be very useful when used correctly.

Now that you’re armed with three vital digital marketing strategies, you’re probably wondering how to implement all of them at once. To be honest, it can be quite a task to juggle the three strategies on your own, especially if you run a small business.

Can it be done?

Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Thanks to the innovative and easy to use software that you can find here, you can take care of your company’s reputation management, SMS marketing, and promotional marketing needs in an easy and highly efficient manner.


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Enter any business name and zip code and see how optimized it is for local search.