How to Double Your Sales and Build Loyalty With Customers

How to Double Your Sales and Build Loyalty With Customers

When you own an online store, getting new customers is an ongoing challenge. You may want to double your sales, but you are constantly trying new things to raise awareness about your store and your amazing products.

But — the things you try aren’t working like you thought they would.

You aren’t getting the interactions on Facebook that you hoped you’d get, your site traffic isn’t climbing, and sales are staying stagnant…

So what do you do?

We’re going to walk you through the steps we use with every one of our clients to help them double their sales and build loyalty with their customers using proven techniques that address every aspect of their marketing. By the time you are done reading, you’ll know exactly how to double your sales for your store and keep customers coming back for more.

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Step #1: Plan for Sustainable Growth to Double Your Sales

Predictable and sustainable growth is the holy grail of any business. Can you imagine what it would be like if you could count on a certain amount of growth from one month to the next — how would that change your business?

The model that we recommend using to get you to that point is called the Growth Triad. As you can guess, it has three parts. As we start working with each of our clients, one of the first things we do is assess the three areas and then work to fill in the gaps.

Documented Strategy

Many business owners fall victim to something called “shiny object syndrome” — they constantly find and think of new things to do to help their business grow. So they jump in and make things happen and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work out in their favor. Random acts of marketing rarely get the results you want — and definitely won’t double your sales. On the rare occasion that you do land on something, it’s often impossible to replicate again with the same success.

That’s why we recommend documenting your strategy before you start executing. When you have a plan for what you’re doing before you start out, it’s much easier to predict and track what’s going to happen.

Tools and Tactics

You will also require specific tools and proven tactics to help you execute your strategy.

This could include tools like:

  • Landing Page Builder
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management Software
  • Email Automation Software
  • Social Publishing and Monitoring Software
  • Graphic Design Software
  • Video Recording/Editing Software
  • Search Engine Optimization Software

Proven tactics can be anything that you’ve done previously with success or things that you hire an expert (like us) to implement for you.

Actionable Metrics

It’s important not to concentrate on vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are the stats that people seem to focus on because they seem like they should be important — but ultimately, they don’t have a direct impact on the results you’re trying to achieve.

For example, most people focus on things like website traffic and views on a social media post. Those metrics aren’t a great indicator of success.

Instead, if you want to double your sales, you should focus on metrics you can actively impact and that are measurable. For most initiatives, you will want to track a mix of lead and lag metrics.

  • Lag metrics are the numbers that happen after success or failure. These are things like revenue, profit, quality, and customer satisfaction. They tell you how you did, but only after you’ve already done it.
  • Lead metrics are the things you can impact along the way. For example, if you are trying to increase sales by the end of the month (lag metric), and you know that posting daily on your Facebook page will get the sales you need, then your lead metric would be the number of posts per day on your FB page.

Step #2: Know Your Customers

Next, you will want to really get to know your customers. Most people focus on overarching demographics like age, marital status, homeownership, income, familial relationships, etc.

Knowing those things is good, but the most important part of your customer avatar is their story — their motivators, fears, inspirations, and goals.

A customer avatar is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. To create a complete customer avatar, you’ll want to identify the following:

  • Their goals and values — what do they want to achieve, and what do they consider to be important values?
  • Where they get their information — books, magazines, blogs, conferences, gurus, and other sources of info.
  • Their demographic information — name, age, gender, marital status, number of children, and location.
  • Any challenges and pain points — the things that are holding them back and how they feel about those things.
  • Their objections and their role — do they have the authority to hire you, and if so, why wouldn’t they want to?

Once you have a firm understanding of where they are now in their life, you can help communicate to them where they can go if they buy your products. We use a simple tool called a Before and After Grid to help us map this out for your target customers.

The Before and After Grid documents their journey from before having your product to after they’ve purchased your product. This handy tool helps us clarify the marketing messages that will resonate with your audience.

The Before and After Grid includes:

  • What They Have — the things they physically have before and after buying your product.
  • How They Feel — the way they feel with and without your product.
  • What Their Day is Like — what their average day looks like with and without your product.
  • Their Status — how they think about themselves before and after buying your product.
  • Good vs Evil — the evil is what’s plaguing them before they purchase and the good is what’s created in their life after they purchase.

We’ll have the language we need to help them understand how a purchase will transform their lives from where they are now to where they want to be.

Step #3: Plan their Journey

The customer value journey is a framework that helps us understand how to build loyalty with customers (allowing you to double your sales). It’s about understanding what moves your customers along the customer value journey from the first time they buy from you to the time they buy from you again and again. It is with this framework that we turn complete strangers into raving fans in any business.

The customer value journey is about more than just digital marketing. It’s about bridging human relationships with the entire customer experience. This includes everything from the first time a total stranger encounters your brand to the time they go to make a purchase, leave a review, and send you referrals.

The Customer Value Journey

First, we need to get to the bottom of how the customer value journey is different from marketing. Most marketers today think in terms of platforms, tactics, or activities. This makes sense because their focus is on making the most of the available resources to create more conversions. It also means their focus is on growing the top line, increasing profits, and increasing shareholder value.

But this is not the entire picture. A brand can give customers a great experience across all the touchpoints between awareness through purchase, and then to reviews and referrals.

But first, it is important to look at this journey as a human-to-human relationship. There is a sequence that must be followed. Think of it like dating. Many digital marketers try to do too much on the first encounter with a stranger. They try to sell them something too fast. This is the equivalent of asking,

“So, I was thinking… On our first date, while we are having our coffee, why don’t we determine how many kids we are going to have and pick out their names?”

Definitely not the best first impression, and I imagine you won’t get very many dates (i.e. conversions), if any. Marketers and brands do this every day, and then think that online marketing doesn’t work at all. The sequence is important. We go into this in great detail during our half-day program HowTo.Strategize: The Digital Foundations Bootcamp.

Understanding the Customer Value Journey

As an entrepreneur, you are always looking for ways to cut costs, but also double your sales. At any given moment, there are probably thousands of things you could do to cut costs and increase revenue. Maybe you could run fewer ads or use lower-quality landing pages. Maybe you could implement a cheaper SEO campaign. But as a small business owner, you should look at the largest opportunities that can offer the highest return on investment.

One of those opportunities is the customer value journey. It’s the proven framework used by thousands of companies that helps you understand how to build loyalty from scratch. What Is the Customer Value Journey? You can think of the customer value journey as a roadmap to understand how and why your customers engage with your business and how to make the relationship more valuable to you and your customers.

The Customer Value Journey Map

double your sales with the customer value journey

This framework was designed by the world-class digital marketing training company, DigitalMarketer in Austin, Tx.

DigitalMarketer’s Customer Value Journey Framework is an eight-stage customer journey that thousands of companies, including several Fortune 100 companies, use as a guide to build their marketing strategies. It will help you identify what actions to take at each stage and when so that the content and campaigns are based on a cohesive strategy. The Customer Value Journey Map lays out the journey a customer takes from stranger to raving fan, through the lens of a business’s digital marketing channels. Once you master this, you can definitely double your sales — often!

We will start with the way a stranger finds out about your brand and finish with that same customer telling all of their family and friends or colleagues about your services.

Awareness

  • This one is obvious. Prospective customers need to learn about you and your products, so they know you exist. Prospects find out about you through organic or paid search. We will discuss the 4 best ways more in the next section, but for now, this is typically where most businesses wrongly stop marketing and immediately start selling.

Engage

  • This stage is all about them showing interest in you — interacting with social posts, reading blog articles, etc. When someone finds you, what is the first thing you want to show them? This is called content marketing and it is much different from selling. Sales come later. This is about building enough trust and credibility that they take a real look at you.

Subscribe

  • Notice we haven’t started talking about selling anyone anything yet? This stage is basically asking someone for their digits. You know, not literally. Once trust has begun to build, you can ask for a small commitment like giving you their contact information in exchange for something valuable like a webinar, free samples, or downloadable guides/checklists/books. Maybe even an e-book or a mini-course.

What is the cornerstone of our Customer Value Journey Framework?

    • Creating great landing pages, building valuable lead magnets, and keeping your new subscribers engaged. These elements make up the “Subscribe Stage” of our 8-stage, 1-page digital marketing strategy.
    • The subscribe stage could be the most important step in your marketing strategy, especially to double your sales. This is the third stage of the CVJ and it typically consists of 3 main components:
  1. The Opt-in
  2. The Lead Magnet
  3. The Introductory Email Drip Sequence
  • The opt-in is the point of conversion. This could be by way of a web landing page, chatbot, or text message opt-in form. The lead magnet can be any valuable content you are willing to give in exchange for permission to follow up with your new subscriber. An introductory email drip sequence should try to re-engage and start connecting with these prospects as quickly as possible, so they know, like, and trust you more before expecting them to buy from you on their own accord.
  • The most important thing is that you have something valuable for the person for giving their email address (lead magnet) and they are captivated by what you have to offer enough to give up an email in exchange.
  • A great landing page will also encourage prospects to take the next step: getting them on your list or newsletter as well! This can be done with social buttons like “Get Offer Now”, which allows people who want more content from you to automatically subscribe when signing in to one of our platforms. It could also be encouraging visitors to sign-up with exclusive offers, early access deals, discounts–whatever it takes. The more people decide to take advantage of these offers, the great chance you have to double your sales!

Convert

  • We’ve made it… After a few phone calls, we finally got the “first date”! Ok, in the digital marketing world, those “phone calls” are probably just a series of emails to build more trust, but in each one, the goal was to lead someone to make a commitment to you. This is their first investment of either money or time. You can do this with a high-value, low-risk entry-point offer Some folks call this the tripwire, others a loss-leader. We call it a conversion. As soon as someone takes this step, the whole relationship changes. This stage could be a low-dollar offer or a workshop. Now, what do we say on the “date”?

Excite

  • Now that they’ve made their initial investment with you, it’s time to get them excited about working with you. We are on stage 5 of 8, and we still haven’t sold this person our core offer yet. However, this is the stage where the magic happens… This magic is called the “AH-HA Moment”. The goal of the last stage was to get a commitment, so we can take our offer from a nice-to-have to a must-have and deliver this ah-ha moment that makes people say,

“SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!”

Ascend

  • Finally! 6 stages into this process, and we can talk all about customers buying our core offerings. What took so long? At this stage, you are aiming for repeat purchases and larger purchases. You want to move them from the initial purchase up the ladder to being a loyal customer. It takes time to earn trust, and get people to know, like, and trust you enough that they are willing to become a customer. This is where we look at ways to additionally maximize our offers to include cross-sells, upsells, and retention-based deals like subscriptions or retainers.

Advocate

  • Do you look at online reviews when you travel, go out to eat, or need services for your car or home? Just about everyone does. Nothing says a business is good like a testimonial or an online review. Customers in this stage will happily give testimonials and make referrals when they are asked. There are some great software tools out on the market that can make the review collection and reputation management process a breeze. We know because we own and market a product that does this well. Typically, if you don’t want to spend money on a fancy digital tool, you could just ask people verbally for them to write a review. But are you really going to follow up?

Promote

  • No deal is easier to close than a warm referral. Who is sending you new customers? Networking is great, but if you can get existing customers to refer new customers to you, you’ll easily be able to double your sales. Better yet? Put a system in place to incentivize people to tell others. These customers are happy and will enthusiastically recommend you to others without being asked. Secret strategy? Stickers and T-shirts are magical. By the way, in 2021, face masks are the new t-shirt!

The Big 4 — How Do Strangers Find You Online

The awareness stage of the Customer Value Journey is made up of four traffic generating places our friends at DigitalMarketer.com refer to as “The Big 4”. They are:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. YouTube

Probably no coincidence that this list is actually just 2 companies since Facebook owns Instagram and YouTube is owned by Google.

Fun Fact: The world’s 2nd largest search engine is YouTube, so Google owns the top 2 search engines on the planet!

How to Turn Your Fans and Followers into Paying Customers (and thus double your sales!)

You’ve got a big following on social media.

So what?

Unless those followers are paying you for products or services, they don’t mean much. It seems more of a “Vanity Metric”. I’m not saying that social media followers aren’t important in some ways. Having a lot of followers sends a signal to potential customers that you have a popular brand. It can help you get more traffic and attention.

That said, sales and profits are the names of the game. If those followers aren’t buying from you, they’re not doing anything for you in real terms… and they certainly won’t help you double your sales.

The solution? Take those fans and followers and convert them into paying customers. Here’s what to do.

Get to Know Your Audience

As the owner of a small or medium-sized business, you may not have given a lot of thought to what makes your customers tick. And yet, customer analysis is the key to turning casual fans and followers into customers.

Creating a detailed customer persona can help you understand your audience. Your persona should include:

  • Demographic information, including the age, gender, educational background, and income of your ideal customer
  • Psychographic information, including what your ideal customer likes and dislikes, and most importantly, the pain points that led them to look for your product or service.

I should point out that you will likely need more than one customer persona depending on what your business is. For example, if you sell products for both children and adults, you might need a Parent Persona and a separate Adult Persona for people without children.

Provide Value to Your Target Customers

Once you know who your target customers are, your next mission is to give them what they want. Here, I’m talking about entertaining and ACTIONABLE content that provides tangible value to the people you want to convert.

In other words, be generous with your knowledge. It doesn’t matter what your business is, you know it better than anybody else. Give some thought to what brings your customers to you — and what would convince them that your product or service is the best option to solve their problems.

You can provide value in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:

  1. Write blog posts that address common questions and offer real solutions.
  2. Do a live Q & A on social media.
  3. Create a lead magnet that demonstrates your authority and provides a solution to a common problem.

Regardless of the type of content you create, your goal should be to make it immediately and undeniably useful to the people you most want to reach.

Interact with Your Followers and Fans

Having a large following is one thing, but ultimately, we all want to feel valued. Your job as a business owner is to make your fans and followers understand that you value them and care about them.

The answer is communication. That can mean a lot of different things, but here are some effective tactics that have been proven to work.

  • Ask your followers’ opinions and use the responses to focus your content on their needs.
  • Integrate your social media with your customer service, empowering your employees to respond to questions and complaints quickly.
  • Create a chatbot to provide immediate help when someone messages you or visits your website.
  • Create a lead-nurturing email sequence to inform subscribers about your product and give them an incentive to buy it.

Ultimately, consumers want to feel that the companies they buy from care about them and want their business. Without communication, you can’t demonstrate the importance of your customers… and you can’t double your sales!

What is Chatbot Marketing

Another way we’ve acquired new opt-ins is through chatbots. What is a chatbot? Great question. Chatbots are an automated chat service that can answer questions, process orders, and provide other valuable information, like lead magnets. They are an important part of the future as they will be able to handle customer communications 24 hours a day with no break!

Chatbots are a relatively new way to collect user information without sending them to another page. The most common form of chatbot is through Facebook Messenger. You can use a service like Manychat and when people comment on a post or click on an ad, you can have your chatbot begin a conversation with that person, offer your lead magnet, and add the user’s email to your email provider. This will kick off your drip sequence.

What is an Email Drip Sequence?

The intro drip sequence needs to be designed to re-engage prospects who might have dropped off down the funnel and get them back in contact with our brand. Different emails can offer different benefits: for example, we could send a content-rich article about building prospect relationships or an exclusive discount code that new subscribers can use as soon as they sign up with us! This is also where you introduce yourself–“Who are you? How will this relationship work? What do I need from you? Why should I trust you? How often will I hear from you again?”

Curate Content

Do you know that feeling when you walk into a store and a salesperson pounces on you before you have time to draw a breath? Very few of us enjoy that feeling, and the chances are good that your customers don’t, either.

While your social media content can and should focus on what you and your products can do for potential customers, it’s important to keep the direct sales pitches to a minimum (even though you want to double your sales). The solution? Curating content from other sources.

Content curation means pulling content from:

  • Industry-relevant publications
  • Influencers
  • News sites
  • Social media pages from other companies (just don’t share things from your competitors!)

Make sure that the content you choose to share is highly relevant to the people in your target audience. While there’s nothing wrong with (occasionally) sharing content without adding anything to it, I think the best way to curate content is to add your take on it before posting.

Here’s a quick example. Say you own a gym and you find an article about the health benefits of exercise. If the article left anything out, you could mention it in your post. Or, you could elaborate on something that’s in the post to add your own take on it.

It’s a good rule of thumb that no more than 20% of your social media content should be direct sales pitches. The remaining 80% should offer value, information, and entertainment.

Use Retargeting to Double Your Sales

Retargeting is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising because it focuses on people who are already engaged with your business and interested in your products.

By using a Facebook pixel, for example, you can target people on Facebook who have:

  • Visited your website or read your blog
  • Put items into their cart without checking out
  • Followed you on Facebook or Instagram
  • Clicked an ad

You probably know the statistic that says it can take between five and seven “touches” from a brand or company before conversion. The more often you can get your name and products in front of people, the more likely it is that they’ll eventually become customers. It’s a numbers game and retargeting can help you win it. I’ve focused here on Facebook retargeting, but you can also retarget on Google – something to keep in mind.

Remember, your social media followers are following you for a reason. They are interested in you and your company. It’s up to you to give them a reason to take the next step and become customers – and the tips I’ve listed here will help you to accomplish that goal, plus double your sales.

Step #4: Get the Support You Need

All of these steps seem fairly straightforward and easy to follow — but like most things, there’s a learning curve.

You can try to implement everything we’ve discussed here on your own, or you could skip the learning curve and move straight to doubling your sales and getting the sustainable and scalable business you want.

For years, we’ve been working with businesses and brands to help them with their online marketing efforts. We have seen firsthand the struggles that website owners go through when trying to find ways to generate more leads. We’ve also seen a common pitfall that many of them have when building their campaigns – they simply don’t know how to create great landing pages, build valuable lead magnets, and keep subscribers engaged.

Don’t take our word for it — download our case study and see how we generated 96 new leads and 18 sales in just 24 hours with Facebook Messenger Marketing Chatbots.

After reading, we’re sure that you’ll want results like those for your business and we look forward to talking to you.

Conclusion

The customer journey is one of the most misunderstood frameworks in the marketing and business world. What it isn’t is simple or simplistic. Using this framework, you can turn what seems like a weak business into a leader that is truly making an impact on customers. Creating value for your customers isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Once you start to understand your customers’ needs, you can tailor your products and services to be exactly what they want. You can focus on delivering value to your customers by making them part of the story you tell about your brand. In doing so, your customer loyalty (and bank account) will blossom!

I hope this blog post has helped solidify some insights into how we create great landing pages that generate quality leads to double your sales through our CVJ framework!

If you would like more information about how the CVJ can be used for your business, please contact us. As a Certified Partner Agency of DigitalMarketer, we can help you build your Customer Value Journey as it applies to your specific company.

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How to Target Local Customers Using Geolocation Marketing

How to Target Local Customers Using Geolocation Marketing

geolocation marketing targets  customers who are nearby

You may be wondering how to target local customers using geolocation marketing. Local businesses have special marketing challenges. Namely, it’s your job as a business owner to make sure that the people who are most likely to patronize your business – the people who live in your service area – know what you have to offer and where to find you.

One way to accomplish that goal is to use geolocation marketing. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Geolocation Marketing?

Let’s start with the basics. Geolocation marketing is a type of marketing that’s location-specific. By that, I mean that you can connect with potential customers who are near your business and target them directly with offers and ads.

The benefits of geolocation marketing are clear:

  • You’ll have access to a highly targeted audience of people who are likely to frequent your business
  • You can attract new customers by reaching out to them with offers that appeal directly to them
  • You can learn about the shopping habits and preferences of your existing customers. Use what you learn to grow your business
  • You can reward your most loyal customers with special content and offers designed to turn them into brand ambassadors

In other words, geolocation marketing can help you to tap into a resource base of your existing customers and potential customers in your area, allowing you to connect with them and market your business in a way that’s likely to yield a high return on your investment.

Tools to Use for Geolocation Marketing for Your Business

There are three kinds of geolocation marketing that you can use depending upon your needs. They are:

  1. Geotargeting. This is the broadest form of geolocation marketing. It uses the IP addresses of your customers’ web browsers. In practical terms, you can’t use geotargeting for precise target audiences because it can’t pinpoint your audience’s location exactly. It’s best suited for marketing to general regions, cities, or states.
  2. Geofencing. Geofencing is more precise than geotargeting, allowing you to target specific neighborhoods and even streets. Don’t think that limits you, though – it can also be used for entire towns or cities. Geofencing uses mobile devices’ GPS locations instead of IP addresses. That means you can track your customers’ locations even if they move. It’s ideal for attracting foot traffic but not as effective for tailoring specific marketing campaigns to your target audience.
  3. Beacons. Beacons are by far the most specific option for geolocation marketing. A beacon is a small device that you’ll put inside or near your business. It collects data from Bluetooth signals in smartphones. They’re ideal for use in places with poor Wi-Fi reception because they’re used for close communication. The Bluetooth technology allows you to send messages and offers directly to customers who are in range.

The type of geolocation marketing you choose depends on what you hope to accomplish with it. If your business is highly dependent upon foot traffic, you may decide that geofencing is the most cost-effective and useful form of geolocation marketing.

Tips for Using Geolocation Marketing

Now, let’s talk about some specific tips to help you make the most of geolocation marketing and grow your business. There are lots of ways you can use this technology. Here are some suggestions.

  • Target people in a venue or at an event. If yours is the type of business that relies on foot traffic and you’re near a popular event venue, such as a stadium or theater, you can set up a geofence to target people who are at the place you specify. For example, a bar could target concertgoers at a nearby theater. You can also use this option to target office complexes and neighborhoods.
  • Set up a geofence in your delivery area. If you own a business that delivers – whether you’re delivering Thai food or furniture – you can easily use geofencing to target the people who live in the area you service. Those people are the most likely to buy from you and they may not know about your business – until you use geolocation marketing to tell them what you have to offer.
  • Use geotargeting to map out your audience based on where they are. While geotargeting is a more “big picture” type of geolocation marketing, it can be extremely useful to help you find people who are nearby. For example, if you sell a luxury product, you can use geo-targeting to get your message to people who live in upscale neighborhoods.
  • Use geolocation marketing to learn about your target audience’s buying habits. For example, you might have a nearby competitor and use geotargeting to provide potential customers with an incentive to visit your business.
businesses can use geolocation marketing to attract nearby customers

Beacons

  • Use a beacon to attract foot traffic to your store. What if you own a retail store or restaurant that relies heavily on foot traffic? You can set up a beacon to ping your customers when they’re in range and then target them with specific offers. For example, if you own a restaurant near a busy downtown area or office park, you can send out an offer about your happy hour, including information about special deals on appetizers and drinks.
  • Speaking of beacons, you can also use them to send you an alert when a repeat or loyal customer is in your store. Imagine how flattered and grateful your customers will be when you show up at the door to greet them by name and show them what you’ve got to offer! This is a terrific tool for personalized marketing that can turn loyal customers into brand ambassadors.

The bottom line here is that geolocation marketing allows local businesses to use GPS technology to connect directly with the customers – and potential customers – who are most likely to frequent their stores.

The key to geolocation marketing is to determine which method will deliver the returns you want. That means defining your marketing goals and choosing the tech that’ll allow you to achieve them, whether it’s a beacon or a geofence.

Want to attract more local customers to your business? JVI Mobile can help.

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
Want to Win Free Reputation Management Tool Suite for a Year?

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.

Want to win FREE ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT for a whole year?

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?

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.

Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings?

Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings?

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.

In case you don’t know, that’s the 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 a years, but it’s actually fairly easy to see that 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.

It’s also worth noting that 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.

Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings
Photographer: henry perks | Source: Unsplash

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 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 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 reviews on your receipts or comment cards. Remember that dissatisfied customers are often motivated to leave 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.

To learn more about how we can help generate more reviews that will positively impact your SEO rankings, fill out the form below and we will reach back out to you.