Does your small business have a review strategy in place? Reviews are regarded as the most effective advertisements online, yet they’re often disregarded by companies. This is a result of several factors, but the rise of online reviews as a marketing avenue is ultimately an advantage to small businesses. Why? Large companies have the luxury of brand recognition, marketing departments, and deep pockets, but they struggle to adapt quickly to an ever-changing environment. Small companies, by comparison, are nimble, can react quickly to changes in market conditions; they can respond directly to consumers and more easily offer a unique customer experience. Here’s how you can build an impressive review strategy for your small business.
The first step in developing a review strategy is to make your company easy to find. The Internet is full of chatter, but having complete social media profiles, directory listings, and review site profiles helps people locate your small businesses. Well managed social media profiles rank well in search results, provide a platform for reviews (and other interactions), and create a simple way to advertise in search engine results, all while showcasing a dedication to customer service. Taking ownership of your company's review profiles on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, and Trip Advisor allows customers to easily find and draft reviews about your company.
While aggregating your online real estate is a great first step, accuracy is key. Search engines seek correlations throughout the Internet and specifically look for Name Address and Phone Number (NAP) information when determining what sites are related to specific businesses. It’s challenging to organize and update multiple accounts and profiles. With managed services for listings small businesses can organize and update information on multiple reviews, social, and listing sites from one location.
Response time matters. Companies like Facebook and Airbnb now publish how long on average a business or host takes to respond. This information is valuable because it demonstrates your company's dedication to customer service and gives your potential customers confidence if they need to reach you. This is especially true when responding to negative feedback. Small businesses can implement consumer feedback immediately, while large companies must seek approval and policy changes before implementing changes. Where large companies can marginalize customer experience by mass offering the same service, small businesses can thrive by paying close attention to individual experience. When it comes to reviews, it’s all about individual experiences.
People rarely leave reviews about an average experience. Customers are motivated to leave positive reviews about your company when you stand out. The best review strategy is to steadily gain as many positive reviews as possible. This can be accomplished by creating a strategy to solicit reviews from former customers who had a positive experience, or even training your staff to mention politely that your company appreciates customer feedback and would be thankful for an online evaluation. The best reviews, however, are motivated by an amazing experience. And the best way to offer an amazing experience is to offer outstanding customer service on the individual level.
Attn: small businesses: Let the reviews begin
Having a review strategy in place is more important than ever before, yet many companies don’t prioritize it. Reviews are the best way to demonstrate how your company handles both positive and negative customer feedback, plus it’s a consumer-to-consumer way to spread the word about a great product or service. So what are you waiting for? Take a minute to think about a review strategy for your small business today.