According to Bright Locals 2013 Survey results, 79% of all consumers trust online reviews and recommendations. That means that eight out of every ten people trust those review sites where people can go and say anything they want about your business.
The longer you do business, the more likely you are going to run across consumers that simply do not like the product or service that you have provided them. It is really a statistical impossibility to make everybody happy. The question comes down to what can be done to minimize any damage that the consumer can do.
First and foremost, it goes without saying that you need to provide the consumer good service and reputable products. Without that, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to avoid complaints. You also need to provide your employees a good environment to work and pay them an honest and fair salary. Otherwise, they will be the next person you find on a website complaining about your business. Given those two things, here are some suggestions that will significantly help your business is maintaining a good reputation online…
1. Setup and Manage Barnacle SEO sites
Manage your “Barnacle SEO”. This is a term used to reference leveraging your ability to register and maintain your business name and profile on various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Local.com, and others. In most instances, the proper use of this technique will provide you at least the top ten, if not more, of the search engine listings. Here is a good list to start with, and as sites pop up on the Internet, this should grow exponentially.
- Google Plus
- Google Places (For Businesses)
- Merchant Circle
Here is something to think about… 75% of all people do not go beyond the first page of a Google search. Therefore, if your business dominates the first page of listings for your business, the largest majority of people will not look further. This is going to help you significantly.
When you go onto the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and others, it is a good suggestion to spend time there and build followers and create regular posts. In many cases, this is going to help you not only build your business, but it will also increase the amount of listings you maintain on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others.
2. Build Links To Your Online Profiles
Building links to your online profiles is relatively simple. Make it a point to start posting guest articles to other business sites and blogs, and while you are there, create a link back to your Facebook, Twitter, etc. profile. In addition, submit your social media profile links to various submission sites, other social media sites, etc. Over time, this will grow exponentially in ways that you cannot imagine. Growing your business is not really all that difficult. It can be a bit time consuming, but the results that you gain are obvious.
3. Ask Customers To Post Reviews
The unfortunate thing about reviews is that people are more often going to post a bad review than a good one. That just seems to be human nature. So, you have to work on getting your customers to post good reviews by giving them incentives. Here are some ideas:
- Ask. Funny enough, most people don’t ask their customers to post reviews and therefore, people don’t. If you are an online retailer, e-mail your clients and ask them to post a review and give them the link to make it easy for them to do it. If you are a restaurant like many of our clients, hand out a flyer with a short URL link on it to the review site you wish them to go to. (Google has an easy to use URL Shortener that turns a huge URL into something short and easy to manage)
- Give them coupon codes for posting reviews of your business. create a banner or link on the front page of your website that promotes leaving reviews.
- Watch where your customers some from and make it easy to leave a review for your business. IF the customer found you on Angie’s List, then provide them an easy to use link back to Angie’s List to review your business.
- Customers are not the only people who can leave you reviews. Many companies work directly with other companies for years and years. Ask them to take a few moments and leave a review of your business. Remember, you can also offer to do the same. Share this article with them. If they are not a direct competitor, giving them this article will help their business immensely.
- If you want your customers to leave reviews for your business, one way to almost guarantee a review is to over-deliver on your transaction with them. Make their experience with your company so incredible that they really want to go out of their way to take the time and review your website for others. Providing a fantastic product and service is always the best way to become a five star company online.
Some of these step are fairly obvious, but often overlooked. Take the time necessary to build your business. It doesn’t matter if you are a work-from-home business or a multimillion dollar corporation, the key to success online are through these simple steps.
If you have steps that have worked for you and your business, we would love to hear about them. You can leave a comment below or e-mail us directly.