- Claim your business listings on key review sites
- Read and respond to every review
- Get more reviews
- Use reputation management software
As word of mouth has moved online, local businesses have had to pay attention to their online business reputation. Your online presence is what people see when they search for businesses like yours online. Your online business reputation is your star rating and review content on popular review sites like Google and Yelp.
So, what can you do to take control of how potential customers see your business when they search online? It’s simple: just follow these 3 steps:
The most successful businesses use reputation management software. Get a free demo of Womply today.
1. Claim your business listings
If you’ve never paid attention to sites like Google and Yelp, it might surprise you to learn that your business is listed on these sites whether or not you create a listing. Ignoring these sites is self-defeating because your business is going to have a presence there no matter what.
You can, and should, claim your business listings on the most important online review sites. It’s free and relatively easy, and doing so enables you to control things like the accuracy of vital business information. Most importantly, claiming your pages empowers you to respond to online reviews from customers. (You can’t reply to reviews unless you’ve claimed your listings.)
If you just take this one step, you’ll be doing better than most small businesses. According to a national study, only 33% of of all Yelp listings and 44% of Google listings have been claimed. Worse yet, only 23% of businesses update their listings, meaning they’re less likely to show up in online searches and are probably ignoring customer feedback posted online.
2. Read and respond to all online reviews
Every time someone reviews your business, it sends a message to other potential customers, and that message can be good or bad. You ultimately can’t control if someone posts a review about your business, but you can control if and how you respond.
Here’s an amazing fact for you: Research suggests that simply responding to reviews has a positive effect on revenue. That’s just the act of responding—not even accounting for whether or not you resolve a concern, etc. Your responses show current and future customers that you care and are willing to engage with them. It may seem trivial, but responding to reviews is time well spent. That’s why we recommend responding to every review.
When you engage with customers on review sites, you might learn a few things about how to better serve them. Many large companies pay millions to collect customer feedback, and online reviews provide it for free! Some reviewers will just post grumpy rants, but others will provide meaningful feedback. Take it to heart and your business will benefit.
3. Get more reviews
The best thing you can do to increase your star rating is to get more reviews. As we’ve mentioned, it’s ultimately up to your customers whether or not they post online reviews. You don’t have complete control, but you can influence how many reviews you get. So, how can you encourage your customers to share their opinions about your business online?
Buying reviews is a big no-no, and we strongly discourage soliciting fake or misleading reviews. The FTC has strict guidelines against buying fake reviews and will crack down on businesses that violate that rule. Plus, online review sites can impose harsh penalties on businesses that violate their policies by buying fake reviews.
However, there are legitimate ways to get authentic reviews from actual customers. Putting in place some basic practices to get more real reviews from paying customers is the best way to ensure that your reviews and star ratings reflect the experience you deliver. The good news: 7 in 10 customers will leave a review if you simply ask.
So, just ask! Don’t tie review solicitations to special deals or promotions, and don’t ask for a positive review. Just ask your customers if they’d be willing to share their feedback and you’ll be surprised how many have good things to say about your business.
The best thing you can do to increase your star rating is to get more reviews.
4. Use reputation management software
You might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but I don’t have time.” We get it. Local business owners are some of the busiest people on the planet. In fact, a study by Salesforce found that two-thirds of local business owners are personally responsible for nearly every aspect of running their business.
You need leverage, and reputation management software can provide it. That same Salesforce study found that local businesses lose a full day or work each week to performing manual processes that could be automated with software. Give the heavy lifting to technology—your cheapest, hardest-working employee.
Reputation management software can make the overwhelming task of online reviews management simple. In fact, a large multi-location restaurant uses Womply to reduce time spent managing online reviews by 80% every day!
Getting more reviews leads to more customers, but someone has to read and respond. It’s impossible to log into every site and chase reviews all day. You need a system that alerts you when reviews are posted, enables management of all your reviews in one place, and makes it easy to get more reviews.
Put reputation management software to work for you so you can get more customers and save time every day.
You might also like: 3 ways to use online review sites to your advantage (Small Business Expert Forum).
Take action: See why 150,000 local businesses (and counting) use Womply’s reputation management software. Request a free demo by completing the form below.