There have been multiple articles written that local search is changing the face of how small mom-pop businesses are gaining new business by use of the internet. Most people feel that just being found on the local maps is the key to the successes this exposure brings. This however, is only a “half-true” statement. Should internet surfers find a local business on a local directory performed on the big 3 (Google, Bing, Yahoo) customers will not only receive your direct contact information but they will also be made aware of what current and past customers have to say about your business’s service or product. So if you’re found, you need to make sure that your reviews and ratings are telling a great story about what you have to offer. Localize It, a Columbus, OH website design and local SEO company has worked with both large and small franchises, and “mom-pop” local businesses around the country and has noticed this first hand. Aaron Greene, Owner of Localize It, stated; “Since the economic times have changed along with the internet, our company and our clients have had to adapt to the changes in the marketplace. Now it is even more crucial that if someone finds you they convert. Seeing that you have an opportunity to have people read about your business online at the moment they are ready to buy or call for a service or reserve a room means that you need to promote obtaining reviews and monitoring the reviews you are obtaining from customers. Greene states that when customers find your business online, they have no physical or verbally communication. Greene states that your hardware store, landscape business, law firm, etc… could be the best out there but if you’re not having people discuss you in a positive light you may have issues with converting the traffic. “
So the question becomes; how do you obtain solid reviews and manage that process from your customers? There are some means of easily converting positive customer experience to the reviews on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DexKnows, etc… Here are a couple suggestions:
1 – When the customer has just checked out of their bed and breakfast, hotel, or motel stay; ask them how was your stay. If the response is positive request that the customer take 5 minutes to post a review in your business center. Reward the customer with a voucher of some sort.
2- Service based businesses that send technicians out to a commercial property or residence should at the time of closing out the work order request the homeowner or commercial property owner/ tenant to give a review online. Again, $5 off a service may seem like a lot but if you have multiple search engines taughting you in a positive fashion with not just 5 reviews on your listing will prove 20 fold down the road.
3 – Send an email blast to your existing customers that you have worked with for years. In this email discuss that you request the customers to click on a link that directs them to where you want them to write the review. Offer the customers a voucher or reward for their time.
These examples should help you brainstorm how each idea can best be used in your place of business for marketing customers to write reviews about your business. So, the reviews are now being posted; how does one manage or know what is being said about your business online? Companies like Localize It, offer local search reputation management tools (LRMT). These tools allow customers to login into an internet portal where a business can query 1 or many locations’ reviews right online. Now you can further manage where you have positive reviews, need positive reviews, or even see where you don’t have any reviews posted. Some companies like Localize It, have LRMT tools that crawl or search for a merchant’s listing on popular online directory sites that rank highest in search engines – the places where consumers are most likely to find out about you. LRMT can also help business owners harness the power of social networking by indexing them if they do not have an account, or reporting what is being said about a TWE
ET of that business. LRMT’s are an extremely easy way for a business to add enhanced content and correct erroneous information in online listings from one single merchant interface.
Though LRMT’s will create a great way of managing your business, harnessing the power of reviews and managing that process will only make your next customer that is looking for a product or service convert more easily.
To find out more about Localize It, you can visit them on the web at www.localizeitnow.com . Localize It offers website design, SEO, and local search services. Localize It is powered by senior staff members with over 10 years of internet marketing strategy successes.