I know, consultants have been telling us for years to make sure you get reviews from your clients to use for your marketing. And now more than ever, reviews are having an enormous impact in online marketing. Online review sites like Yelp, City Search and Angie’s List are exploding in popularity as consumers learn they can hold businesses more accountable for poor service and products.
So how can you take advantage of reviews for your online marketing? Below are a few tips to get you started.
1. Claim your listing. Before you sign up, go into each directory and search for your business. If you are there, then all you need to do is verify that you are the business owner. This is an important step. Do not build a listing without checking to make sure you are not already there. Duplicate listings will hurt your rankings in the search engines. Expect to get some solicitation calls or emails from a site representative once you’ve signed up – it goes with the territory. This is normal and temporary, and unfortunately, cannot be avoided. I highly recommend not purchasing advertising.
2. Fill out a complete profile. Upload photos of your business and be sure to add as many details as you can. Consumers will typically purchase from a company for which they have more information over one with no information. Besides, Google loves companies that provide lots of information for the consumer and will reward you in its rankings for doing so.
3. Make sure your information is as consistent as possible among all the directories. The same company name, address, phone number and categories should be listed for profiles on every review site. This will help the search engines recognize you on the different platforms and will lead to a higher ranking.
4. Encourage your customers to write positive reviews for you. Assist them with verbiage and keywords if they require it. Do not write the review for them, but you can help. Invite frequent posters in the review sites to use your business in exchange for an honest review.
5. Stay active in each of the directories. This takes effort and you should set aside time each week to work on reviews. Update your profiles with new information. Thank those for posting honest reviews. If the review site has a blog, participate in it and answer questions that are posed by some of the users. Set yourself up as an expert in your field.
1. Do not write your own reviews. Many review sites are setting up safeguards against this. Yelp, for example, checks your IP address to see if the review is coming from the same location as others. If so, they will not post your review unless you can convince them you are legitimate. Writing your own reviews is always a bad idea and almost always leads to trouble. Just play by the rules and you’ll be fine. Get your customers to write honest reviews of your company.
2. Do not blast your competition with a bad review, even if they blast you. The last thing you want is to get in a war with your competitors, spending countless time and effort ruining each other’s reputations. It’s such a waste and always leads to big trouble and confrontations. Furthermore, you can be penalized if discovered. If your competition is blasting you unfairly, many directories have a way to report the abuse. Unfortunately, it takes time, but stick with it and the review should get removed eventually.
3. Do not counter-blast a negative review. Most directories have a way for you to respond to negative reviews. If someone writes something bad about you, respond to them in the right way. I wrote an entire post about this process here.
4. Do not insist on all 5 Star reviews from your customers. Consumers trust businesses that have a variety of ratings. It looks more natural and real that way. If you have 25 reviews and they are all rated with 5 Stars, then chances are something isn’t right. Consumers sense this as well and may not trust you.
5. Don’t load up with too many reviews all at once. If you have twenty posted on one day and none for the next month, it looks unnatural and will be flagged by the site and possibly Google. Building your reputation in directories takes time. Build slowly and eventually you will gain enough momentum that you will be recognized as the authority in your market.