How to Win Reviews and Influence People: A Practical Guide to a 5-Star Revenue Machine
Before you spend another dime on internet marketing, find out why online reviews are the most cost effective way to generate revenue!
In this Article, We’ll Show You How to:
- Implement a “no customer left behind” feedback system
- Direct people to review sites that scream authority and build trust
- Make your competitors cry (and wonder how you did it)
- Avoid the most common mistakes that businesses make with regards to online reputation management.
You can buy your way to the top through pay per click or PPC, but there is no long term residual effect and your funds may run dry. Organic search strategies have a longer lasting benefit and one of the most effective approaches involve story telling. Share your expertise, what your business does, and what your customers think about you. The trick to getting these stories told is to implement a customer feedback system.
The Story of Matt
(Also Known As “The Story of Every Other Business Owner I Know”)
Matt is a Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Krave Fitness in Campbell, CA. He’s your regular business owner. He works hard for the business and ensures all the customers are happy. The personal training industry is competitive and Matt was “off the grid” in local search results. In addition to a site redesign, on page optimization and directory management, we saw a chance to capitalize on the opportunities for managing Krave Fitness’ online reputation.
Matt is like 90% of all the business owners I know. They mean the best for their businesses, but they fall short in covering all bases. Online reputation management is an area commonly overlooked by small-business owners or those with limited web presence, yet it is considered a core marketing strategy needed in order to help build the trust of both search engines and potential customers.
Matt has since encourage his customers to leave feedback the search engines have taken notice. Krave Fitness is at the top spot in the 3-Pak with a nice set of five shiny stars to compliment this position.
Online Reviews Matter
According to the local SEO industry experts, online reviews comprise 8.4% of the 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors. One thing to note about this survey and the review signals. It’s partly based on review quantity, review velocity, review diversity. In other words, make sure your reputation management program encourages feedback that seems to occur naturally. Don’t hold a contest that drives 5 sudden reviews to your Google+ or Yelp page in one day – Google knows when you start playing around with the rules.
Most Consumers Trust Strangers
A recent study by Bright Local found that 92% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses (vs. 88% in 2014). On the case of hotels, customers read 6-12 reviews before they even consider booking a room.
If your service levels consistently produce positive reviews, you’ll see better placement in search results, more click throughs, and ultimately more revenue. For example, a one-star review increase for independent restaurants can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
Whether your business is retail, service or professional, online reviews won’t just fall into your lap. By virtue of human nature, you are more likely to get a negative review on a normal day because dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave a review than a satisfied one. You need to have a follow-up system in place, get your staff involved and utilize online tools to make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Don’t wait until you’ve upset someone to get feedback, build a system for gathering reviews into your business.
Why the Stars Matter
We are in a hyper-fast, “I-need-it-now” world. Most Internet users have the attention span of a goldfish. According to Statistic Brain, our attention span is dropping which means online customers will quickly rely on available information or leave your site. The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds and as of 2015, the average attention span of the regular Internet-using human dropped to 8.25 seconds.
Just think about it this way. Your website might be first on the results list, but this still won’t mean anything if a customer sees zero reviews about your business.
Ultimately, businesses need to ensure that they have a good presence on Facebook, Yelp, or other directory sites, but first and foremost they need to ensure that they are creating a good impression on the customer. The rest will take care of itself.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
We often hear from businesses that panic a little when they see a 1, 2 or 3-star review. They fear that not having all 5-star reviews is a bad thing. I’m here to set the record straight. Less than 5-star reviews CAN be a good thing!
When a customer is searching for a product or service, they are doing their best to make an informed decision. Part of that decision-making process involves reading reviews and making a judgement based on not only what the review says, but how honest the reviewer is being.
The customer wants to read honest opinions from real customers and can easily spot bogus reviews or people complaining just to complain. The customer knows that we don’t live in a utopian society, and not everything is perfect. When they see a product or service with hundreds of reviews that are all five-stars, they become skeptical. How does this business have only 5-star reviews? Are these reviews real? Are they paying customers to give them good reviews?
The truth is that honesty works better for you than 5-star reviews. Not everyone is going to be happy with your price – perhaps your prices are too high or possibly they are really competitive. A three or four-star review here and there is going to show potential new customers that you’ve got an authentic audience and that your reviews aren’t manufactured. That builds trust, and trust is how you win new business.
Respond to the Negative Reviews
If a customer was not pleased with your product or service and they leave a 3-star review, address the problem, make the customer happy, and respond to the review publicly. A negative review that has a comment from the business stating that the issue has been resolved almost has the same weight as a 5-star review in the potential customer’s eyes. This is probably the most authentic form of a review. Your potential new customers want to see that you are responsive and willing to solve problems when things don’t go perfectly. Without dialog like this, the customer will always have the question if if you actually listen to your customers or if you even care if your customers have a bad experience. If you’ve stuffed your site with nothing but 5-star reviews, they won’t have their answer and might move on.
The sobering reality is that negative reviews are inevitable. No matter how much your customers love you or how good your service is, someone will have a bad experience and use Yelp or Google+ to unleash their dissatisfaction.
You need to prepare by actively engaging with your customers directly after their interaction with you. This will benefit you in two ways.
- You will allow any negative experiences to be dealt with straightaway and minimize the likelihood of negative reviews being left.
- You will be able to use positive feedback to boost your current ratings and generate revenue.
How to Build a Simple Review / Feedback System for Free
Our most successful approach is to build a simple feedback page on your own website (you always want to drive customers back to your site as a starting point) and incorporate a feedback system into your workflow. This approach shows that you value their feedback and want to address their complaints and compensate for any dissatisfaction. It is very important that you make this straightforward and simple for your potential reviewers.
- Identify the primary review sites on which you would like to be reviewed (IE. Facebook, Google+, Yelp).
- Determine if there are any additional industry specific sites (such as Trip Advisor, Open Table, Zamoto if you owned a restaurant).
- Build a review page on your website such as https://foxxr.com/reviews that will encourage clients to leave reviews on 3rd Party websites where they are most valuable.
- Have a feedback form on your website for those clients that would rather leave your company direct feedback.
- Be sure to track the clients that leave you reviews in your CRM.
- Respond to each and every review online whether it’s positive or negative.
- After they leave a review, be sure to thank them and consider asking them for a referral. This is the best time to ask for referrals! You company is fresh on their mind.
Get it Done with Full Contact and Zapier
If you are using Gmail, you can implement a simple and effective system to manage your contact record groups within Gmail using a Chrome CRM Extension called Full Contact. This extension resides within Gmail and pulls up your contact records in the right sidebar for quick viewing and editing. Think of it as the Gmail People Widget on steroids. Full Contact is a fremium product. My advice is to pony up and pay the $99 annual fee (or $9.99 monthly) to take advantage of its full potential.
Another tool to implement is Zapier, which is a tool for primarily non-technical users to connect together web apps. In minutes, you can setup a “Zap” to send an email to a customer that it triggered when you add that customer to your “Feedback Request” group. Since it’s a HTML email without the typical text editor, you have to use <br> for line breaks. You can even insert the customer’s first name field!
Here is a sample email:
Your satisfaction means more to us than a “job well done”. It exemplifies the level of service and commitment we strive to deliver to all of our clients. <br>
We would be delighted if you would post a quick review. It not only helps our online reputation, but helps others make a more informed decision about doing business with Foxxr. <br>
Please visit https://foxxr.com/reviews and select just one of the review sites. <br>
To give your online reputation management an even greater push, it is best to couple it with a sound social media campaign. You can easily repost the positive review you get from your customers into your Facebook page along with a small acknowledgement or thank-you note for them. This way, more customers will be encouraged to leave positive reviews for your business.
Get started today to make reputation management an essential part of your marketing strategy. Your customers can help shape your brand and affect your bottom line now more than ever.