There’s probably always going to be a place for traditional marketing channels like radio and television advertising, billboards, and direct mail. But in recent years, new media channels driven by the internet have moved to the forefront. Businesses are now focusing on reaching consumers where they are most of the day – in front of a computer or on their mobile phone.
One key component of this new channel is online reviews. The internet has amplified word of mouth marketing, making it possible for your happy customers to reach a much larger audience. Businesses that emphasize building a large portfolio of business reviews online are seeing an almost immediate payback. Below are just a few of the ways reviews can enhance a business’ marketing efforts.
An increase in local SEO ranking
Probably the most important new media channel for small businesses is local search. Optimizing your business listings for local SEO will make it easy for potential customers to find your business when they are looking – especially when they are using mobile devices to conduct a near me search. There are a number of factors that play a part in Google’s local search algorithm that you need to focus on, one of which is online reviews.
Google uses online reviews to determine how prominent a business is. It factors in things like the number of online reviews a business has, what it’s overall star rating is, how frequently the business is reviewed, and whether or not the business responds to those reviews.
Responding to reviews – regardless of sentiment – shows your customers that you are interested in what they have to say. But it’s important that you don’t have a document with a bunch of prewritten answers you are copying and pasting into the comments section. While your responses don’t need to be very long, they should be personalized to the situation.
When people are researching you online, it’s human nature for them to look for dirt, but be sure you don’t give them any. If you are responding to a negative review, don’t get into a lengthy back and forth. Quickly apologize to diffuse the situation and take the conversation offline. Doing so will improve your online reputation and help you develop better relationships with your customers.
A more engaged customer base
The most effective way to increase your library of business reviews online is by simply asking your customers. If you are already providing stellar customer service, most of your customers should be willing to leave a review for your business. The key is making it easy.
One way to do this is by implementing an online review management platform that eliminates most of the barriers that previously existed in review invitations. In the past, your customers have been faced with lengthy surveys or a clunky process filled with so many steps they would abandon before submitting a review. But now it’s possible to direct your customers immediately to an online review platform they already use – significantly speeding up the process.
Enhance traditional marketing channels
But you shouldn’t just let your online reviews lay stagnant on Google or Facebook. You should look for ways to include them in your traditional marketing efforts. This gives more credibility to your messages and demonstrates how successful your business has been at providing a top-notch customer service.
Additionally, you can use online reviews to identify opportunities to create full-blown customer testimonials that can be utilized in sales collateral and other marketing programs.
Learn how to collect business reviews online
Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based platform can help your salon take its online reputation to the next level. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help you collect 15x more reviews than traditional platforms produce, which in turn will improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.