We now live in an era wherein digital marketing holds prime importance. If your business is not present on digital media, you are not only losing a chance to interact with your existing customers, but also throwing away the opportunity to bring in new customers. It is very important for your business to actively participate and engage consumers online.
Word-of-mouth marketing holds unprecedented power for your business. Consider online reviews to be a new and improved version of word-of-mouth marketing for your business. When a user searches for a service or product he is interested in, he analyses numerous factors before zeroing in one option. One of these important factors that you can work on is improving your overall business rating.
Importance of online reviews for local SEO
Google now shows the business rating along the listing. This makes the decision-making process easier for users. They can see how your customers have rated you, and also see the number of reviews your business has received. This makes a lot of sense from a user’s perspective as it gives them valuable information to compare and make a decision.
From a business owner’s perspective, it might seem like additional work for you. As if trying to sort your daily operations, sales efforts, business listings and keyword rankings wasn’t enough, now you have to try to improve your online reviews as well? Well, nobody said running a business was going to be easy.
Crowd-sourced directories like Yelp, Facebook, Google, Bing etc. not only host business listings but also allow customers and users to review the businesses they have interacted with. These online business directories and social media channels have good domain authority. Listing your business on them helps you boost your local SEO - your ranking improves and it also presents itself as a platform where you can get reviews.
How can monitoring and responding to reviews help my business?
The idea of getting your customers to review your business online is to show them that you care. As a business, you want them to know that you are always open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Hence, it only makes sense for you to respond to all reviews that your business receives. Be it a positive review filled with compliments and praises, or a negative review, you should make it a point to respond to them all.
Reviews, good or bad, can go a long way. If a customer had a good experience with your business, he is likely to talk about it to one or two of his friends. In the event he had a bad experience, he is definitely going to bring it with a larger crowd. Before you know it, he’s put up a status on his Facebook timeline, tweeted about it multiple times and thrown in an Instagram story as well. But don’t worry, you can learn to salvage negative reviews, no matter how dirty the situation gets.
No business owner wants to receive a negative review online. Especially when you know that the content of the feedback is available for public consumption. But what you must learn to do is stay calm and respond to it. You could start off with a generic response that goes like -
“Hi there, we are sorry you had a bad experience with us. Please share your contact details so that we may get in touch with you and help resolve the issue. Thanks in advance!”
The objective is to acknowledge the issue online and work towards closing the loop. When the issue has been resolved offline, you need to update it online as well. This will reflect well on your business and at the same time, show that you care.
You might be wondering if it makes sense for you to spend time and reply to happy customers - those who have left a positive review. Well, that needs to be taken up as an important task as well. A simple reply like - “Hi there, thanks for your positive feedback! We hope to see you again soon.” can help.
How can I start?
Opening up all of your listings or pages online and looking for new reviews is not an easy task. It is very time-consuming and requires manual labour. When in fact, you could use the same time for something more productive and satisfying. Your objective should be to use your time wisely and simplify your work as much as possible.
There are a number of tools you can use to make your job easier. Synup is one such simple local marketing software. Using this, you can keep an eye on your reviews online and respond to them from the same dashboard. You end up saving time and also have a structured process in place.