There are four main benefits to focus on a review gathering strategy for a local North City business.

  1. Google can’t take away your online reputation from you.If your reputation is set up and developed correctly, with online reviews, testimonials, and customers saying positive things about your company, it is one of the few things that Google can’t control or harm. Even if your site gets punished by an algorithm update, you still have an online reputation for your potential customers to find your business.
  2. If you have reviews, you will get more clicks than your competitors do.Those clicks & behavioral signals will also benefit your rankings by moving them up gradually over time.
  3. Having reviews on a variety of sites helps your ranking within those sites that there are search results within search results, such as in Yelp for example, whereby a Google search then leads to a Yelp category page, which will then display sites based on the amount and quality of reviews that a business has. This shows that reviews are a great Barnacle SEO tactic they help you latch onto more influential sites in Google.
  4. Reviews help with offline and online word of mouth

Online reviews help with word of mouth & have high referral power. If people hear about your site offline, sooner or later they are going to look you up your local North City business online.

By paying attention to your online reputation, you can certainly succeed without Google being the most major component to your business.

Don’t ignore how your customers in North City as a single, group, or collective, feel about you

In regards to benchmarking against competitors in North City, we suggest that as long as your company had more reviews than your competitors, then you should be happy. If your business is in a position of dominance, then Your credibility is currency. What people say about you online matters more than ever today.

Adjusting your benchmarks takes on lesser importance. We recommend just to keep doing what you do and take great care of your customers.

How involved should a local North City business get?

Consider that having ‘no reviews’ can almost be as harmful as having ‘bad reviews’; people don’t always run out and leave reviews for businesses, and if you don’t have any reviews, you can be very exposed. One review can hurt your business; recently we were hired to help create a custom email campaign to target only one review site, and the results were 19 reviews gathered over a 30 day period which allowed the business to breathe easier.

In a scenario where you have zero, or very few reviews, one negative review can stand out, and that’s dangerous for a small business.

This tells us that a business or a Local SEO’s company like ours needs to have more goals than just receiving positive reviews. That should not be the strategic end point. Instead, you should focus on letting your customers know that:

-You care and are willing to listen to their challenges and needs
-You are showing your customers that there is a space on your website that invites their feedback like a rate us button on all your pages. From this, you can then do real actionable things with that feedback.

A critical issue is that not enough local North City businesses read their reviews on a regular basis.

When helping small businesses maximize their reputation, we know that too many people are satisfied with receiving a positive review without actually monitoring them for further actions. Reviews can be a source of not only finding out common complaints are about your service or product but also, they are a valuable source of content ideas to use later on social media or blogging for your industry or community. To learn why customers leave reviews can be a useful tool in today’s market. Learn what makes a customer happy, and then reinforce that with your staff and play up more of those factors.

You should dig information from those reviews, which then leads to more reviews and better reviews. The business that uses their reviews to make their business better are the ones that do well online and in the local marketplace.

How many online reviews should you aim for?

On the subject of how many online reviews are required, we suggest that approx. 7-10 reviews are ideal, but don’t stop there. It’s an ongoing process. Google and customers love seeing recent reviews, which are important. If you have 10 great reviews from 10 years ago, who cares? You should never stop asking for reviews.

Make your review strategy a company strategy

the businesses in North City that are successful at gathering reviews and managing their reputation are the ones that have it baked into their process, whether that’s using a tool like RebelFish Local’s review platform, or just having it ingrained into the company culture.

However, even if a company has reviews and reputation as a priority, if staff on the frontlines don’t buy into it, then it’s not going to work. It must be a top to bottom implementation. If gathering reviews are not part of your culture, then it is doomed to fail over time.

The best examples are companies that have trained their staff. It works best when the whole team understands the mission, which is to ask customers for feedback and get reviews. If you can’t motivate your staff or feel their time is best used elsewhere then just ask if they can just collect email addresses. You can automate the process of gathering reviews by using a local reputation development agency like ours.

Your company and employees should know that it matters because promotions, firing, and hiring are all based on reviews. Reviews can be linked to customer retention rates and other success metrics, so make them an incentive for staff to tie it into their career path.

Asking local customers in North City for reviews

Lets talk on the subject of asking for reviews, a lot of businesses don’t follow up on their requests out of fear of looking like there are pushy. Customers are busy and will forget, so don’t be afraid to keep up with friendly email reminders even if it takes 2 or 3 attempts to get that review. The more recent the following up, the better. The more recent the customer interactions the most feedback you will get. It can more than double or triple the response rate with email. There are higher response rates on the 2nd or 3rd email; customers will often set a reminder and then not get around to it until the 2nd or 3rd email reminder.

Incentivizing online reviews

On incentivizing reviews, Don’t do it the incentive should be excellent service every time. Even if you incentivize reviews, those reviews are likely to be weak, rushed and watered down because they are incentivized. A page full of reviews with just 1 or 2 sentences is going to look staged to a casual onlooker.

Incentivizing reviews cheapen your relationship with a customer. Whereas on the flip side, only asking for a favor strengthen your relationship with your clients.

On paying for reviews, if you’re buying online reviews, you’re probably buying reviews from someone who doesn’t review at all and a quick review of that person’s profile will get flagged then filtered by Yelp and other sites. It’s only a matter of time before Google and FaceBook will start to pay more attention to who’s leaving reviews.