As part of the “Owned By Vets” series of internet marketing tips of the day for Veteran owned business owners that you can do yourself for free or at little cost which will help you improve your internet visibility, today we focus on the Customer Review options available to you on your Facebook and search engine business pages.
Reviews Matter to People as Well as Search Engines
What is the first thing you usually do when you are shopping for something online? If you said check out the customer reviews, then you are not alone. It’s been programmed into our “DNA” as part of our human nature that we want to know what others think about something and choose a more favorable option when given the choice.
If you are not taking advantage of the Review option on your pages like Facebook and Google then you are not only missing out on a “Free” way to promote your goods and services, you are missing out on one of the major ways a search engine uses to improve your website rankings.
In an earlier Internet Marketing Tips article, Internet Marketing Tip of The Day, Make Sure You Are On The Map! I walk you through setting claiming your business account.
Search engines like Google have worked it into their algorithms to give weight to customer reviews, after-all what better way to know the quality of someone’s goods or services than through what people are saying about them. The next time you search for something through a search engine like Google notice that that the websites that are coming up near the top of search and the maps section have the better ratings in their “Reviews”.
Reviews are also a way for you to see how your business is doing. Everyone wants 5 stars, but lower scores allow you to use you customer service skills and turn and experience that might not have been perfect a little bit better.
Customer Reviews are Part of Reputation Management
Customer reviews have become so important that in internet marketing circles, customer reviews are included as part of reputation management programs. Companies that have the budget will hire internet marketers to set up programs to manage customer reviews for them sending out review invites and monitoring the review gathering process to help improve their customer review rankings.
If you don’t have the budget to hire an internet marketing professional, you can still have an impact through your own “Free” sweat equity.
How to Get Those Free Customer Reviews
The best way to get customer reviews for free is to ask for them. It might sound simple, but many business owners are worried what people might say about them. Even if you were to get a negative review you still have a chance to turn that into a positive (more on that later).
Steps you can take;
– Make sure your Facebook page “Reviews” option is turned on, the reason why this is so important is that Facebook reviews feed to the search engines, so they have a direct impact on your website rankings.
– When you have a new customer to your business create a data base that includes their email, we all want to be able to get ahold of a potential new customer make sure to ask for their email.
– Create a simple review invite that you can email to that new customer once you’ve completed a sale or transaction and asking them to go to your Facebook or Google pages and leave you a review. Having an email of a customer even if you are dealing with them face-to-face let’s you send them a follow-up.
– Don’t ignore your loyal customers, the best “low-cost” way to improve your customer review rankings is to ask your loyal customers to go on Facebook or Google and give you a review, they are loyal customers for a reason. If you own a bakeshop or a salon you see the same customers repeatedly, ask them to give you some feedback.
– Bribe them! If you think its crazy you haven’t been to Taco Bell or Burger King lately, those customer surveys for food tricks (yes, I’ve gone for them a few times!) are their ways of getting feedback.
You don’t have to go to the lengths that the big companies do, but incentives can help to get you feedback from your customers.
Dealing with Those Negative Reviews
What happens if you get a negative review to your page? As an internet marketer we often get calls from website owners wanting to get rid of negative reviews from their listings. The bad news is that there is no easy way to get rid of a negative review even if you think it is a fake review. Search engines like Google tend to lean towards believing the reviewer and you have to go through a lengthy process to try and get that negative review fixed.
– Contact the reviewer and see if there is a way that you can help make their experience better and maybe improve their score. Based on their comments maybe you were having an off-day and you might be able to do something to resolve the issue. The two things to remember in customer service 1) The customer is always right and 2) A negative review will be shared at least 10 times.
– As a business owner, you can comment on the review. Using your best customer service apologize, this might not improve that specific review but anyone reading the negative review will get to see your side of things. Don’t get into a “war of words” with the reviewer very seldom does the business owner come out on top. Even if you think you are totally in the right, remember rule 1) from above.
– If you think the negative review is fake then you can petition the platform to have it removed. In some cases, they will remove it, but be prepared for a lengthy process.
– The Best solution increase the number of positive reviews you are getting, the more positive reviews you can gather the less that negative review will count against you. Everyone today is used to seeing “fake” reviews, but if there are no positive reviews to off-set it then the potential customer has nothing to go on.
There Plenty of Places Online for Customers to Leave Reviews
If you have been following the “Owned By Vets” website, you’ll know I’m an internet marketer so my focus for Veteran owned businesses is to help them deal with the search engines. I know you can get customer reviews through Yelp or Grub Hub etc, and you can invite people to give you ratings there as well, but with these tips I want you to practice K.I.S.S. by focusing on having your customers leave reviews on Facebook and Google giving you have another “Free” avenue to help grow your business.
Thank You For Your Service…