Running a small business of any type is a big job. As a small business owner, you know how important it is to get new business and grow your company. If you struggle to get clients in through the door, then it’s going to be a struggle to remain successful. However, you may be losing customers you never even knew about if you don’t have a strong reputation management strategy.
Most people go online to do their own research before they ever reach out to a business. That means that your online reputation needs to be positive enough that potential clients are willing to trust you over your competitors and want to learn more about what you offer. Therefore, maintaining your online reputation and making sure it is drawing people in instead of turning them away is essential.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the value of your online reputation and how you can get more reviews that will boost your presence. We’ll also talk about the importance of having a reputation management platform for small business owners to use to take their company to the next level.
Why Does Online Reputation Matter?
In today’s digital world, a business’s online presence is one of the most common ways they are discovered. When someone searches for a business near them, they browse through the available listings and pick the option that looks best to them. That means that they will look at things like your services, your hours, your website, and your reviews. They might even dive into your social media or explore your directories in detail.
It’s important that the information available to potential leads paints your small business in a positive light. If you are embroiled in online drama, have negative reviews, or don’t come off as professional across your platforms, your online reputation will take a hit and customers will choose to explore other options to find a solution to their needs.
The Role Reviews Play in Reputation Management
Reviews are the most important part of your online reputation management. People tend to trust the options of others. Think about the last time you went to order something off of Amazon. Did you just add it to your cart and go? Or did you look at the product’s star rating and scan through some reviews first? And when was the last time you ordered something that had no reviews instead of selecting a similar product that had positive reviews? Or go with an item that was 3 stars instead of 4?
Reviews guide us to find the businesses, products, and individuals that the general populace seems to deem as the best. And it’s no different than if you are buying a shirt off a website or trying to find a local business provider in your area. Building up the number of positive reviews about your business is essential for small business owners.
Tips to Get Better Reviews and Build a 5-Star Reputation
Now that you know why reviews are so valuable to your small business, let’s discuss some tips that you can use to get better reviews and build up a 5-star reputation for your business.
Ask for Reviews
The first tip is to ask for reviews. While this may seem obvious, many times small business owners don’t want to put pressure on their customers or seem overbearing by asking for reviews. However, the best way to start building your online reputation is to take the leap and ask your current customers to leave a review.
Get Reviews on Multiple Sites
There is more than one place to collect reviews. You can ask for reviews on Google, Facebook, and even on your own website. You want to make sure you are covered on all sites, so no matter where a customer finds you, they can see your positive reviews.
Add a Button on Website Pages & Email Signatures
A button or link to get reviews is another way to passively request feedback. Having a “Leave a Review” button on your website or including it in your email signature is a great way to make sure that someone knows exactly how to go about posting a review for your small business.
Respond to All Reviews
Another valuable tip is to respond to all of your reviews, both positive and negative. When you respond to a review, it shows potential customers that you care about their opinion and respect their feedback. It also allows you to do damage control with any negative reviews you have, so long as it is handled professionally.
Focus on Detailed Reviews
The more detail in a review, the better it is. When you have detailed reviews that explain what makes you great, it gives more information than just a star rating. Asking customers to give their comments can help you get more detailed reviews that add to the legitimacy of your small business.
Handle Negative Reviews Correctly
Negative reviews are a pain. However, customers have a right to express their displeasure. Rather than trying to ignore them or delete them, respond professionally by giving an apology, adding some context without shifting blame, and offering a solution. This helps potential customers see that your small business is able to handle criticism without getting defensive.
Share Positive Reviews Everywhere
A positive review is a great marketing asset. Don’t just leave it to sit in one place. Instead, repurpose and share your high-praise from customers across your platforms, like your social media accounts, your website, and even your newsletter.
Listen to Customer Feedback
When a customer leaves a review, what they are really leaving is feedback. Rather than just saying thanks or apologizing, make sure you carefully read the review and understand what the customer is saying. Then you can adapt and make changes if needed in order to show that you take that feedback seriously.
Leave Reviews for Other Small Businesses
Another idea is to leave some positive reviews of your own. If you work with other small businesses or purchase from them, leave a review from your business thanking them and giving some praise. You never know who is looking at their reviews and finding your business through them, and they might even leave a positive review in kind.
Use a Reputation Management Tool for Support
The final tip is to use a reputation management platform for small business owners. Rather than trying to track down reviews on multiple sites, you can use a platform to track and record your reviews, send responses, and even monitor your online presence. And the best reputation management platform for small businesses is Surefire Local.
How Surefire Local Can Help You Get More 5-Star Reviews
Surefire Local is a reputation management platform for small business owners that helps you improve your star rating and get better, higher-quality reviews. It connects with all of the top review platforms, like Google Business Profile, Facebook, and Yelp, so you can see all of your online reviews in one place in a timeline format.
From there, you can write and post responses to reviews without ever leaving the Surefire Local marketing platform. This eliminates the time that is usually wasted on switching between platforms, remembering login information, and making sure you haven’t missed a review platform. It also ensures that you never miss a review that was posted, so you can respond to all of them.
Surefire Local also helps you get more reviews from customers with tools to send review requests to happy customers via text message or email marketing. You can also send reminders using those same methods to the customers who have been asked to leave a review and haven’t done so yet. Sometimes all they need is that quick reminder, and you’ll have another positive review.
Surefire Local provides tools that help you understand brand sentiment and learn more about where your online reputation currently stands. For example, the word-cloud graph tool shows you the most frequently used words from customers in all of your reviews, so you can get the general impression of what people think.
With the help of Surefire Local, you can optimize your brand presence across all review sites and on more than 80 local business directories by managing the information found about your business, the photos you have displayed, any special offers you’re running, and more.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
Surefire Local is a business intelligence platform that helps you manage all of the important online marketing activities of your small business. It also is a fraction of the cost of other online tools or agencies, allowing you to create a comprehensive marketing strategy without overpaying or being overwhelmed with complex and difficult tools.
To learn more about Surefire Local and see for yourself how it can help you improve the online reputation of your small business, get a demo today and discover the support that Surefire Local offers you.