In today’s consumer-driven world, your small business can ill-afford to neglect your online reputation. Your brand image is a critical element of your overall digital footprint as more and more people rely on the internet to make purchasing decisions. While managing your reputation can feel overwhelming at times, it’s best to take a proactive approach, so that way you’re more in control of your brand image and not your customers.
The importance of establishing a presence on top reviews sites
Research studies have shown that more than 80 percent of consumers read online reviews before deciding to buy a product or service. Recent reports also revealed that price is not as major a factor as it once was, as long as they trust the brand and believe they’re getting the best possible experience.
Many people looking for service providers, such as veterinarians, lawyers, home remodeling contracts, and dentists, often rely on reviews for discovery. They orient themselves with the wide-ranging options available, customer satisfaction levels, and local businesses’ relative market presence. The discovery phase is an integral part of the consumer’s journey.
Service providers with detailed and accurate information about specific services attract potential customers’ interest in the discovery phase. Likewise, businesses can capture the attention of prospects if the brand has many positive reviews. The presence of customer reviews acts as social proof.
Tech-savvy buyers rely on objective resources to make an informed purchasing decision. For this reason, ensure that your business appears on top review sites for local businesses, such as Google and Yelp. Maintaining your company’s profile on these platforms boosts visibility and helps you stand out from other service providers in your sector.
During the buyer’s journey, consumers typically narrow down the local businesses’ list in the evaluation phase. The shortlisted service providers are more likely to stand out if they have a larger number of detailed, positive reviews, including recent feedback from satisfied customers.n
Most consumers trust the feedback posted by other customers on top review sites for local businesses. Hence, an individual is more likely to check reviews before choosing the right company for various services, including health and wellness outlets, legal services, contractors, pet services, and other professional services.
A satisfied customer is undoubtedly a brand’s most impactful ambassador. Hence, the need to encourage satisfied customers to share their feedback. Favorable feedback increases customer confidence and boosts brand visibility. As a result, brands find it easier to stand out from the crowd and drive sales without spending a lot of money on marketing or advertising campaigns.
Top review sites
Here are the leading customer review websites that can make a difference for any local business looking to build their reputation.
Google (Google My Business)
Google provides advanced features that help your businesses maximize visibility. In turn, potential customers gain access to valuable information about your services. Customer reviews appear next to your company’s listing on search engine results pages (SERPs) and Google Maps. The platform provides a convenient way to request customers to post reviews about your services. You can invite customers via a short URL.
Google My Business is a vital component of the platform’s offering to local businesses. This tool enables you to create a company profile that shows your website address, operating hours, street address, and contact details. You can claim the listing by verifying ownership, allowing you to edit the listing to ensure the details are up to date.
Bing is another major platform that helps businesses boost visibility. It offers Bing Places for Business, which shares similarities with the more mature Google My Business. Many companies neglect to create profiles on the platform while focusing on platforms like Google. Yet, Bing Places is a significant SEO ranking factor on the Microsoft-owned Bing search engine.
The platform allows you to list your company’s key information, including opening hours, contact details, physical address, and business website. Your listing appears on Bing Maps and search results, which boosts your online presence.
When it comes to top review sites for local businesses, Yelp is undoubtedly a one-stop platform with extensive local business information. The platform also hosts many photos and customer reviews. Users access this site via desktop and mobile devices, enabling consumers to research service providers and post reviews while on the go.
Yelp listings allow users to search for local service providers by business type, location, and other vital aspects. By establishing a presence on the platform, you ensure that local people looking for your services can discover your business.
This review site has a strong social aspect. It allows users to rate services and post photos of their experience. For instance, individuals can post images of a home remodeling project or dental procedure.
Facebook reviews can help boost sales by showcasing the quality of your services. The platform hosts an estimated 19 percent of all customer reviews posted online.
Many people use their personal Facebook accounts to research businesses and post reviews about service providers. To leverage the platform’s potential to drive sales, you need to create a business page.
You can create pages for multiple business locations, depending on your company’s needs. The best part is that the Facebook Business Manager feature provides a convenient way to configure several business pages. On the other hand, users on the platform use the Facebook Recommendations feature to endorse your company or not. This feature replaced the traditional reviews and rating system.
Additional review sites
Some additional review sites worth mentioning include Houzz, Nextdoor, Houzz, Angie’s List, Porch, and Thumbtack. Houzz focuses on home services like painting, construction, and landscaping. It features customer reviews and allows service providers to manage business listings. The platform does not allow users to post reviews anonymously, which is beneficial to businesses.
5 ways to manage your online reputation more effectively
Adopting a proactive approach is a surefire way to maximize control of your company’s online image. To manage your business’ reputation correctly, you need to follow basic guidelines.
1. Establish a presence on the right sites — claim your business
Failing to claim your business profile on top review sites for local businesses can cost you money. Claiming your profile is one way to ensure that potential customers can access up-to-date information about your business.
Additionally, you can respond to both positive and negative feedback posted by customers. Doing so gives you control of the information posted online. Responding to reviews courteously boosts customer confidence.
Maintaining consistency on top sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook paints a positive picture to prospects. Google gathers reviews from various platforms and curates them into its knowledge panel. Consumers gain access to an overview of your company’s reputation via Google search results.
2. Maintain a steady overall star rating
Many consumers gauge a service provider’s reliability and workmanship by looking at the overall star rating. Having a low star rating can undermine your company’s ability to generate sales. Potential customers are unlikely to include your business in their shortlist when researching local businesses. For this reason, strive to maintain a steady star rating over time.
Fluctuations in your rating paints a negative picture, which costs you valuable sales. Prospects may opt to visit your competitors’ websites and inquire about specific services. Your average star rating could appear on Google’s knowledge panel. Internet users may detect the fluctuations via the panel. To attract positive ratings, improve the quality of your service, and make customers feel valued.
3. Generate a consistent stream of reviews
Older reviews may not help convince prospects to hire your firm. Thus, aim to generate a constant stream of positive reviews every month. Recent reviews are more valuable in terms of driving sales because consumers find them trustworthy and dependable. To attract reviews regularly, encourage customers to post feedback on platforms like Bing, Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
4. High frequency of reviews
Businesses that attract a high frequency of positive customer reviews spawn a favorable perception from consumers. Internet users will consider the business trustworthy and popular. A combination of high frequency and a steady star rating can have an impact on sales. Likewise, search engines use these metrics to determine ranking in local search.
5. Leverage advanced tools to manage lead generation
To streamline your reputation management, lead generation, sales funnels, website traffic analytics, and social posts, take advantage of an all-in-one solution. With the right tool, you can boost your firm’s growth potential. You eliminate the need to analyze and track critical information manually. Instead, you take advantage of an automated process capable of managing digital assets and marketing activities.
Request a demo of the Surefire Local Marketing Platform
The Surefire Local Marketing Platform is the ideal solution for handling local marketing activities. It comes with custom features to help you supercharge your marketing campaigns. The tool is perfect for small to midsize businesses looking to improve online reputation and bolster lead generation. With Surefire Local, you take advantage of advanced, scalable features without breaking the bank.
Its key features include email marketing, live chat, search engine optimization, lead management, and online reputation management (ORM). With these features, it becomes easier to optimize Google rankings and launch geotargeted online ads.
On the other hand, reputation management features provide a convenient way to respond to customer feedback and highlight positive reviews. The live chat feature enhances communication and customer engagement.
To discover the power of the Surefire Local Marketing Platform, request a demo today.