As you grow your small business, spreading the word about your brand is an effective way to draw in new customers. All it takes are a couple of successful marketing campaigns to educate locals on your products and what you can do for them. Once you've established a name for yourself in the local area, the next step is building a good reputation for your company. This is important for drawing in new customers who want to ensure your business is high-quality before choosing it over competitors.
The best way to do this is to encourage people to leave reviews about your company on your local listings. A recent study by Marketing Land found 90 percent of consumers agree that good online reviews positively influence their purchasing decisions, while 86 percent said bad reviews discourage them from buying from a company. How do you convince your customers to go online and leave good feedback about your business? Here are a few tips for increasing the number of positive reviews you get on your local business listings.
1. Create a survey
Growing a small business often involves trying a number of new things, like marketing strategies and mobile apps. How can you tell which tactics are working and which should be kicked to the curb? Having customers fill out surveys is a fast and easy way to collect invaluable insight to improve your company. You can identify certain trends in responses and get a better understanding of how your customers view your brand.
Surveys can also help generate positive reviews. Whether you provide online or paper surveys, once you have a good number completed, you can sort through them and ask people who wrote promising feedback to leave a review on one of your local listings. You can do this by leaving a space for their email address on the survey, or thank them in person in your store and ask them face-to-face, if possible. If your survey is online, leave a link to it on your website, providing easy access for visitors.
2. Make links to surveys accessible
Including links on product receipts, discount vouchers, emails and anything else you provide customers with on a regular basis is an extremely effective way to get the word out about your survey. However, people may not notice the link, so remind your staff to point it out when interacting with customers. Some businesses even offer small rewards to consumers who take their survey, like 10 percent off a certain product or entry in a raffle. These small rewards can make a major difference in how inclined customers are to take your survey or leave a review.
3. Create profiles on review sites
People are becoming accustomed to checking the local listings they know best, such as Yelp and Yahoo Local. It's essential that you create a list of all the popular review sites that your target audience might use, and set up a company profile on each one. Forbes suggests preparing profiles on Angie's List, LinkedIn, CitySearch and TripAdvisor, if applicable. If your business doesn't provide the type of service that's generally reviewed on these sites, TrustLink and Trustpilot are highly-rated general review sites.
4. Leverage social media
After you try the survey approach and receive a few positive reviews from that strategy, keep an eye on social media. Scroll through your Facebook and Twitter pages to see what people are saying about your business. When you spot new feedback, respond to the post or comment. Show your appreciation with a quick thank you and, if the feedback is positive, ask if they would mind copying and pasting their message on a review site or writing a new one. Brand marketing specialist Carol Moore points out that if customers make an effort to post on your social media page, it's likely that they'll be willing to leave a review somewhere else.
5. Create an incentive program for your staff
While customers have most of the control when it comes to whether or not they write a positive review for your business, don't forget that your employees also play a large role in making this happen. Customers aren't going to consider leaving positive feedback on your local listings if they don't feel your customer service or products are worthy. Your employees should always be ready to provide the best service they can, but creating an incentive program can give them that extra push they need to turn a good customer experience into a standout one.
For example, offer a $100 bonus to staff members who solicit five reviews from their customers and $300 for every 15 reviews that are written about them. Your employees are far more likely to remember to ask for feedback when they know there's an incentive.