Local Reviews are Beneficial to Small Businesses

Use Local Reviews to Your Advantage

Local Reviews are Beneficial to Small BusinessesAs an avid online and mobile user, I always check out a restaurant’s website and reviews before visiting. It’s rare that I don’t check out the menu and the rating on Yelp, or visit the website. I never used to care about what others said and was a big believer in “experiencing it for myself,” but now that I have a child it has become more important for me to know what to expect in terms of service, accommodations and quality of food – even if it is from strangers. Apparently I’m not alone. According to a recent report, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is up from 79% in 2013. So now you’re probably wondering, as a local business owner, why should I care about reviews? Here are some important reasons why you should.

Reviews can help people find your business online

Reviews are an integral part of Local SEO, but they are also vital for local clickthroughs. So if you have a website, make sure to create a reviews page (e.g. domain.com/reviews) and from that page link people to the sites you’d like them to post a review on. This is one of the pages that will show up organically in local searches by potential customers. In addition, you can place that URL on a postcard or handout and give it to the customer at the end of their service or meal to serve as a reminder for when they get home. It is a good practice to train your staff to ask for reviews after servicing customers. The key to generating reviews is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave one.

Influence Customer Perception

84 percent of Americans say consumer reviews influence their purchase decisions. Reviews can be a powerful tool if monitored and used correctly. By allowing your customers to leave a review you do open your business up to scrutiny but also very positive feedback that can be used to gain credibility. Reviews also allow your customers to gain insight into who you are and the type of business you’re running (i.e. customer centric, professionalism). But if you do get a bad review, make sure to respond to it and show that you are willing to resolve any issues, whether by offering a customer a coupon for a discount on a future purchase or apologizing for any inconvenience. Bottom line, you want to show that you care about your customers and the reputation of your business.

Generate Content to Promote Your Business

Share positive reviews on social media or other promotional channels. This will showcase your work/service and help you to generate potential leads. Let the reviewer create your promotional content. This is one less piece advertising copy that you have to create! Positive reviews can also help you solidify your position as an industry leader. Also share internally to increase employee morale or to call attention to a particularly good employee. Just make sure that review you’re using is legitimate.

Iliana Angel, Marketing ManagerIliana Angel is the Marketing Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Local Business Listings.

Don't let a bad review hurt your business

The “Don’ts” of Dealing with a Bad Review

Don't let a bad review hurt your businessThere’s nothing worse than putting all your effort into something and then getting heavily criticized for it. In these situations I would put “my temper” in the top 5 easiest things to lose, right next to “my keys”, and “my left sock”. However, when it comes to your business, and your brand, that’s the last thing you want to lose. So here’s some tips for things you want to avoid doing when you receive a negative review of your business.

  • Don’t email the reviewer

    At least not immediately. Give yourself time to soak in what the reviewer is saying about your business and take it as constructive criticism. Time and time again you read stories of reviewers receiving caustic emails from angry merchants, and this never ends well for the merchant. The best response is to reply to the review directly in the public forum, let everyone that reads the review see that you’re willing to work with customers that may have had a bad experience. Spin the negative review into a positive outcome.

  • Don’t blame the reviewer

    Sure it may seem odd for the customer to order a cheese pizza without cheese. However, blaming the customer will just give you a bad reputation. Instead focus on the main issue that the reviewer is complaining about, and see what you can do to fix it. Unfortunately though, sometimes there is nothing to fix, you just made a mistake. Which leads to my next point.

  • Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong

    Probably one of the hardest things to do. We’re all human and no one expects you to be perfect, mistakes happen. Admitting when you’ve been wrong or made a mistake is an admirable trait. Be willing to admit when you, or your business has made a mistake, and be sincere about it. Offer them a free cheese-less pizza as an apology, bring the customer back into your business and do your best to make sure they’ve had a positive experience.

  • Don’t do anything

    Now this last point doesn’t apply to every review, in fact probably doesn’t apply to most reviews, but I want to mention it anyway. It’s like what your mother said to you about the bully at school “just ignore him and he’ll leave you alone”. Sometimes the reviewer could just be a troll, if your site is doing well on review sites like Yelp, then a review out of left field is posted ripe with personal attacks, it’s likely this person is a troll. The best solution is to ignore them. Most people can tell when a reviewer is being a troll and will likely do the same.

I’ve listed out four “don’ts” but hopefully the message is clear. Losing your temper, especially in a public forum, could wreak havoc on your brand. So before you start putting words to paper, make sure you’re calm, read it twice before sending, and ask yourself “Is this the kind of message I would want to receive?”

IMG_9375_600x600Michael Baaske is the Digital Product Coordinator at PowerSites® who has received a bad review or two. PowerSites® is an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.