Reputation Monitoring: How to Assess Local Online Reviews 

Online reviews are increasingly important in digital marketers’ search engine optimization (SEO) marketing efforts. Reviews signal consumers’ sentiment and influence the search engine rankings that can make or break a business. Anyone serious about eCommerce and developing a winning online sales strategy should account for reviews as part of their game plan for success. The big question is, how do you improve your online reviews or even get people to leave reviews that lead to more sales in the first place? 

Assess your current reviews 

The first step is to see where you are right now. Google, Yelp, and Facebook are just a few of the largest platforms that collect and showcase customer reviews. Be sure to review customer feedback across platforms closely and highlight your standing on other review sites that are active in your industry (including TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Urbanspoon, etc.). 

Try plugging your business name into each review site and see what pops up. Do the same for your competitors and see how you stack up in comparison. Searching generic names for your product or service and seeing if you appear anywhere in the results is also beneficial. Some types of businesses tend to have a larger presence on one of the major platforms than others, so take note of that, too. You’ll want to place the highest priority on the platform with the most reviews for your business’ industry. 

When creating a plan to boost your reviews, recognize that reviews may move the needle on search results but may not be persuasive in turning web visits into sales. Consumers more readily consume online reviews today but still use a mix of online and word-of-mouth information to make buying decisions. An online review is only one part of that decision-making process — blogs, salespeople, magazines, and what Mom thinks can all play a role. 

Pssst! Locl makes it easy to keep tabs on reviews across all your client’s and their locations with notifications, quick replies, and sentiment. 

Encourage positive reviews 

One way to energize positive reviews is to push higher-priced items for reviews. These items will be harder to sell, and customers will require more endorsement from others when making purchasing decisions for them. 

Another way to gain positive reviews is to provide samples of new or popular products. Samples can also generate repeat business if customers love the product. By using email marketing, you can include review requests in your strategy. You can thank your customers for the product or service they have used and ask them to leave you a review. 

Turn negative experiences/reviews into positive ones 

Surprisingly, one vital way to attract good reviews is to ensure your customers know you’re willing to hear complaints and receive feedback. Make sure you have a simplified method for dissatisfied consumers to gain a fair shake from your company (or at least a sympathetic ear).  

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you make an effort to satisfy dissatisfied customers, they can turn out to be some of your best and most loyal — as well as the most likely to write a positive review later on down the line. Negative reviews are almost inevitable, but there are ways to mitigate them and make them work to your advantage. The best way to deal with a negative review is to respond promptly, with a positive tone and a desire to resolve the issue. Your timely and helpful response shows your audience that you’re trying your best to provide solutions that build trust.  

Change your perspective 

No ethical, dedicated business owner should dread user reviews. If anything, complaints and feedback from customers can be viewed as company assets – red-flagging problems that need to be addressed before further customers encounter them. We know all too well and can’t thank our clients enough for the feedback they’ve given us over the years, Locl just wouldn’t be the same without it! Developing a positive take on negative reviews will allow your clients to make the most of their opportunity to shine on a public stage, building a community reputation of trust and excellent customer service. 

Locl equips 1000s of multi-location businesses in marketing agencies to win the trust of consumers with online location profiles that are accurate, consistent, and compelling. Talk to Sales!