You’ve built up a great business, your reputation in the local community is solid, and those who know you love to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.
So, you feel you’ve totally NAILED IT when it comes to your company.
But what does your online presence say about you?
If the answer is ‘not much’ you are missing out on a wealth of opportunity. 97% of consumers research online before buying locally, and that includes service-based businesses.
So if someone searches for you, or the services you provide on the internet, it’s important that (a) they can find you and (b) they like what they see.
It’s vital to ensure that the goodwill you have in the community is translated into great online reviews. If your digital presence is weighed down by bad reviews on Google, Social Media or review sites, or don’t have any online feedback at all, the chances are that online searchers will move onto one of your competitors, losing you business.
While the world of Google rankings, directory listings, and links may seem daunting, it’s crucial that you at least understand what your web presence looks like, and if there are issues, how to deal with them.
Why Online Testimonials Matter
We are living in a digital age where we are given such a wide range of choice when it comes to our purchase decisions, that it’s almost unthought of that you might make a purchase, choose a contractor, or choose service without checking online reviews first. In fact, online reviews impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of consumers.
Let’s be honest, brands have let us down over the past few years, so your Average Joe no longer relies on what a company’s advertising and branding says – but they DO trust their peers.
That’s why online testimonials, from reputable sources, are vital to your success.
Online reviews are also one of the many factors used by Google and other search engines to decide how to rank your website in search results.
According to Moz’s local search ranking factors report review signals make up around 6.5% of local organic ranking factors and take into account the number of reviews you have, the diversity of those reviews (so from different review sites), and of course the quality of those reviews.
For business owners, the issue with online reviews is that there are just so many sites that may potentially have reviews, so keeping track of them can be time-consuming.
Our reputation checker allows you to keep track of all your reviews across the web in one – just one, single dashboard (Send us a message of Facebook or send us an email if you’d like a free demo).
Pro Tip: Respond to ALL reviews.
Most businesses owners are completely neglecting “RESPONSE FROM OWNER”. By responding to client reviews, it does two things:
- It sends another social signal to the search engines, which impacts your ranking (yes a business that responds to reviews gains more trust in Google’s eyes).
- If you were to leave a business with a review, took the time out of your day, to thank the business for taking your money that day for their specific good or service, and then they didn’t thank you for the time and feedback you offered, how would you feel?What message are you sending to your clients by ignoring their reviews?By responding to reviews, it creates more goodwill between you and the customer/client, increasing retention.
Reviews: The Secret Sauce to Boosting Your Online Word of Mouth
On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being most critical, how valuable are family and friend word of mouth referrals to you?
Digital Marketer did a study that found 87% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as if that review came from a family member or friend.
Savvy business owners never want to be at a disadvantage to the competitors in their industry, so I imagine you wouldn’t want to be behind on a trend that the big boys like Amazon.com already know.
REVIEWS SET BUSINESSES APART FROM THEIR COMPETITION!
If you Leverage your reviews and stand out from competitors, you will attract more customers and become the leader in your market!
Let’s walk through this a bit.
What happens if you and all of your competitors have little to no reviews?
What happens if you all have between 4-5 Stars and 5-9 reviews, then suddenly one competitor within 6 months goes to a 4.9 Rating with 576 reviews.
Are consumers more likely to choose a competitor with 576 reviews or 9 reviews?
The data overwhelmingly proves the market chooses the business with the greatest social proof, so get ahead of your competitors and do not settle for mediocrity.
How Does Getting to the Top of Google Impact Your Bottom Line?
For your local business to thrive, it’s important that when someone searches for a key term relating to your products or services that you are easy to find online.
If you are wallowing on page 10 of the search results for a keyword related to your business, it’s highly unlikely that searchers will find you.
In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of clicks to websites are made on the first page of Google, dropping down steeply to just 6% on page two, so it’s important to work towards making sure that your web pages show up for relevant search terms on that very first page.
But how does this affect your bottom line?
The answers are – this is a numbers game, so let’s take an example.
Say your business offers office cleaning services in a specific location – let’s say you cover Milwaukee. So one search term that could be relevant to your business would be ‘Cleaning Service Milwaukee’. Taking a look at Google forecasts – this keyword has around 210 searches every month in the USA.
While figures vary, it’s estimated that the first result on Google achieves around 33.3% of the clicks – so on that basis, being the number one result should net you around 70 clicks.
Of course, you then do need to ensure that those who click on your website convert to sales, which I discuss in further detail in my video (while it’s about clicks from ads – the advice is the same!)
But let’s say you convert 5% of those who visit your site – by being at the top of Google search results, you could expect to get 3 additional customers each and every month, just for this ONE keyword! Now imagine that you’re at the top of search results for 10 keywords with high search volumes, that’s a lot of new business.
The fact is that when it comes to your reputation – the first page of Google is the digital equivalent of having your business in a prime location for your ideal customers.
Online Listings (Your Reputation with Google and other search engines)
So talking about being on the first page of Google is all well and good – but how do you actually get there!
While to cover every aspect of this would take a long, long time, one way to boost your online ‘real estate’ and also to increase your ranking is to ensure that you have a wide variety of good quality directory listings.
Good quality is the key here – Google likes pages that have links from other, reputable pages. It doesn’t like links from pages that look spammy or low quality.
For local search, consistent information across quality online listings helps to increase the visibility of your Google page, so it’s vital that you make sure all of your information on directory listings is up to date.
You can maintain and monitor all your listings manually or you can purchase software that manages it automatically for you (we offer one that is customized for local businesses).
It’s also a great way to increase referrals too! If you are listed on a trusted site, with great reviews too, you are likely to get more traffic leading to your website from that listing – which means more customers!
If you’d like to learn more about a software that can automate everything we mention above and allow you to spend more time in your business and less time worrying about your online presence, schedule a time to chat with us and we can provide you with a complimentary online audit and a demo of the software. (This is a new service we are offering so you’ll only be able to learn about it through a call or email at this point).