Restaurants, dry cleaners, apartment management companies,
mechanics, doctors, day spas, limousine services, law firms, and other brick (click) and mortar businesses lose and gain customers daily based on based on their past and current customers' opinions. Bad service news travels faster than good service, the old adage goes. Welcome to the new word-of-mouth (mouse). When you're looking for someone to do business with, and recommendations from your friends and family aren't readily available, where else can people turn, but online? Customer reviews can reward one business and completely destroy another. Learn the highest leverage ones for your business.
There are 1000s of local business review sites and directories, but as a business owner, you should first pay attention to the truly important ones already showing up in Google, Yahoo!, and MSN for your keywords. You can list your business on the sites above and past and current customers can review for free, although some have paid versions in order to "expand your page" (MerchantCircle and CitySearch), it's not always necessary because they will take reviews all day (more content for them).
Believe it or not, you and your competitors are being reviewed by past and current customers on these sites everyday. The credibility and authenticity you'll never be able to achieve from your website alone with no amount of testimonials on your site. If you haven't received any reviews on these sites,that says something as well. It's important to give customers the opportunity to rate your company,
as scary as that might sound. But wait!
Three Important Local Business Review Marketing Tips
1). Never fake reviews or testimonies, it's not worth the consequences (possible banning).
2). Ask happy customers to review right after he/she has bought, and keep reminding.
3). Don't freak out if there are some less than 100% positive reviews.
To address the last one, potential customers expect a balance with everything veering on the side of positive and not for your business to be perfect. If there are any negative reviews follow up with that person by contacting him/her and try to make their after experience a good one. Consumer studies and surveys have proven customers are more satisfied with a company in which there was a small issue and the issue was resolved, compared to if there was never one in the first place. After you have addressed his or her concern, ask them to make an addition to their review.
Get a Promotion & Dominate the Listings
Many of these sites promote your listing higher on each localized, business specific type landing page based on several factors: business details (description, pictures, even videos and other content) and customer reviews.The second is the most critical factor in getting your listing above others. The search engines want content, the more content you provide within their limits, the more they are encouraged to reward you with a higher listing. Google Maps even allows business owners to upload YouTube videos.
To reiterate, just creating a business listing on each is not enough not matter how much content you add. You should ask past customers to rate your services on these sites point blank and the best time to ask is right
after they have spent money with you. Psychologically, everyone needs to self-reinforce in order to avoid buyer's remorse. By asking them for a review it benefits them, because it secures their buying decision in their
own mind and helps your business tremendously.