Why Local Reviews are Important
Let’s face it; although we have long talked about the world becoming a global village, with companies having the ability to reach out to customers without regard for national boundaries, the fact still remains that a large part of the businesses that exist out there are localized in nature. Another thing that we have long talked about on this blog is the fact that getting online reviews for your business is crucial, and can be what determines its success or failure. So, how do local businesses approach this subject and how do they get local reviews?
The Nature of Local Businesses
Local businesses are ones whose reach is confined within a given Geographical location. Good examples that immediately come to mind are restaurants, Cafés and Cinemas. Restaurants and Cafés in particular, can only serve people within a particular distance from their location. That is because not many people are going to want to walk to a Café at the other side of town.
Why are Local Reviews Important for Local Businesses?
There can be no doubting the fact that online reviews are of particular importance to the companies that we are talking about in this article. If you run a restaurant, you need to be able to make sure that as many of your regular customers as is possible give you positive feedback.
Reputation is important in this regard and your ability to attract and retain new customers depends on it. The thing that you need to take note of here is the fact that online reviews are a manifestation of the Word-of-Mouth phenomenon that, according to experts, drives 13% of the sales that are made out there.
What Google Says about Local Reviews
Google is always on the hunt for the best experience for its users. Part of this effort involves displaying business and product ratings in Google Shipping and in Google Product Listing Ads. The company uses a five star system to reflect the quality of the experience that customers have had with a particular company. We have previously written several articles in which we explain the process of getting Star Ratings in Google AdWords and in Google Shopping.
How to get Local Reviews
The following are some of the ways through which you can collect local reviews for your business;
- Use Shopper Approved
So, how do you get local reviews for your business? At Planet Marketing, we recommend that our readers use Shopper Approved, one of the companies that have been approved by Google to Syndicate Merchant, Product and Local Reviews into Google PLAs and in Google Shopping.
How Does Shopper Approved Collect Local Reviews
The really great thing about Shopper Approved is that it allows you to gather reviews from your customers within your business’ premises. Let’s say you are a restaurant owner, as an example. Shopper Approved gives you the ability to collect reviews from a wide range of sources, including the following;
- Print Media
- QR Codes
- Phone Surveys
Automatic Syndication of Local Reviews
Once you have gathered and uploaded your reviews, Shopper Approved then automatically syndicates them to a number of online locations, where your business can have the maximum exposure to your local clientele. These places include;
Shopper Approved allows you Resolve Issues before Reviews are Posted Online
Lets face it, no matter how much you try, you are never going to be able to satisfy all your customers. Look at any company that’s out there, and you will discover that they have one or two negative reviews.
The thing about online reviews is that they don’t all tend to be positive. While we have noted that positive reviews can boost your business’ bottom line , negative reviews, if not handled correctly, have the potential to drag you down.
Negative reviews can be particularly damaging for local businesses. What you do not want to do is acquire a reputation for being unreliable and incompetent. The nature of your business means that word can travel fast, causing you to lose out on potential business.
Shopper Approved allows you to resolve whatever the issue is that has been raised by your customer before reviews are posted online. This is great, not only for the customer, but also for your image. You get to turn a potentially negative bit of feedback into a positive, while the customer gets their concerns are resolve. Shopper Approved gives you 30 days, during which you can reach out to the dissatisfied customer in order to find resolution.
Visibility on Mobile Devices
One of the things that you will want to know is that 80% of all the searches for local businesses that are made from mobile devices turn into sales. This is a strong motivation for you to increase your business’s local visibility. Shopper Approved Local and Local Plus allows you to be found whenever your customers look for you using their smart phones.
Ask your Customers to Leave Reviews
The easiest way for businesses to gather local reviews is by asking their customers to leave them on site such as Shopper Approved, Yelp and Google My Business. What this means, in reality, is that you should have a listing on these platforms in order to maximize on local visibility.
- Google My Business
Google My Business represents another great way through which you can get local reviews for your business. The really great thing is that a listing on the platform puts you on Google Maps. What this means is that, if you are a restaurant, you will begin to appear on Google Maps whenever people search for restaurants near you. You can follow the steps that are in this article to get your business listed on Google My Business.
Yelp is one of the best known online review companies that can be found out there. A listing on the platform is, therefore, a must for those who are looking to gather local reviews. Chances a high that, whatever your business, your customers already have a presence on the platform.
A listing on the Yelp gives your potential customers the ability to find you. Not only that, but it also gives them useful insights into the kinds of interaction that they can expect when they visit your place, based on what other customers have been saying about you. All that you need to do in order to start collecting local reviews using Yelp is claim your business’ page.
- BBB Reviews
When people talk about the importance of online reviews, they mostly look at the benefits that accrue for businesses, and neglect to mention that the customer actually stands to benefit the most. Not only do reviews keep businesses on their toes, as far as customer service is concerned, but they also offer a glimpse into the kind of service that a customer can expect from a particular business.
A listing for a business on Better Business Bureaus, as an example, goes a long way in bridging the trust divide that exists between businesses and their customers. BBB comes with a number of benefits and should be another target for local businesses that wish to increase their visibility;
- It sets standards for businesses
- Encourages best practices
- Calls out substandard behavior
- Creates a community of trusted businesses.
Many more listing
Today, there is no end to the ways through which local businesses can benefit from local reviews. The important thing to remember, however, is that local reviews are not just there to act as beacons for customers. They are actually an obligation for your business to give the best in terms of performance.