As the world becomes increasingly more digital, managing online reviews as a small/medium business can be tough but rewarding. Reviews can be volatile, usually very good or very bad with not much in between. We at MileMark Media designed this quick guide to give our insight on the review process.
Your company’s online local presence depends on many factors, one of them is how much time you put into the major business directories. Those directories will vary by opinion but some of the major online services your firm should be listed on include Google My Business, Bing Maps, Yelp, Apple Maps and Facebook. There are other sites out there and this list will evolve over time, but for the sake of this guide we are going to focus on Google My Business, the most used GPS/local search engine.
Getting Good Reviews
The way technology and marketing are trending, reviews are becoming one of the most important factors for a business. Getting good reviews is obviously the goal, but how do you do that consistently? Usually that is a combination of offering a good product, good customer service, asking for reviews, and following up with clients and reviews. It is ideal to build into your business model a way to get reviews regularly. That can involve emailing, texting or calling past or current clients. If this is too tedious and/or you have a large list of potential clients, look into a semi-automated review service that can email your entire list on a custom set schedule. Make sure you offer a clear way to review your business, for Google My Business that is the Review button on your profile. Once you get a good review don’t stop there. Respond to your positive reviews with thanks and encouraging words, this shows your business is active and may promote further good reviews.
Getting Bad Reviews
With the current growth of reviews and consumers trusting them more, there will also come the negative. Negative reviews are something no business can avoid. Google My Business will let anyone with a Google account leave a review, whether they have been to the location or not. Their spam fighting team and algorithm are designed to remove erroneous reviews, but it does not always work. When you receive a bad review, we encourage investigating the review. See who it came from, why it might have been left, and what you can do to respond. Some of the time it will be a legitimate bad review from a legitimate client. Other times it will be complete spam and not related to your business. The last unfortunately common situation is a malicious review attack, usually from a competing business. After finding out more about the negative review, respond to the review appropriately. If it is spam or malicious, you should flag the review with Google’s button and contact support immediately.
Getting No Reviews
Getting no reviews or slow trickling reviews is very common. Some of the better businesses out there are not getting the amount of reviews they deserve. When you find your business not getting many reviews you must change the process. Try contacting more of your clients, especially those with a positive resolution, try different forms of contact. Give them one easy way to review your business, in this case a link to your Google My Business profile which leads right to the Review button. For some clients they may need an instruction sheet on exactly how to leave the review or how to log in to Google. Figure out a way to increase or improve the current review flow for your business.
Whatever you do, don’t spam. Don’t try to game Google My Business by setting up different accounts, leaving multiple reviews from your office, home, or single location, having obvious fake reviewers or non-clients leaving reviews, or any other similar method. Google and other services will pick up on it over time, and the penalties have become harsh. It is not worth getting your entire business suspended on Google to pick up a few 5-star reviews, you can get them organically.
One Positive Review Can Be The Difference
Hopefully this quick guide helps you grab a few positive reviews for your business or offers new perspective on the process. The growing review trend in marketing is good in the end, it offers a way for consumers to get to the best products they need. It can hardly be automated or faked, which allows those businesses who put in the time to reap the benefits.