How is your relationship — with your customers?
If you’re not sure, here’s a fun yet educational experiment. Have a close friend ask Google for “_________ service near me” and see what results come up.
If this simple exercise scares you as a business owner, chances are you already know the answer to the question above. Either way, awareness is key.
The rise of consumers using mobile devices to look up local businesses makes online review rankings sites and online trust-building more high-stakes than ever.
According to online statistics:
- “Near me” searches have grown 900 percent in recent years. (Source: Hubspot)
- 96 percent of people say that responding to reviews is important when considering a local business. (Source: BrightLocal)
And if that’s not enough, consider this: 87 percent of consumers read a business’ responses to reviews.
Here’s a breakdown:
In some ways, you could argue that online reviews have become their own type of social media channel for consumers looking for reputable local businesses.
So, I ask again: How is your relationship — with your customers?
More and more, sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are becoming a pit stop before consumers purchase new products or services.
So what do consumers want to know?
Having trust badges and testimonials on your website is nice, but consumers are more curious about what customers have to say when they pull back the curtain. Sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are where they are going to find that information.
Why Review Responses Are Critical Tools for Your Marketing
There are two kinds of review site listings.
First, there are the sparse ones that look more like a ghost town; you know the ones I’m talking about! They have a small sampling of reviews, a few ratings, and no responses from the business.
It reads like a monologue.
Just take a look at the number of likes on that one-star review, and yet there is no response. It’s the perfect example of what can happen when you don’t see the value of responding to reviews.
Then there are business pages that look altogether different. These businesses understand the value of an optimized listing. They have tons of reviews, tons of ratings, and a bunch of love!
Do you want to know another thing they have? Personalized responses from the business owner.
Business pages and reviews should read more like a dialogue on a social media platform.
Within successful listings are hundreds if not thousands of happy customers sharing their experience with the brand, followed by the brand’s tailored response for their review.
Another thing you’ll see with top-notch listings is:
- A well-thought-out brand persona that clearly outlines how to respond to customers in a consistent voice.
- The branding looks identical across multiple platforms and locations.
- They foster a true sense of community by opening up a dialogue and encouraging word-of-mouth referrals.
To see that one location from a franchisee on the west coast is nearly identical to another one on the east coast proves that intelligent brands understand that consistency across their listing pages on multiple platforms and locations is vital.
Here is an example of how one brand is making their Google My Business page look more like the news feed you’d see on Facebook!
When you go to their listing, the first thing you’ll notice is their stellar rating. The next thing you’ll notice is reviews and responses just like this one. Compare this to an average listing, and you can see the difference.
And they don’t just take the time to respond to positive reviews. They also take the same amount of time, if not more, for negative reviews.
Innovative brands know that customers value responses when things go right, but superior brands understand it’s crucial to make it right when things go wrong.
You’ll notice brand messaging in both of these responses:
- “We hope you enjoy many swat-free evenings…”
- “We would be happy to try to work something out in order to ditch the itch!”
It gives you a sense of their playful persona.
This branding helps customers see that they are customer-centric and customer-focused, and it comes across in every review.
That one habit distinguishes them from their competitors in the marketplace.
Three Ways You Can Make Your Listings Look Like Your Social Media Feed
So how can you spruce up your listings to make them read like motivational brand material that speaks for your company again and again? Follow the rule of three!
1. Take time to create a brand voice and persona.
If you had to sum up your brand in one avatar, what would it look like?
In other words, what is your brand persona?
In 2006, Apple did an excellent job explaining its brand persona and personality in a clever way with their Mac vs. PC commercial.
It’s seemingly impossible to walk away from that 30-second exchange without truly understanding Mac’s brand persona and target audience.
Using the simple words, “I’m a Mac,” customers could quickly identify themselves as a representation of the brand.
How are you reaching your target audience through your messaging?
Your brand persona is your brand’s voice, personality, missions, and goals. It’s how your customers define you. Therefore it’s important to be clear on what your brand has to say before writing review responses.
One of the main reasons why a defined brand persona is essential is that your review responses help strengthen the bond between your business and the customers and employees they serve.
As much as a brand persona defines what you would say, it’s equally important in defining what you wouldn’t say — something to consider.
One way to start is by thinking about a phrase that your customers can identify with as a consumer.
Great brands have great taglines. Their slogans last and are memorable.
Here are a few:
- Nike — Just do it.
- Apple — Think different.
- L’Oreal — Because you’re worth it.
- Pepsi — The taste of a new generation.
More and more, intelligent brands realize that great messaging can also play a role in their organic review generation and rankings with smart, simple review responses that tie into their brand’s voice.
Creating a brand persona and a few memorable taglines for your review responses can go a long way towards building your brand online to help you knock out the competition.
2. Your reputation precedes you!
Where is the first place people check your reputation?
I’ll tell you. It’s Google!
According to Oberlo, 93 percent of customers read reviews before buying a product or service.
Think about that! That’s nine out of ten people!
If you’re lucky, you may have the one customer who trusts your business just because they’ve heard your name. Meanwhile, your nine other friends are peeping the competition online!
Can you afford to lose nine out of every ten customers?
Intelligent review generation techniques are an important aspect of making your business listings look more like a news feed from your favorite social media site.
WebPunch can help you with that!
3. Get social with your customers.
Review sites are a customer’s best friend. Seriously!
Once you’ve established a brand persona with a set of intelligent taglines and phrases and taken the steps toward generating reviews, it’s time to make your review page look like a dialogue!
Take the time to make your review responses:
- Fun to read and engaging
By creating well-crafted, tailored responses specific to your brand, you’ll build a list of leads organically through reviews sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook, among others.
In fact, according to online reports, online reviews appear in the top 5 for ranking factors when it comes to local ranking factors for the Local Google 3-Pack.
That means, if you take good care of your listing, it will take good care of you — boosting not only your organic reach but also your organic growth as a local company.
Of course, this is a time-consuming process that many business owners don’t have.
That’s where WebPunch comes in!
Automate Your Business Listing for a Competitive Advantage!
Who has the time to keep your business listings looking like a social media feed? We do!
WebPunch works with your business to turn your business listings into a review-generating machine — all on autopilot!
We’ll help you build a list of reviews from former and current customers that transforms your business page from bland and boring to educational and engaging.
We are your one-two combo for review generation and review responses that will completely energize your business on an organic level. We help make your business a trusted partner for products or services in your community without the hassle of doing it yourself.
We’re in your corner and ready to take your brand experience to the next level. Together, we’ll help you find the online swagger of a heavyweight champ.