45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
Here at ReviewTrackers, we are often approached with questions aimed at finding the best and most effective methods for business organizations to maximize time and resource allocation, as these relate to reputation management.
At its very core, the question is always the same. Am I better off focusing on Yelp or on industry-specific sites like, say, HomeAdvisor? The reality is that we don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, but based on years of experience in a consultative role, we feel like the best piece of advice we can give any business, regardless of their area of focus, is to first find balance through diversification. Everything else will fall into place, allowing your business to better understand the true potential of each site or directory for its specific market and segment.
Start with Research
In order to do what is best for your business, you need to embrace the fact that you are unique, your market is unique, and you alone are equipped to make the best decisions for your business. If you are new to review and reputation management, then set time aside to study which review sites are direct business generators for your segment and market, as well as which sites have the best SEO advantage when a potential customer is looking for services in your category.
You would do well to conduct basic searches such as “best carpet cleaning professionals [insert your city]” or “reviews for carpet cleaning companies [insert your city].” This simple move will give you insights and perspective as to where to allocate your time and resources in the initial stages of managing your online reputation.
Divide and Conquer
It is quite easy to get discouraged by the sheer number of review sites and directories where you could possibly be listed. Before you give up, we want to highlight a few things that will make the process of taking over your profiles and managing your online reputation a little less cumbersome.
Do It in Stages: If you have identified which review sites are the most popular in your city and market, then you can get started with those, and allocate time each week to tackle a secondary site or directory.
Take Advantage of Syndicators: When it comes to amplifying your reach, review sites that syndicate are your best allies. You will find that in many instances once you update your profile on some of the lead review sites like Insider Pages or Citysearch, the information you input will populate other smaller and more laser-focused, local directories, giving you double the value for half the effort.
Be Consistent in Your Messaging: If you want to be able to compare apples to apples, it is essential that you are consistent in your messaging across the board. This is helpful to track performance and useful as a means of maximizing every contact with a potential customer for your business.
As you take over your profiles, make sure each one has the same quality, content, and images. Ensure that basic information such as address, hours of operation, and menus are up to date on every third-party review site. Just because a review site generates a lesser percentage of your overall leads, it does not mean that those leads (customers) deserve a lesser quality experience. It might just be that the very customer that found you via a less popular site will become one of your most loyal advocates.
(Check out: “5 Awesome Tips for Improving Customer Engagement”)
Add Effort and Investment Where It Makes Sense for You
As we mentioned in the beginning, there is no such thing as best for this segment or best for the other. You have the power in your hands to funnel time and funds to the review sites that make the most sense for your business, once you have done due diligence and identified the top players for your type of business.
Don’t Neglect New Entrants and Small Players
Run with the big dogs, but don’t forget that little puppies do grow. Early adopters often benefit from incremental business and from seniority in capturing reviews in new entrants to the review site and directory marketplace.
A few minutes of your time creating your profile may have a significant long-term impact in your lead acquisition. Even if the site never becomes a big player, it still helps when it comes to diversification and provision of multiple channels by which potential customers can find you and connect with your business. Nowadays, many businesses regret not having started their engagement with social sites like Twitter and Facebook early on, when there were few competitors for the attention of potential customers. Stay in the know, and be ready to jump on board when new sites provide your business with an additional place to promote your business at no cost to you.
Test and Track Review Sites’ Free and Paid Marketing Tools
One of the greatest advantages of hands-on reputation management is having the ability to try and measure performance across review sites. If you are fortunate enough to have marketing dollars to invest in paid campaigns, then you should consider testing several avenues until you identify the review sites that give you the most bang for your buck. Measuring campaign ROI will empower you to perfect your strategy and make smarter budgetary allocations as your business grows. Similarly, don’t be shy about trying free features, staying with those that work and abandoning the ones that don’t.
You should not expect to be on top of every review site overnight, but you should strive to diversify your exposure and penetration more and more each day. By expanding your presence across a variety of general and segment-specific review sites, you will improve your offsite SEO and gain incremental exposure. At ReviewTrackers we empower businesses to take control of their reviews by giving them functional tools that allow them to leverage their online reputation and convert engagement into a tool for capturing incremental business.