reputation management

Reputation Management 101

[The following is the transcript of a recent webinar we did.]

Hello and welcome everybody. This is our monthly webinar on Reputation Management 101. And I’m just going to give it a couple of minutes to see if anybody else comes on.

This is training on reputation management. How to get more reviews and how to manage them.

So, let me make sure I get in here.

So first, quick introduction for me. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about me, but I am the CEO and Founder of Local Marketing Made Simple. I have been doing online marketing, marketing strategy, web design, Facebook ads, Google ads for, I’m now on my fifth year, going on my sixth-year anniversary. So I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve worked in a variety of industries from martial arts to healthcare to law, mostly in the local-based businesses trying to get more people to actually come in the door. And that’s where that leads me into reputation management and the importance of reputation management from the perspective of building your online presence, ranking higher in Google, and getting more people to call your business and to come in the door.

So what we’re going to cover is why is this important? And I’ve kind of alluded to a couple of those things.

How to get more reviews, which is usually where a lot of business owners struggle with, is understanding how and when to get more reviews. And then, of course, what to do when you get negative reviews, and statistically, you are always going to get negative reviews even if your business is wonderful. Now, the ideal situation would be that your business is wonderful. There are businesses out there who are not that great, and so they do get a lot of negative reviews. And we’ll touch base on that.

So if any time that you have any questions, do pop them into the chat or into the Q&A. The Q&A might be a little bit better. You can just hit the button from Zoom. And if it’s relevant, I can answer it right now, I will. But for sure I’ll answer it by the end of the webinar. I always try to make sure that these are around 30 minutes. I do give myself 45 minutes, but I know we’re busy, so I try to keep them on the shorter side.

So. When it comes to understanding reviews, you have to understand the customer journey. And the customer journey, I’ve done a different webinar on this. If you want to get the link to that webinar, let me know and I’ll find it for you. But it comes down to understanding the journey that we take as a consumer when it comes to making purchasing decisions with businesses. And there are technically eight steps in the journey, but I have simplified it for the purposes of simplifying it.

But essentially we go from, as a prospect ourselves, we go from becoming aware that the business exists to engaging online with the business, either through social media or through the website or to a podcast. They will then subscribe some way, form, or fashion, to your business. Now sometimes that can be… I would even argue if they subscribe to like your Facebook page that that is a subscribe step. If they join your newsletter, that’s a subscribe step. If they redeem a coupon, that’s a subscribe step.

From subscription, they will then ascend and purchase your main products and services. But there is… And what a lot of businesses don’t understand, just have a lack of education in, is that in order for someone to purchase their main business services, there’s always that subscribe stage and the awareness and engagement.

And then they advocate. So advocations are leaving reviews and telling their friends and family, which is what we’re focusing on today. But, what I want to bring into your awareness is that you don’t become an advocate until you’ve gone through the other stages. And what I will show in a couple of slides is that once they’re an advocate, that advocation, which I think is a word, actually then goes full circle and fuels the awareness stage.

So to have this into perspective with the customer value journey, that is where we’re at. We’re promoting the advocate stage after people have consumed your products and services, but that then fuels the top of the funnel.

So why is this important?

It doesn’t take much to see a rock-solid online reputation to degrade online, because you actually have no control over when someone leaves a review. So, if someone goes to Google and decides to go and leave a review on your Google My Business location page, I guess you’d call it, you have no control over that. They can do that. To get those reviews removed by Google is extremely difficult. Same thing with Facebook, Yelp, all of them. These review sites are… Their power comes from the fact that we can leave reviews as a consumer without the business having interference. But as a business owner, that becomes an issue because, sometimes, there are people who are malicious and leave negative reviews without actually presenting the full situation. So it’s really, really important to be on top of your reputation management for this reason.

Other reasons are competition. More and more businesses are popping up, and we have to stay ahead of the game. That’s just the nature of being in business. Search engine optimization. So how many reviews you have on Google and Facebook will influence, even Facebook, will influence where you rank on the search engines in the organic feed and what we call the 3-Pack, and then the maps.

And then also, buyer intelligence. We know more and more that buyers are becoming more educated, and I’m going to present some statistics in a minute where we know upwards of 86% are going online to do their research before ever visiting their location.

So it has come from the journey of the business being in control of the journey to now the buyer is in control of the journey, because they have the power and the tools to do the research themselves.

So a lot of industry stats to share with you. And I don’t present… There’s like 12 of 16 of these. I don’t present these to be overwhelming, but I do want you to be aware. So, here are the industry stats. 85% of consumers will trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Peers are now considered to be as credible as experts, which has pros and cons to it, but I digress. Positive reviews make 73% percent of consumers trust a local business more. 64% trust online search engines the most when conducting research. 15% of consumers don’t trust businesses who don’t have any reviews. 77% of consumers think that reviews older than three months are irrelevant. 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and this was a 2017 statistic, with 12% looking every day. This definitely has not gone down. If anything, it’s gone up. You can’t really get much higher, but definitely hasn’t gone down.

Reviews are the second most powerful ranking factor in Google’s Local 3-Pack. And the Google search results, reviews have a 7% influence on rankings. And I would argue that it’s gone up because some of these stats are from 2017. Going from a 3-star to a 5-star rating delivers a business 25% more clicks from Google. That’s quite significant. If you’re talking you’re getting 500 website visits a month, you’re now going up to 625. When you consider an average website will convert at 10%, that’s more money in your pocket. That’s more people calling, more people filling out forms on your website, more people coming into your business.

49% of consumers say a business needs at least a 4-star rating before they will try to use them. And as a consumer myself, I agree with that stat. 30% of consumers say that they positively judge a business which publicly responds to an online review. And we’ll get into responding to reviews shortly. Every 1-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. That’s a big one. I’m not a personal fan of Yelp because of Yelp’s business practices, but people still use Yelp as part of their search behavior. 74% of people who seek customer reviews on a business website say that they would contact that business.

And that, apparently, is the end of the long monologue of statistics. But you can see that reviews, if you weren’t already convinced, but reviews have a huge impact on a lot of different levels of your business, especially from an online perspective. And let’s be honest. Most of our marketing nowadays is online. Most of the consumer behavior starts online, and can’t really ignore it anymore.

So, the question then that we have, is how can we get more reviews?

There are a couple of different ways to do this, and the simplest way is to ask for the review. The problem is, is that a lot of times, people don’t know what to say. Or they forget. So if they were… Say you own a spa or salon. And they come in and they leave, and you’re like, “Great, thanks. Be sure to leave us a review.” I would guess that 80% of those are going to forget, if not more.

So, what we do is help our clients get those reviews a little bit more automated. And you can do that through a couple of different ways, one of them being email blasts. So, after someone visits your place of business, you send them an email with a link that asks them to leave a review. And then they can do it on their own time, but it also sends them a reminder. At the same point, SMS, text messages, do the exact same thing. It sends them a text to their cell phone saying, “Thanks for visiting XYZ Spa. Please leave a review on Google or Facebook.”

There’s always the way to have kiosk, which is simply a iPad set up at your front desk, so that when people are paying their bills, checking out, waiting, because it’s almost guaranteed that they are going to wait a couple of minutes, they can leave the review right there in the waiting.

So, just seeing if I’m missing anything.

The benefit of doing all this and this is all done through third-party tools which I’m going to show you a demo of in two seconds. The benefit of this is that it will increase the number of reviews. Not everybody is going to leave a review. Don’t think that they are. But it will increase the number of people leaving reviews from probably like 10% to about 50% which can be quite significant.

So, as I mentioned, we do this by using tools, and I am going to go into a demo to show you how this works.

So, this is an actual client of mine. Piatchek Law Firm, he’s based out of Springfield, Missouri. And this is what the tool looks like. So this would be, if they got a text message, they would be getting this link and would take them here, whether it’s on their mobile phone or on their computer. Or if they get an email, it’ll look like this.

If you were using the kiosk mode and if, for example, he had at his front desk, it could be a laptop or an iPad with this set up exactly as you see it, people could do it using the kiosk mode.

And it all looks the same. Doesn’t matter what version you use.

So the first thing that happens when they see this is how likely is it that you’re gonna recommend Piatchek Law Firm to a friend or a colleague. What this is called in marketing terms is a net promoter score. So, this is not the actual review. This is them saying how likely are they going to recommend you. Let’s say, for example, I will choose an 8 and I will go next. On the back end, it will keep all this data and create an average for the business owner to see how well they’re doing. Because they might respond, this is the first thing they’ll see, they’re likely going to hit this. This is a very low barrier to entry. They’ll likely respond to this, but they may not actually write a review. But you’ll still get feedback on your business.

Once they do that, step two out of four is, please tell us why you gave us a score out of 8. And they would actually rate their review. It would obviously be very specific. “They were very helpful.” “They took time to understand my needs, what…” Blah blah blah blah blah, right? There’s then this option to let the law firm use this review on their website and marketing tools. This would have to be checked off. It is by law that you have to have that permission ahead of time before you can do it.

Then they would hit next. Oh, I got to leave something. Then they would leave… Okay, so please enter your details so you can validate you’re a [inaudible 00:15:57] authentic. So we’ll do… Oops, apparently I can’t read. That’s okay, I got copy-paste. Great. And it says, “Submit your feedback.” When it does that, the last and final step is, “Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to leave it on Google?” Now the benefit of doing it this way if you actually have the feedback. Because at the end of the day, it is about presenting the best service that you can. So you will have their feedback, and they will have the option to do this. Now if I were… We’ll see what this does because I’ve been in different Google accounts all day.

So if I were to click on Google, it’s going to leave me as operations. It will then take me directly to the page where I can then leave the review. And I don’t think it copy-pastes it. They would then take their previous review, and I’ve lost my tab so I have to bring it back down and put it in here and they can add up all the one and post it.

So as you can see, this is a multi-step… And I’m not going to do that, obviously. Multi-step process. But the benefit of it is is that you get some information before they actually leave the review.

Are there any questions about that?

Okay, going on.

So, to reiterate, how does this work? So, at first, they rate your business. And I obviously left them. Some [inaudible 00:17:46] in here. That’s wonderful. So they rate your business, they provide your feedback, and then the review gets posted. So like I said, it’s a multi-step process, but it is very, very helpful for many facets within your business.

And of course, as I mentioned before, it has a great positive impact, when they do leave a review, on your traffic. So, Google will look at your reviews in terms of determining how you rank based on how many reviews you have and your average rating. So getting one negative review isn’t going to have a negative impact on your organic traffic and your rankings. Having a couple of negative reviews won’t have an impact. I’ve actually never tested it and never read anything that said that negative reviews are better than no reviews. That’ll be something that I should look into because that would be an interesting piece of information to have. But we do know for sure that having reviews increases how much traffic you’re getting from Google which is kind of free traffic, so pretty important.

Now, what about negative reviews? Like I mentioned, this will happen. So what do you do? Number one, always acknowledge it. If you are not comfortable or skilled as a PR person in order to respond to the reviews, you can have your marketing team or a PR firm do that for you, but always acknowledge the negative reviews. Even the positive reviews, have a response just to show that you actually care for both the positive and the negative. Always acknowledge their perspective and then provide yours. Never try to shame them or blame them or anything like that. Ninety percent of the time, a negative review is about a personal perspective of a situation, so always acknowledge their perspective and then provide your own.

Always then focus on getting more reviews because, as I said, you can’t get your negative reviews taken down. It doesn’t work that way. But you can bury it. So most people only look at the top couple of positive reviews or the topmost recent reviews, like those there within the last three months, and so you can actually use reputation management tools in order to get more positive reviews to kind of bury those negative reviews.

Assuming, of course, you’re doing an amazing job which is the biggest piece of it all. If you’re not doing a good job, then we’ve got bigger problems. So like I said, it’s a process. You get leads, they become clients, you ask those clients to give you reviews, those reviews will then get you more leads and more clients. So it’s really part of that bigger picture that you have to understand.

So, this went a little faster than I anticipated with is totally fine. If you have questions, let me know. But what is next?

So, the biggest thing in order to get yourself more reviews is you have to use a reputation management tool in order to automate it. There’s kind of no other way around it. As I said, you can ask people to leave reviews, but chances are, they’re just going to forget and they’re just not going to do it unless they’re extremely grateful. Be very careful about, never ever pay for reviews. And never give coupons or any sort of benefit for reviews. That’s actually a violation of Google’s Terms of Service, policies. It’s called solicitation for reviews. So, you can ask, but you can’t solicit. So, be very very sure that you never do that.

So, by using the reputation management tool and sending out those emails and all those text message reminders, you can do that without being, going into that gray zone. I’ve seen it happen where they will try to do a giveaway in exchange for reviews, and it’s a bit of a gray zone and a bit of a no-no.

Always respond to your reviews. And so, again, by using third-party tools, it will amalgamate all your reviews into one spot and you can respond to them in one spot. Otherwise, you’ll be going and logging in, which you can do. And login to all of the reviews once a week and respond to those reviews.

And then, also what’s next is, if you didn’t see it already, I offer complimentary lead accelerator sessions where I will actually pull a report showing not only your search engine optimization, where you rank, website, but also your reviews. And we can take a look and see where there’s room for improvement.

So, I’m going to leave it there. Thank you for your time. I greatly appreciate it. Hopefully, this was informative. Please let me know if anything didn’t make any sense. You can call me at any time. This is my direct line. It actually goes to my cell phone. You can send a text to this and just tell me who you are. But you can send a text to this, and I will be happy to reply as soon as possible and answer any of your questions that you may have about reputation management or a situation that may come up at some point.

I’m not seeing any questions popping up. I will take a swig of coffee, just in case. But if there are no questions, I want to respect your time and leave it there. Plus, it’s kind of awkward for me to just sit here and stand here. But do reach out. And, one, book your complimentary lead accelerator session. I should change that name because I can’t even say it. And if you have any questions, you can call me. If you’re more comfortable with email or Messenger, you can do that as well.

So thank you, everyone, for your time. I greatly appreciate it. Hopefully, you learned something about this. Do take me up on the offer for the 50% off lifetime exclusive offer on using our tools. And have yourself a wonderful day. Thanks, everyone.