by Peter Wilson
Do you want to learn how to get more positive reviews for your business, and stop potentially negative reviews? Peter Wilson, President of bizmktg.com is joined by Chris Goldman for an insightful discussion on how businesses can get more online reviews [positive reviews] why all businesses need to take control of their online reputation. You can listen to the discussion, view the video or read the transcript below.
A conversation between bizmktg.com’s Peter Wilson, President, and Chris Goldman, Marketing Messaging Expert, about how businesses can get more positive reviews for their business. This conversation was recorded as a live webinar presentation which can be accessed here “Get More Positive Reviews For Your Business.”
Chris: Today we’re going to talk about reputation because your reputation is everything in business. Online reviews play a big part of a business’s reputation. This is one of your areas of focus at bizmktg.com.
Peter: Businesses realize they may have a problem with their reputation when they see competitors that seem to be getting more business than they’re getting. Or their cost per lead is skyrocketing, or overall, the community is growing, but their business is not matching that growth.
There’s lost revenue. You could potentially be losing sales opportunities and not even know it. So, reputation is just extremely important. So, we’re going to try to peel the onion a little bit on how to get a handle on reviews. And I think the most important thing most business owners want to know is how do I get more positive reviews? So, we’ll talk about that.
Chris: And everybody is reading reviews and that’s the key for everyone to know. And there’s data to back that up. Look at these stats. Pete, walk us through these.
Peter: This is a data that we get from a company called BrightLocal. They do an annual survey. They’ve been doing it for the last seven years. 82% of consumers are reading online reviews for local businesses. 52% of 18 to 54 year -olds say they always read reviews before they contact a business. And the average consumer is reading 10 reviews before they have a feeling that they’re able to trust a business.
Chris: Yes, I know that that’s the case. I’ve been watching in anticipation of today, when I’m going to Amazon furniture stores this last week looking for products, how many reviews am I reading before I’m satisfied? And I do something that a lot of your customers are doing. I will read the reviews and if they’re all positive in those first or eight, I will intentionally look for a bad review and find out why did they give the bad review? Because there’s bad reviews and good reviews. And we want to tell you about the positive reviews first. So talk about that, Pete, what do we do with positive reviews? How do we get them?
Peter: Right. Well, so let’s talk about the benefit of a positive review. Not that not everybody really, I mean, it should be obvious, but I think it’s worth repeating, that when you have positive reviews, it’s showing potential customers that you are delivering on your promises and that you can be trusted. And when that happens, the consumer is going to A, consider you, because they may rule you out completely if you don’t have any reviews or just negative reviews, so they’re going to consider you and contact you. An interesting data point that I read recently was that they also spend more money. If a business has excellent reviews, they’re typically more likely to spend more money as well with the business. So, I feel that’s super important for people to understand. It’s not just getting the business, it’s getting the business and getting more revenue associated with that. So-
Chris: We’re assuming that all the companies out there want more revenue, right?
Peter: Well, yeah. I mean if you don’t want more revenue, you probably shouldn’t be reading this.
Chris: “Google My Business” is a pretty big deal where reviews show up. And they show up, you’ve got it circled here. What are we looking at?
Peter: Well, so what I want everybody to do is I want them to go, after this webinar, I want them to go, this a little bit of homework, I want you to go and Google the name of your business, and what do you see? Now you should see, on the right side if you’re on a desktop computer, or a laptop, on the right side of the screen, you should see this thing that I have shown here. This is called, “The Google My Business” profile for your business. And it’s a free thing that every business can have.
Peter: And this is where Google reviews live. And you can see, Google obviously thinks they’re important because near the center of the … just right up front, they’ve got the reviews, the Google reviews. So, if people are talking about Google reviews, I just wanted to be clear. These are the reviews we’re talking about. These are the reviews that show up in your Google My Business profile. We also call that GMB for short.
This is what it looks like. You see that the rating there is 4.6, kind of a story behind that. Somebody gave me a negative review that was fake, and I responded to it. But we’ve got 10 reviews. This is for our business here. This is a picture of our office. You can see our location, and outside our office as well.
Peter: It’s extremely important to Google the name of your business and see what pops up. In addition to that, I want you to Google the name of your business, plus the word “reviews.” So, two things. In our case, when I did it, Glassdoor popped up. Glassdoor is a review site for employees to rate their experience with an employer, and I have a one, but this was an intern that we hired few years back and he was a Glassdoor user and left a review for us. And then we have Yelp reviews here. So again, this is two things you can do today just to get a gut check of where you’re at for your business online, Google your business name, and then business name with the word reviews.
Chris: Okay, now we talk a lot in business about, and marketing, about creating a sales funnel. How are you capturing leads, all of that, but there’s also here, what we might call a review funnel, and Pete’s going to walk us through this really powerful stuff here. As we talk about getting customers into this funnel of reviews, guiding them through the review process and monitoring and responding. And for all the business leaders, I want to tell you this, it’s not just something Pete’s good at teaching you about, it’s something that he’s really good at creating for you. So walk us through this, Pete.
Peter: Sure. So far, we’ve covered the value of reviews, why they’re important, why you need a reputation, you want your business to grow. But the biggest question most people have is, “Well, how do I do that?” And so, this is what we recommend. We recommend a review funnel for your business. Now this is also the product that we are offering at a discount as well, but there are other vendors out there that you can get this from and they will refer to it in a similar fashion. We like to believe that ours is the best you can get, it certainly provides a lot of value to our customers. So, what you’re doing is you’re trying to get more positive reviews. That’s why we’re here today, right? Well, so what a review funnel does is it really allows you to figure out what people are doing on every step of the journey.
Peter: So, the first thing you have to do to get people to give you a review is you have to get them into the funnel. How do you do that? Well, you have to ask them. And then once you get them into the funnel and ask them for a review, you guide them through the review process. So, you kind of asked them what was their experience like with your business? And then finally, if they leave you a review, you monitor the reviews that you receive, and then you respond accordingly. So, I’m going to go through each of these steps now, which should be helpful for any business. And again, this is fundamentally the way most a review funnel software works.
Chris: And by the way, I was with one of our clients yesterday, as a customer. And when I got home, it sent me a, “Would you be willing to review our business?” And it guided me through this. So, I was living this process yesterday afternoon.
Peter: So today, I’m going to talk about … I’m going to use King Heating. That’s one of our clients, as an example.
Chris: Great company.
Peter: Yes they are. We work with other great HVAC companies as well. Energy Works is one. And this is just the one that I happen to have in front of me. So, the first thing you want to do is you want to ask somebody for a review. Well, how do you do that? Well, first of all, a business has to ask all their clients for a review. Can’t cherry pick customers. If you just cherry pick your customers, and don’t ask everybody for a review, then you’re losing in two ways. One, you’re missing out on potential positive reviews that you may have received from other people that are your customers. And two, there might’ve been some negative feedback about your business that you didn’t get, and you need to get that to figure out what’s happening.
So, what I have on the screen here is an example of a card that we provide. It has nice rounded edges on it. And it’s a business card size that has a specific URL for the funnel for King’s Heating. So, this is how they get started. So, this is, if you were talking to a client and you were done with a client or a customer, and you were done with them, you could say, and they’re just raving about their experience with you, you could just say right then, “How would you feel about giving us a review? Great.” Boom, hand them one of these cards. So, we provide 500 of these cards, initially, when you sign up for the program. Give these to the customer, it’s got the URL on there. It’s got a QR code, which believe it or not, QR codes that are actually kind of coming back because Apple decided to build in the QR code software into the iPhone camera.
Chris: Well, and Amazon just, for everybody to know, Amazon for returns now, has moved almost exclusively to QR codes. And so, more and more of your customers are getting used to using them on a regular basis and seeing them. So …
Peter: Right, so you ask for a review, you can email a request with a link. You can send a letter with this card, or you can text. You probably received a text from the dental practice, perhaps?
Chris: Well, it’s important that once you ask, you’re going to send people somewhere. And what they experience when they get there is also critical.
Peter: Yes, so this is the example that I am using today. This is our landing page, review funnel landing page. So this resides on a URL that we provide the business. So it’s a very unique URL, and it’s just the first step. Please review your experience with us. Just click on the number of stars. Now, we have various options for this.
Peter: We have a thumbs up, thumbs down one, too. So, you could say I had a good experience, I had a bad experience. That doesn’t always capture the nuance, so we can experiment with your business and see which one you prefer, but we’ve got different versions. This is the most common version. So, what the consumer does … well, first of all, they see your logo. So they know they’re in the right place. Simple instructions, just click on the stars. And it works on mobile devices as well. And the domain is actually ReviewsOf.us or Reviews of Us, which is a domain that Bizmktg owns. So, again, this is step one. This is what it would look like on your phone, on your desktop, all the same.
Chris: Now, what do you do when they click one, two or three?
Peter: Yes, this is what happens. So, it’s inevitably going to happen where somebody’s going to click one, two or three stars. Three stars, first, let me talk about three stars. Three stars in this day and age is a negative feedback. That’s not … we think about maybe when we were going to school and a C was a average grade, it’s supposed to be okay, well a C here, is negative. So, maybe there’s grade inflation, I don’t know. Three stars is not good. So, let’s just start off with that. If they click on one, two or three starts, this form pops up. And you’ll notice what it says here. We strive for a hundred percent customer satisfaction. If we fell short, please tell us more so we can address your concerns. So, what we’ve given the consumer the opportunity to … the customer the opportunity to do is actually air their grievance, tell you what went wrong. What, what happened, right?
Peter: This does not create a review online. This is a form that is sent directly to the manager of the business, and then you can fix it. So read these, find out what went wrong and fix it. And I’ve talked to a lot of business owners that have received these, very surprised that something went wrong. They thought everything was great. Didn’t realize that there was one little thing that the customer was a little torqued about, and they were able to quickly get on it and help that customer.
Chris: Which by the way, left unchecked, damages your business time and time again, without you knowing it. So, the one, two and three star ratings can really be helpful, but what we all want are the four and five, right? So, it’s a different landing page for the four and five, talk about that.
Peter: Right. So, this gets emailed to you. Then you can respond to the customer. This is just an email that gets sent to you. But if they click on the four star or the five star, it’s a different experience here. So, the four star or the five star is where you can invite your happy customers, because they clicked on four or five stars, to leave, to share their experience about your business. So, now you’re saying, “Hey, you gave us some feedback. Would you share your experience with others?” And there’s links, in this case, to Google, Facebook, and our website. Now, remember, we went back, when I showed earlier where the Google reviews live, Google reviews are extremely important because they actually use them for ranking websites in the search engine and in the map listings that they show when people search. So, Google reviews are super important.
Peter: Facebook reviews are important, our website as well, which is an internal one. So, these are easy links for people to leave. Now, one of the things that I will mention is that technically, or according to the terms of service for Yelp, you’re not supposed to ask for a review on Yelp. Now, some businesses have insisted, and there is a way to have that added here, but that’s not something we push businesses to do. We do have some specific concerns about doing that with Yelp, but we can certainly monitor your reviews on Yelp and help a business with Yelp as well. So, these are direct links. Again, we’re just trying to make it super easy for somebody to leave a review. And if they still have concerns, they can still click on this little contact us button here, and they can leave their thoughts. So-
Chris: Now wait, once they get to Google review and they leave their thoughts, they still have the option of giving you a one, two or three star rating, correct?
Peter: Yes, they do. What we’re really attempting to do here is make it much easier for them to leave that positive review. Ultimately if they want to leave a negative review, that’s up to them. You’ll have to deal with that. And we’ll talk about that in the Q&A section as well. So …
Chris: So, that’s where you’re at is monitoring and responding to the different reviews and talking about the Google review as you go through it, so-
Peter: Right. So yeah, so we’re not quite there yet. So this is what the Google review looks like on the screen, here. So, I just wanted to have a quick example of that. If you click on that Google link, and you’re logged into Google, this is what it looks like. So, it’s super easy. They can just click, click, click, and post of review for you. They may not type anything in, just FYI. And then that’s why sometimes you get a review that just said five star, and there’s no comment. But I noticed Google is now adding these little tags you can click on, “Good quality, good value,” that sort of thing, which is helpful. So, that’s Google.
Peter: So the next thing is monitoring your reviews. So, now that you’ve got positive reviews or reviews, you want to monitor them. So, this is a dashboard. And what we do is we want to make sure if a new review shows up online, you get notified every day, whether it was positive or not. If it’s positive, we want you to go in and thank the customer for the positive review. And you can do that directly through the service, or you can go onto Google and do that as well. But we have a dashboard that makes it easy to do. And sometimes people leave a positive star rating, but they may not give a positive feedback. So, you kind of want to read these anyway, because occasionally you get kind of a backhanded compliment in a review, and you want to maybe follow up with that person and see what the deal is about that.
Chris: And I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of however you’re getting reviews, the fact that you can have a dashboard that allows you, as a owner, as a manager, to go directly to them and process them quickly, is going to make it more likely you actually do. If you have to hunt this stuff down, or you’re not paying attention to it, you can have business dropping, not knowing why. And then somebody says, “Hey, well, you got a couple of really bad reviews online. Are you aware of that?” The dashboard prevents you from missing that, and it makes it so easy as a owner, as a manager to address them quickly, and just be a part of your routine. So, yeah.
Peter: Right. So, now you’ve gotten reviews, you’ve monitored them, you’ve responded to them, and now you’ve got a bunch of positive reviews. Well, the next thing that you want to do is you want to stream those positive reviews onto your website. So, we have software that we can input on your website, or you can have your web developer do that, that puts this really nice stream, if you can see this here, it takes the quotes of what the people said, and it puts it directly on your website. And if it’s like a Google review, there’s a link to the underlying review. The nice thing about it is, if somebody comes to your website, they want to read reviews about them. You don’t want to say, “Oh, go to this other site and read my reviews.” Because then they’re going to get lost looking at that site.
Peter: So, you want to have the reviews listed here. The other thing, so you want to make it super easy. So, this streams automatically, and every time a new positive review is left for you, it gets updated. And this is in chronological order. And the reason chronological order is super important, is that reviews we value, as consumers, more recent reviews, more than old ones. So, if I see a review and it’s like, their most recent review was June 2nd and then May 26th and then May 21st, right? Those are recent reviews. That means this is relevant information. But if they’re not relevant, or I mean if they’re old, then you’re going to discount it.
Chris: Yes. And it also says something important during this season. I mean, remember, we’re talking about how do you navigate this specific season? So, I’m dealing with another company that I won’t name out, that I had some equipment that I was required to return to them. And I’ve gone back to their store probably five or six times, and finally waited online, online, online to find out when is that store opening? And the parent company had to look it up and say, “Well, we’re not sure we’re even going to open that one back up,” but you couldn’t find that online. You couldn’t see anything. If I’m at King’s Heating, in this example, and I go to review those 10 reviews, that I’m going to look for before I do business somebody, I know that not only does their front website say, “Hey, we’re open.” I can see that they’ve been doing business during this time.
Chris: And is as early as just a few days ago, they have somebody who’s finished the project and already uploaded it. And I can see that going along. So, you see they’re active and that’s one way that they are smartly navigating this time.
Chris: You stream them. Now, I want to do something real quick. I want to encourage you, we’ve got a couple of questions already in, if you have questions about reviews and how to respond to them, anything about reviews, put those in the Q&A, we’re about to do a Q&A session. But before we do that, I want Pete to go back to what he’s offering you today, just as a “Hey, we’re here to help.”
Peter: Yes, so we’re offering a free review audit, and this is using some tools that we have available to us where we can go out, we just need to get the information about the business, the address, phone number, and some other information, and then we can plug that into system and run a report and provide that to you. So, that’s important. One of the things I didn’t mention with respect to our platform, is it automatically generates a monthly report as well. So, if you have somebody in your organization that’s monitoring this on a daily basis, you could just let them do their thing, and then on a monthly basis, you’ll receive a roll up report that shows how well your business did with respect to getting more positive reviews or reviews, and if something negative happened as well. So, that’s included, the monthly reports are included. So, it’s sort of like this reviews audit that we provide.
Chris: So, we’ve got some questions here. The first one is a great question, Natalie. Thanks for submitting this. Which websites do you check for the reviews? Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. Now, I know we kind of covered some of that, but I love the focus of this question, that’s on the spectrum. So talk about all of these.
Peter: Right, so clearly Google, we check Yelp, Facebook, and those are the top sites just in general, but there are additional sites that I would want to mention. So, for example, there are specific industry related sites. So, if you’re a lawyer, there’s a site called Avvo.com, and there’s some other sites. If you are in the travel business, there’s TripAdvisor and our platform can connect to some of those. So, we do industry vertical ones. I know for the dental practices, there’s some specific sites as well. There’s some called … I think there’s one called a Web Health and WebMD. There’s some doctor related sites. There’s some holistic, natural wellness sites as well. So, our platform can monitor and connect to about 50 different sites. And I see a question, Booking.com. I believe it does connect to Booking.com. So, I will need to verify that, but I will get back to you, Natalie, with that question.
Chris: Also, now, let me ask you a question. Is it that if you have a website, people can review you?
Peter: If you have a … well, you don’t even need a website technically, for people to review you, if I understand your question correctly, because a lot of these platforms will go create a profile for you, for your business, whether or not you asked them to. And people can start leaving reviews for you. There might be reviews about you at some site you’ve never heard of, that people just started leaving reviews on. So-
Chris: So, it’s really a question of, do you want to be reactive or proactive? Is that what I’m hearing?
Peter: Yes, and some sites are not necessarily relevant. I mean, so I wouldn’t … some sites are just not necessarily, I guess they’re just not relevant for business. But our platform would even do Amazon reviews for products as well. And I have something in the office that just used that as a keyword, and woke up. Because I use the word, starts with an A.
Chris: Yes, likely.
Peter: But yeah. So, the thing is it really depends on the type of business you’re in and what your goals are. And so, we look at that with the business. We don’t just say there’s one size fits all.
Chris: Are there any businesses that you can think of, that shouldn’t be worried about handling reviews?
Peter: I am hard pressed to find a business that shouldn’t, I think there are some spaces where it’s very challenging and difficult, and I would tread lightly, especially in the medical fields because there’s HIPAA related things, therapy and things like that. So, there are some fields where there are some specific restrictions on the way, but even if you are in that field, I wouldn’t shy away from it in the medical field, for example, like we work with chiropractors and the such. So, one of the things we do is we don’t show the last name of the person that left the review in the review stream, it just says their first name and then their initial. And then if something shows up in the review stream on the website that’s not appropriate, we can turn it off as well.
Chris: Yes, that’s really important. One of our clients runs a nonprofit clinic. And for them, it’s not just important to have good reviews for the people who are coming to get services, but for their donor base, is also really important. So, all of this is really critical to business. Okay, Pete, final word. What do you want to tell our people? We’re out of time. What do we want to share with them this last minute?
Peter: If you want to learn more about the program as well, you can just use that same link there. Bizmktg.com/reviews-audit. There’s a form, you can just type in your questions and then we’ll get back to you.