What is Reputation Marketing?
Consider this scenario - a potential customer is in need of a product or service you offer. Unless they have a favorite place to go already and aren’t open to change, most will either ask their personal network of friends and/or family for a recommendation, or they’ll search for a solution themselves. This is a process that happens millions of times each day.
Now what if they saw one of their friends had left your business a review? They would trust that business more than one that didn’t have this review. Why? Because they trust their friend. Even if they don’t know you, that friend’s review is a public declaration of trust in your business.
And that’s the heart of what reputation marketing is, using social proof signals like reviews and referrals in order to make postive aspects of your reputation transparent and visible to anyone who might want to use your product or service.
"Reputation Marketing is using social proof signals like reviews and referrals in order to make positive aspects of your reputation transparent and visible..."
90% of consumers think reviews and referrals are more important than any information provided by a salesperson. So, if you can use reputation marketing effectively, you can use your own customers to do the selling for you. That’s more powerful than any marketing content or creative ad copy you could ever hope to write.
Customer Reviews Supercharge your Local Search Rankings
Online reviews impact local search and SEO (search engine optimization) by about 12%. Given the hundreds, if not thousands, of different factors search engines use to rank websites like yours, this is a huge impact on your SEO.
Whenever you make those searches you’ll notice the Google Maps widget that shows up. If your business is listed (create a Google My Business account if it’s not), it’s ranked by several factors.
- Proximity: how close you are to the person searching
- Relevancy: how relevant your products/services are to the person searching
- Reputation: how many reviews you have, your average star rating, and how recent those reviews are (which also show relevancy).
But more reviews don’t just increase the amount of traffic to your website, they also increase the quality of that traffic. That’s because they’ve already been convinced that you’re a reputable provider before they even talk to you, all because of online reputation marketing.
What if I don’t have any Reviews?
This can have a negative effect. Many consumers believe that not having any reviews is almost as damaging as having several bad ones. To them, it represents a risk if they decide to use their service. People want to know you’re reliable.
Additionally, if any of your competitors do have reviews and you don’t it can also mean people searching for your product/service are finding them, not you. That’s business you could have been getting that is now funding your competition.
By implementing an action plan and reputation management process (we recommend using software to automate this for you), you can start building your reputation and acquire online reviews from past customers. But if you don't have any reviews, it's not something to put off. They influence consumer decisions, as well as help you to appear within local search results. The longer you wait to implement a review system, the more time you’re giving potential customers (and their friends) to become loyal to competitors.
59% of consumers look at 2-3 review sites before they make a decision about a business
87% of people say that a business needs a rating of 3-5 stars before they will use them
Where should I ask for reviews?
There are lots of industry-specific review sites that can benefit your business, and then a few that every business should use. For home service professionals for example, having reviews on a site like Homeadvisor or Yelp may be beneficial. For a doctor, however, it would not be. A doctor would probably want to use a site like Healthgrades, while a tourist attraction or restaurant may wish to use Tripadvisor.
But thankfully, no matter what business you have there are two review sites that rule them all: Google and Facebook.
Facebook Reviews are like Referrals to an Entire Network
Facebook reviews (now called recommendations in some areas as they roll out this changes to some users) are an incredibly powerful and targeted way to get new business. When someone leaves you a review on your Facebook page all of that person’s friends get a notification saying that they recommend YOUR business. It’s like word of mouth but a thousand times more powerful because they’re not just telling one friend about you, they’re telling all of them.
This is a more targeted approach because if you serve very high-end clients for example, then those peoples’ friends are often likely to be of a similar demographic and income level as they are.
It’s also incredibly valuable when people make testimonials about your business in Facebook groups. At NiceJob we’ve gotten tons of our own customers this way.
How would it affect your business if your most lucrative customers recommended you to all their friends?
Google Reviews will Help you Outrank the Competition
How would being the top reviewed and ranked business in your area affect your web traffic and sales?
Google reviews are a bit different than Facebook reviews in that they’re less targeted but get can get more visibility. Because Google reviews help you be found more on Google, this will increase the amount of website traffic you get, which is likely to get you a higher volume of customers than Facebook reviews, but could also be of a lower value per customer compared to Facebook.
Another interesting note is that if you’re a service provider, then you’ll only really show up in Google for anyone within your defined service area in your Google My Business account. But, if you get a review from someone outside your service area, Google will automatically expand your service area to include where that review was left. This means you’ll start being seen by people in that area more frequently, while using your reviews from other areas to convince them to use your service!
The Challenge of Online Review Marketing
So we know reviews are important, but how do we get them? Do you often leave reviews for businesses? I certainly don’t, but that’s because they don’t ask, and even if they did it would be a lot of work for me to figure out how to do that and where to go. Most customers, 75% in fact, are willing to provide reviews, as long as it’s easy for them to do so. That’s why you need to make it easy.
Most people need to be asked (reminded) more than once. People are busy, and while they mean well, aren’t always available when you ask and often forget.
It’s A Numbers Game
More review invites (and reminders) equal more completed reviews. With more reviews, your visibility improves, and you start to see more reviews and sales. While more than three quarters say they are willing to provide a review, only about a third eventually do. If you only ask once, that probably drops to less than ten percent. This is why it’s so important to not only follow up with your customers for reviews, but to make it incredibly easy for them to leave you one.
Using tools like NiceJob, you can provide a quick and simple interface for your customers to leave reviews on all of the important review sites for your business.
What happens when you try to ask for customer reviews manually?
It’s a lot of work to send out tons of review invitations. Just imagine this scenario if you were to do that manually:
You send just 3 requests to review your business a day, between Monday to Friday. The next week you do the same. But you also need to send reminders, so from all the people that you invited or requested to provide a review need a follow-up reminder. That first week, with a minimal 3 requests a day, is 15 reminders. Unless someone provided a review, which can happen, most will need a reminder or two. So if you send 15 requests in a week, which is on the low side, and you’re 3 weeks into the process, you now need to send reminders for the past requests. Without getting too deep into the math, that quickly becomes 50 emails to send per week.
Now let’s be realistic here. Do you really have the time, energy, and data to not only be sending out these 50 emails (minimum) a week but to also be sending them each out at the best possible time for them to be received? With reputation marketing automation software like NiceJob, this process becomes easy.
You only send the initial review requests and invites, it does the rest, automating follow-ups for you, and if you integrate it with anyone of our integration partners (over 1000 CRM’s, invoicing tools, field management softwares, and more), it will even automatically send the initial requests for you as well.
When & How to Ask for Reviews
Timing is extremely important when asking for reviews. When a customer doesn't leave a review, it doesn't necessarily mean they didn't love your product or service. They may be absolutely thrilled. It may be the best purchase they've made in months. But you just contacted them at the wrong time. Maybe they were busy, or just don't feel like typing a review at that moment. Happily, timing is a battle we can win, here’s how.
Ask During Peak excitement
If your customer loves your product or service, they're most likely excited about it right after receiving it. Presenting a review invitation as soon as possible after the transaction is completed increases your response rates significantly.
So what do you need to do?
A) Develop a good habit of sending review invites after each purchase and sharing them online.
B) Or even better, get a system that sends review invites automatically after each purchase and then uses those reviews to market your business on your website and across social media.
If you want more referrals and reviews, it's essential to make it part of your process. That means sending requests often, and practically every day.
When it comes to business, many experts will tell you that your brand is the most valuable asset you own. In some cases, it can represent the best of something for a local market. The best bakery, the best place to get a car, the best place for dinner? Reviews are what give a business this brand reputation, and they're also what gives the brand value if you ever choose to sell it by making that reputation transparent to potential buyers.
More than half of businesses are not making use of online reviews, yet over 97% of consumers trust and rely on them to help make decisions for purchases or local products and services. This means if you start collecting your own online reviews today, you will stand out.
Want a fully automated system to collect and market reviews for you? Try NiceJob for yourself! Sign up for our 14-day free trial here.