Why Online Reviews Are Important For Your Business

YelpLogo1There is a large segment of small businesses today that completely ignore their online reviews.  In a recent survey performed by Yodle, about 50% of small business owners believe positive online reviews are not important.  I recently compiled a list of the benefits a business can receive by encouraging their customers to give them positive online reviews.

A stellar review from a client on a review site like Yelp, Google Plus, etc. will do some, if not all of these:

  • Give you a higher listing on the review site
  • Increase your star rating on the site and in search engines that share the star rating
  • Increase organic national searches on search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc.
  • Increase your local search engine optimization

But most importantly, a positive online review will increase your social proof, your legitimacy in your market.  Clients and customers buy from those that they trust.  Legitimate positive online reviews will do that for you.  Check out some of my best resources for managing your businesses online reviews.  Check out my new online course:  Fans on Fire!  Build Your Business With Online Reviews!

For a free quick start guide to leveraging the power of legitimate online reviews and 12 free email, letter and web page templates, download it here.

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Top Tips For Leveraging Your Positive Online Reviews

REviewHere is an exclusive excerpt from my online course:  Fans on Fire!  Build Your Business With Online Reviews.  Rather than keep it secret and open to my course attendees only, I thought I would share it with you!  So here are some of my top tips and links for leveraging your businesses online reviews:

Google Plus:  If you haven’t already, this is the first review site/social media profile you should set up or claim for your business.  So much could be said about the command presence that Google has on the internet, but that would take up way too much space.  Suffice to say, get this set up now.  Here is a short article on updates to Google Plus Pages:  http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2241393/Google-Warns-SEO-Businesses-to-Avoid-Fake-Reviews  Here is a free handout generator to get Google page reviews:  https://www.whitespark.ca/review-handout-generator

Facebook:  Make sure your business page is listed as a local business or use an app that allows reviews.  Admins currently have the ability to respond to reviews.  You also have the ability to remove the review or rating system as well. – Adding ratings and reviews to your business page https://www.facebook.com/help/589747184405742

Twitter:  Start a hashtag like #yourbusinessnamereviews so you can collect as many positive reviews that are easily searchable.  Favorite those tweets as well.  Research shows that positive tweets from customers lead to more business.

Yelp – Yelp may be the most challenging of review sites to master.  They have this super secret formula for what reviews they will make public or not.  For example, in my DJ company, we had 3 public reviews being shown and 10 hidden ones.  All of them were legitimate reviews of course, but the Yelp filter took them out.  But keep working at it.  Yelp shows up very high in Google so you want as many Yelp reviews that you can get.  For example, in the DJ market, our Yelp listing made it to the bottom of page 1 in Google.  Before we started with Yelp, the Yelp listing in Google didn’t even show up in that local DJ search.

How do you get those filtered or hidden reviews to show up?  The number 1 way is to get your customer more involved in other Yelp reviews.  Respond to the review, friend the customer on Yelp, like the review and send them a message through Yelp asking them to review other businesses.  Yelp is suspicious of reviewers that sign up, leave one review and never return to the site.  Those reviews will likely be hidden.  Hidden reviews can come back to life, show up publicly and then disappear again!  Yelp even has a policy against asking the customer directly for reviews!….the only review site that I know of that has that policy!  That’s a “policy” that I say you need to bend…keep asking your happy customers to review you on Yelp!  Here is an article with more tips on filtered reviews in Google and on Yelp:  http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2013/06/27/the-afterlives-of-filtered-google-plus-and-yelp-reviews/  In one study of Yelp by the Harvard Business School an increase of just one star for a restaurant lead to a 5 to 9% increase in revenue.  http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6833.html

Hubspot is a great resource for all kinds of online marketing knowledge.  Here is a great article from them on getting more reviews:  http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31852/A-Marketer-s-Guide-to-Accumulating-Awesome-Online-Reviews.aspx and the 20 places Hubspot recommends being listed on:  http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33741/12-Places-Businesses-Should-Be-Collecting-Online-Reviews.aspx

Here is a great chart showing top review sites and their importance for ranking  http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/local-review-site-comparison1.pdf and actually here is the link to the entire article, which is awesome!  http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2013/10/24/comparison-of-local-review-sites-where-should-you-focus-now/

Great article on what not to do and examples of review landing pages:  http://www.iacquire.com/blog/get-more-reviews-without-becoming-an-outlaw

Surveys can be a great way to get feedback and reviews for your company.  Here are a couple of links to some free options:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/ & http://www.freeonlinesurveys.com/

For a free quick start guide to leveraging the power of legitimate online reviews and 12 free email, letter and web page templates, download it here.

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One Of The Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make!

advertising1Check out this short article from Entrepreneur.com!  It highlights a mistake I’ve seen many businesses make.  Remember this when advertising:  Pay for results!

Thousands of dollars of hard-earned cash is wasted by many small businesses every month!  A business may seem to be doing well, but if the owners and managers don’t know where the business is coming from, they could be blowing a lot of cash.  Cash that could be used in so many other ways.

Always, always, always, measure results!  Ask your clients and customers how they heard about you and your business.  Include this question in your online checkout system or as part of your lead generation system.  This is why pay-per-click advertising on the internet is so effective.  You actually know that a potential client looked at your ad or website, and with conversion tracking tools, you can tell whether that click turned into a paying customer or not.

Never buy advertising through the mail, email, internet, or especially by phone unless you have thoroughly researched the expense and the results other advertisers have received from it.  Many businesses go broke buying into useless internet directories, city maps, placemats, and more.  Many of these companies are operating legally, but are basically a scam in my book.

Advertise with trusted marketing channels you know and that have a proven track record.  If someone wants to sell you an unknown performing ad, offer to pay them per phone call, per website click, per order or to give you a free trial.  If their answer is no, then so should your response to purchasing that ad!

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Free Small Business Marketing

shutterstock_146762978 (800x572)Free Small Business Marketing.  This article really should be called Free Small Business Marketing Tips Old School Style.  Yes, I deliberately left out online and social media tools…which are many and will require a future post.  The point is these classic or “old school” marketing techniques still can work even with todays heavy online marking focus.

So are you sales in a slump?  Want to increase your revenue?  The challenges that small businesses face are unique, especially when it comes to marketing and sales.  Whether you are thinking about starting a business or have been in business for many years, try some of these simple, yet powerful techniques:

–          Give.  Donate your product, service or cash to a worthy cause that you feel passionate about and get your business positive recognition and publicity, plus you can make a huge difference!

–          Contests.  Hold a unique contest to win a gift certificate to your business.  Advertise and issue press releases to the local media to create attention.

–          Database.  Offer your customers or potential customers to join a preferred member club for free.  Email or mail out special member only offers to that list.

–          Expand your markets.  Offer to sell your product or service outside of your city either with a website, fusion marketing, independent sales representatives, etc.

–          Network.  Always have your business cards with you ready to hand out or put on a free bulletin board.  Join a business association, Chamber of Commerce or other local business group.

–          Teach.  Teach a class or speak to local groups on a subject related to your business.  Make it informative, not an advertisement.

–          Write.  Write an article or press release related to your business and submit it to local papers and media.  Make it informative, not an advertisement.

–          Consultations and Demonstrations.  Offer potential customers a no-obligation, free consultation or demonstration of your product or service.  Many will want to do business with you.

–          Barter.  Trade your product or service for advertising or join a barter club and use the credits to buy advertising.

–          Sample.  Giveaway free samples of your product or a smaller version of your service to potential customers.  Make it a free, no-obligation offer, however, if they like your product, many of them will buy from you.

For a free quick start guide to leveraging the power of legitimate online reviews and 12 free email, letter and web page templates, download it here.

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What Type of Small Business Should I Start?

Make your passion your business

What type of small business should I start?  That is the question you may have pondered for a while.  The quick answer is to make your passion your business.  For example, I started my DJ business because I loved being a DJ.  I couldn’t imagine a more fun business then that.  Over the years my passions have changed and I eventually sold my DJ company….to someone that was also very passionate about it!

Here is a quick entrepreneur idea test

The key to finding the answer to the question “What type of small business should I start?” is to ask yourself different questions.  Give yourself just 2 minutes to answer each of these questions (Your answers will be just as good if you write whatever comes to mind quickly as opposed to analyzing them for hours):

  1. What are 5 things or activities that you love to do, that you are passionate about?  These are things you could do for hours and hours every day, year after year, even without pay.
  2. What are 5 things or activities you are really good at without a lot of effort or preparation?  These are things that other people tell you that you do well and/or that they find difficult to do.
  3. What do you feel is absolutely essential for you to do in your lifetime?  The things that you feel you must do while you are alive.  What do you dream about doing?
  4. If time and money was not an issue, what are the things that you would be doing?
  5. What resources, special knowledge, training or experience do you already have?

Now look at your list.  What is the number one theme running through all of your answers?  What one thing or activity did you list the most?  This will be your primary aim and could be you answer to “What type of small business should I start?”

Now what is the 2nd and 3rd most listed?  Maybe one of these is a better answer to “What type of small business should I start”?  Then ask this question, what are you willing to give?  What are you willing to do to achieve this goal?  How committed are you?  What is your intention to create?

“When you value the freedom and opportunity of starting your business more than the comfort of your current position, then you will take the leap.”  Tom Kenemore

You are unique.  Other people don’t have the same passions, desires and expertise that you have.  What you may know how to do blindfolded, others may not have a clue where to start.  This can be a clue to your small business destiny.

Solve a problem!  If you or someone else says “Someone should do something about that.”  That is another clue to a potential business.  As you go through your day, what frustrates you or your friends, what things should be available in the market?  Could there be an app for that?

“Every challenge has the seed of an equal or greater opportunity”.

When you have an answer to “What type of small business should I start?”  Ask yourself these clarifying questions:  Is there a market for your business idea, product or service?  Is selling to that market feasible?  Is there a low-cost way to reach enough potential buyers for your product or service?  I recommend focusing and specializing in a narrow niche.  Keep it as simple as possible.  Jack of all trades is the master of no trade.  If your business starts out complicated, the likely hood of failure is higher.  Be a star at what you do, not a nebula.  Grow rich in a niche.

BONUS TIP:  Look for a market of fanatics, collectors, or raving fans about your area of interest.  These markets can often be easier to break into.

I hope this helps you answer the question “What type of small business should I start?”  Subscribe below to get notified when I post a new article!

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