Controlling Your Online Reputation

by Geoff Frink

How Pool Builders Should Leverage Social Proof through Online Reviews

If you own a business, odds are you already have some reviews online. Reviews are unavoidable, and every business should have a plan of action when it comes to fielding them. Positive reviews can grow a business, increase interest, improve conversions and in the long run help organic search rankings, but adversely negative reviews can do a lot of unseen damage.

Why Are Reviews Important?

Leads, sales and signups are arguably the most important part of running a business, and online reviews can make or break conversions. Especially in the pool industry, most consumers will do research before making a big decision like which builder to go with. And your reviews affect the trust needed to do business. In fact, 88% of consumers agree a positive or negative review increases their chances of purchasing a good or service.
Also, although never confirmed by Google or Bing, evidence suggests positive reviews affect your organic search rankings. Positive reviews are commonly displayed prominently on most organic search results. In the 2014 MOZ Local Search Ranking Factors, industry marketers were surveyed on search ranking influencers, and those experts believe review signals (quantity/quality) make up a significant amount of the ranking factors.

What You Should Aim For

Below is an example of what your customers should see when they google your business name. If you do a good job getting customer reviews from many of the review sites, they won’t even feel it necessary to read them. Social proof is very persuasive.
google

How do I drive reviews?

How do we do it? First is the obvious, make sure you have happy customers! Unfortunately, someone has to really feel passionately about your business to take time out of his or her day to write about it, and anger is a stronger emotion than happiness. Since unhappy consumers are more likely to review you, a business owner must constantly strive to identify both satisfied and unsatisfied clientele. This can be done by surveys or reaching out to your clients periodically. If they’re unhappy, take the time to locate and solve the issue before lobbying for reviews.

Which Review Sites Should You Focus On?

Here are the most popular review sites that often show up on the first page of Google. Keep in mind that you must first create a profile on these sites before you can solicit reviews.
Google+ for Business
Yelp
Facebook
Better Business Bureau
Houzz
Yellow Pages
Keep in mind with almost all of these sites, the user leaving the review will need to have an account. For instance, to leave a Google review, a user must have a gmail account. And to leave a Yelp review, a user must be registered with Yelp. Find out what accounts your customers have, and send them to the most appropriate one.

Tactics on Getting Reviews

Now that we know where we are focusing our efforts, and have the ability to interact with the community, it’s time to encourage positive reviews. Below are some of the tactics we’ve found to be successful.
1) Create a Page On Your Website
Creating a stand-alone page that includes links to your review profiles with a call-to-action has been proven to drive reviews. This page can be linked to the end of a survey, as an e-mail signature, or sent out bi-yearly.
Here is an example. The owner can email customers this link and ask them how they did.
*Hint* – the “Good” button directs them to Google to leave a review, and the “Not So Good” button leads them to a contact form on their site to provide feedback to the owner.
cascade-review-768x605
2) Link to your Review Site Often
Instead of creating a designated page, you can create a graphic or button that links to your review sites, respectively, and attach this to your sidebars or footer. This will give the consumer an option to leave a review from anywhere on your site.
3) Business Cards
Business cards are meant to be informative and representative of your business, but since we update them rarely review sites tend to be left off, but are important to include. Leaving the URL on a business card does one of two things: encourages the recipient to visit the site before a purchase and gives a satisfied consumer the opportunity to leave a positive review.
4) Flyers
Handing out a flyer with simple instructions can be a successful tactic whether you are trying to start a review site from scratch, or increase the flow of good, fresh reviews.
5) E-mail/Newsletter
If you send out newsletters periodically a link to your review site should be imperative. Providing the consumer with good content after providing a great service, and then asking for a review will yield positive results. For instance, a gym can send a newsletter filled with recipes/work-outs and adding a review site link in the conclusion.
6) Simply Askr
This is probably the single most overlooked, yet cost-effective review driving method. At the end of every sale, every professional should inquire if the goods or service were satisfactory. If the answer is positive simply ask them if they would be so kind as to post that on the review site. In this case, you could follow up with an e-mail (review web-page) as a reminder, or any of the above tactics.

Strategies for Yelp

Yelp has their own algorithm to suppress reviews. Business owners hate this because often the reviews that get suppressed are the 5 star reviews. We have researched this and have found several ways you can help get past the Yelp filter. The more of these your customers use, the better chance the review will stick. Check out our complete guide on http://www.poolbuilder-marketing.com/beating-yelp/.
1) Use a mobile device – have your customers login to the Yelp app from their phone to leave the review.
2) Lengthy review – try to go for 2-3 paragraphs. Longer the better.
3) Have the user check in, upload a photo, or bookmark your listing.
4) If your customer is near your business when they leave the review, that is another factor that Yelp looks at.
5) Yelp users that have left reviews for other businesses and that have “friends” on Yelp are more likely to get their reviews to stick.

It’s a Long Haul

As with most things, it’ll improve over time, but it should be considered a necessity. The natural progression of client reviews is a slow process, but the information above will certainly give you options that can be executed over a long period of time. If properly maintained and utilized your review-ratings and bottom-line will positively reflect your efforts.
geoff

About The Author

Geoff Frink is the co-founder of Pool Builder Lead Rocket. Geoff’s passion revolves around working with clients to improve their online presence in order to sell more pools.

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