Everyone knows that “it takes money to make money”. Especially when it comes to marketing our businesses. Chances are good that you get calls every day from someone wanting to sell you ads on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, radio, T.V., Yellow Pages, newspapers, magazines, restaurant table tops, grocery basket ads or even wrapping your truck.
Let’s assume that you are just sticking to an online presence. Search engine optimization, Pay Per Click advertising, and social media are expensive and time-consuming. Getting a top local ranking doesn’t guarantee leads or sales.
Being seen by the right people at the right time is only half the challenge. Even if you’re the top listing, you’re still competing with all the other listings on the page.
Over 86% of consumers say they read reviews for local businesses and they read an average of 10 reviews before they feel like they trust the business. And trust they do. Over 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The question is; who do they trust more. You or your competitors?
Your Business has a Problem.
Why is a handful of your competitor’s businesses booming?
Building your brand is becoming more important than ever. When you build your brand online and off, you get more love from Google. The more love you get from Google the more people find you. Brands have more weight because a brand is perceived as being trusted. This is one of the ways the search engines and social media platforms are fighting fake news. In theory, brands are less likely to push out fake news.
Another explanation lies within the following statistics.
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34) *
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business *
- 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year *
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars *
- 80% of 18-34-year-olds have written online reviews compared to just 41% of consumers over 55 *
- 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations *
- 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews *
People trust your successful competitors more than they trust you.
I know it sucks to hear that. You can do everything right. You can deliver exactly what you promise – even over-deliver and your customers just don’t tell enough people to make much of a difference.
None of us leave home without three things. Our keys, wallet/purse and, our phone. At our fingertips, we have “the Google machine” to find answers to our questions. Everything from “how to get rid of bunions” to “dentist near me” to “Bob’s plumbing”. We type with our thumbs or ask with our voice. Either way, Google delivers an answer. And the secret to online success lies within these results.
Depending on the keywords that your business should be found under and the industry you are in, you may not be ranked high in Google. You may not be able to afford to be in the top paid ads on the page. There are a lot of competitors all fighting for one of the 3 spots that are featured on the map and a couple of expensive pay per click ads.
You need something to make you stand out and get noticed.
None of this has anything to do with your website. In fact, most people who search find local business listings on the maps at a property called Google My Business. This is as far as a majority of people go in their search for who to do business with. Why? Because everything they need to judge you is right there. Contact information, service area or a map to your location and your REPUTATION.
You may be paying for some of the new customers your competition does business with.
Wait. What? I know, right. Let me give you a couple of examples.
We all know that word of mouth marketing is the very best form of advertising you can get. But it is not always free. You go to networking meetings. You pay dues, take a couple of hours out of your day so you can eat the same meal week after week. The skincare salesperson gives the same “a good lead for me is anyone with skin” 60 second commercial every damn week. You tell the same people your story in hopes that they will run across someone at the moment they are looking for you. Hopefully, they will pass your name on.
You have a magnetic sign on your vehicle or even have your truck wrapped. You drive down the street and a lot of people see it. You have your phone number and web address in a HUGE font. Your business name is memorable and you have an awesome logo.
What these examples have in common is that when people see or hear about a business they remember the name. They don’t remember the web address or phone number. So when it is time to look you up later, they search for your name or your industry related words.
They use Google to look up your name because they need a phone number to call or an address to go to your shop.
Anyone who searches for your business sees what other people’s perception of it is. The good, the bad or the meh, no one even bothers to write about it. These days the customer’s voice is louder and has more of an effect than ever. Customer reviews are trusted and are spread around the internet.
This IS your reputation and this IS the critical moment where new business is first won or lost. Online ratings and reviews are the number one deciding factor when looking for local products and services. In fact, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34) *. Check your reputation.
Do You Stand Out from the Crowd?
If you have nothing that stands out and encourages the potential customer to call you, why would they? At a glance, they look for your Google or Yelp or TripAdvisor or any industry-specific site that has a bunch of gold stars. Not only do the stars catch the eye, but they also give an instant vote of confidence in your business. Without the gold Stars, a lot of people will simply change their opinion of you and search for someone else. Now instead of searching for your name, they search for something like “water extraction near me” or “water damage repair in Chandler”. The search results will show them a competitor with a reputation that other people TRUST. A competitor of yours that has a better, more trustworthy reputation than you do.
What just happened is that you spent the money to attract potential new customers and your reputation drove them right into the open and embracing arms of your competitor.
Reviews are so important that the search engines have made them a part of the ranking factors. Just having a lot of good, reviews isn’t all it takes to get to the top of the local search results page but it is one of the pieces that’s required. Google likes brands that people are talking about.
As frustrating as it can be, it makes a lot of sense. Who would you rather do business with? One whose customers only think they should be rated 2.3 stars or one that has 4.5 stars. This is especially true if the business with a higher rating has more reviews. Of course the more current the reviews the more confidence it instills in potential new customers that the rating is accurate. 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year *
What’s the first impression of your business?
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, if you don’t have at least 6-10 recent reviews you are either getting crushed by competitors or you will be as soon as they get a clue. Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business *
Even if you have a lot of reviews, if they are not current – in the consumer’s mind, a lot can happen to a business in a couple of months or even weeks. New owners, new management, new employees… or whatever. It’s worth repeating, 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year * and this number is bound to keep growing.
Why your customers don’t leave reviews Even if you have a lot of reviews, if they are not current – in the consumer’s mind, a lot can happen to a business in a couple of months or even weeks. New owners, new management, new employees… or whatever. It’s worth repeating, 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year * and this number is bound to keep growing.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
Look, everyone gets a bad review. You can’t make everyone happy all the time. And let’s face it, when people are pissed off they are most likely to write a review. Have you ever “done what you do” for a customer and then find out from a bad review that for some reason the customer was not happy? Rather than talk to you, they wrote a bad review?
The point is, people are people. They may be taking their frustration of the moment out on you. If they are angry or in some way feel slighted in the moment they are much more likely to write a bad review. And chances are very good that the review is not going to get removed. Not unless the review includes personal attacks or is filled with hate language. Hiring a lawyer is really hit and miss as well as expensive.
57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars *. The best way to deal with OLD complaints may be to do nothing but get good new reviews to dilute their value. If you have 20, 30 or 50 reviews and one of them is bad it gives the customer a better overall impression of the business than if you have three reviews and one of them is bad.
Ok, so it’s hard to get reviews. It can be uncomfortable for some business owners and their employees to ask for a review. It might be that you are just not comfortable asking to be judged. The truth of the matter is that if you just consistently ask your customers to review you, some of them will. And we know that the benefits of getting reviews are great. They bring in new customers from people who don’t trust your competitor based on their reputation. They help you get found on the maps. Did I mention that recent studies show 91% of the people in their “buying years” trust online reviews from strangers almost as much as from friends and family?
Why your customers don’t leave reviews
According to our most recent study of a cross-section of consumers, even if you ask for reviews, there are three good reasons why they don’t write a review for you.
- They forget to
- The process to review is too hard
- They are too busy and it takes too much time
So let’s take a look at each of these one at a time.
They forget to write a review- We all do it. Once the work is completed to our satisfaction we go on with our lives. Out of site, out of mind.
The process of writing a review is too hard to do. I don’t know any review sites that allow a customer to post a review without an account. This means that even if someone wants to give you a review and they don’t have a Yelp or Google or FaceBook account they have to sign up for one. Then they have to learn how to use the site, find your company and write a review. Even if they do have an account it can be a learning experience to try and figure out how to leave a review. Most of the time, Yelp won’t even show the review because the account is new. It’s really frustrating for you and maddening for the customer.
They are busy and it takes too much time to be bothered with writing a review. Just like the process is too hard it can also take too much time. I know for me, It’s rare that I get home at the end of the day and look back on the transactions I had during the day, squeezed in between appointments, errands, and work. Even if I do think of the transaction, chances are really good that I am not going to take the time away from family to figure out how to write a review.
The simple answer to getting more reviews is to ask for them right when the job’s completed. No matter if you just served a rebuilt a house or cleaned the carpet, the ideal time is while it is fresh on their mind. Just asking for reviews will get you more reviews than you have been getting.
A lot of people are uncomfortable asking for a review. Many employees are uncomfortable or forget to ask. Usually, it is because they are not held accountable for asking for reviews and no one keeps track of them. Keep asking because if you don’t ask chances are really good that you won’t get a review – Unless the customer is unhappy. Unhappy customers are emotionally charged and are much more likely to write a bad review than a customer who is just satisfied.
The trick to getting new customers to call or walk in the door is to maximize all the advertising you do by making it the most effective it can be. The ONLY way to make your paid ads, organic listings, offline advertising and word of mouth marketing perform to their highest level is by building an excellent online reputation.
Nothing is more powerful than visual proof! The trick to getting new customers to call or walk in the door is to maximize all the advertising you do by making it the most effective it can be. The ONLY way to make your paid ads, organic listings, offline advertising and word of mouth marketing perform to their highest level is by building an excellent online reputation.
How do I build a reputation that is 100% trustworthy?
I started out by saying we have all been sold on the concept of it takes money to make money. Yes it is very important to market and advertise our businesses. But hopefully, you can see that your reputation doesn’t really cost you anything in additional funds but it could be costing you a lot of money if you ignore it. Building and protecting your reputation can cost you a lot of time and effort.
mezinGO puts trust building into your control. Your reputation instills trust with your potential customers even before they contact you. Trust that can’t be bought by any form of advertising.
mezinGO makes it as easy and comfortable as sending a text to ask for a review. It even tracks the requested reviews by employees so you can see who is asking and how they are performing.
Your customers are much more likely to leave you a review since they don’t have to download an app. or join anything.
When you ask the customer to review you they are one click away from the review page on your site. If they choose to leave you a positive review they are greeted with a video of you or a professional actor, who thanks them for their review and quickly instructs them on how to easily leave a review.
If they were unsatisfied they are presented a video message of concern from you asking for their feedback so you can address the issue. This helps keep negative reviews off public sites like Yelp for all the world to see. Because the form is sent directly to you, you can quickly respond and demonstrate how much you really care about them and their business.
One side benefit to getting reviews this way is that the more people that come to your site and the longer they engage with the site the more the search engines like you. It helps them determine that you have something that interests people. This is a contributor to better rankings in the search engine results pages.
Nothing is more powerful than visual proof!
Let’s deal with the issue of how hard it is to leave a review. Sometimes it is hard because people don’t know what to write. For some people, typing a message using the little keyboard on a phone is difficult.
Some people would rather talk about you than write a message. We have built-in a one-lick process that will open a camera on your customer’s phone without installing anything, so they can leave a video message. And when you get people talking, they leave longer more detailed messages. Some folks may even use this to show off the great work you have just finished.
mezinGO gathers your reviews from all of the major sites, Google, Yelp, Angies List, Trip Advisor, and many more. These are added (after your approval) to a page that’s been search optimized on your site You know when new reviews are posted to public sites so you can easily thank the customer for their business and review.
After you approve a text or video review for publication, it will be posted to the review page on your site and distributed to the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Because our bulk email/text system is so easy to invite people to review you, many businesses use it to reactivate past customers by asking them for their feedback – reminding them of the great experience they had with you last time.
mezinGO is for businesses that want to grow.
Timely, easy to send invitations and a management App that’s simple but packed with reporting and tracking features make Mezingo the business owner’s choice.
Getting started is easy with a 14-day free trial so you can get more word of mouth referrals and increase your revenue.
Mezingo – Real Reviews, Real Results, Real Easy