Geographically defining your target audience and optimizing your website for the local search engines are great ways to increase your online exposure. These local SEO techniques (among others) can significantly and immediately IMPACT your revenue line. However, merely creating business profiles on local search engines is what every company does today. In order to take the advanced journey down the local SEO road it is time we talk about — Reviews.
I’m sure that all of us have received some form of review throughout our business career. Whether it be from a boss during an annual review, a client talking with you about how great you have treated them, or any other variation of performance feedback. For what it’s worth, all of these allow you to improve your business through honest criticism (both positive and negative). Online reviews are much of the same; they can be given by customers, employees, other companies, and just about anybody with a computer. With that much fluctuation, how can you start to generate revenue from reviews today?
First and foremost, you need to have an understanding of which sites support an online review system. There are a slew of local search engines, and possibly even more hyper-local search engines for Connecticut. Not all of the provide a review system or social networking piece. However, there are several that stand out among the crowd when it comes to their review process and capabilities for the reviews. To make life a little easier for you, here is a list of sites which include great review systems:
I strongly suggest (if you haven’t already) that you create business profile pages on each one of the sites listed above to get the ball rolling. There are no excuses for your since the links are already pointing to their pages as well. Get to know the platform a little, and participate in the social networking already going on throughout the site.
Next, you have to understand that each and every review is simply a form of testimonial. These, however, are not the typical company confessions of confidence as not all of them will be spreading the good word of your company. Good, bad, or ugly you have the opportunity to collect information that will help your business. In fact, some of the local search engines will allow you to respond to the reviews! In other words, if someone submits a poor critique, you have the opportunity to convert someone who had a bad experience into a loyal client. That’s right; you get a second chance!
Third, you have to understand that you cannot just expect reviews to happen. Go out there an solicit for reviews! Send out e-mails to current clients, call customers and let them know where they can submit a review, ask for a review following a good phone call with a potential client that you have helped, mail out (or give out) a post-purchase satisfaction survey, and/or utilize a review call-to-action button in your newsletters.
Finally, you have to understand that reviews can make you money! Yes, we are finally getting to the hidden secret of reviews and why they are do darn important; they can create revenue for you. Positive reviews will allow local search engines to see that you are running a credible and respectable business. This translates to higher rankings on local search queries, and more click-throughs for your site. If you are able to convert that traffic into dollars, your reviews have just made you money that you wouldn’t have had before.
To wrap up our revenue from reviews article, I want to emphasize three things that you need to understand: (1) the local search engines that support review systems, (2) what a review is in reality, (3) how to go out there and get reviews, and (4) positive reviews and prompt review-replies create higher search rankings. Overall, reviews are a necessity when it comes to local search engine optimization. They allow you to demonstrate the quality of work your company provides, but they also (and most importantly) give you another opportunity to increase your online reputation and add revenue.