*** Course Updated, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015 ***
Many of your customers - and future customers - practically live online every day.
They text. They Tweet. They search for goods and services and, sometimes, they'll leave reviews for restaurants; coffee shops; florists; heating and cooling repairmen; plumbers; lawyers; accountants and more.
Your company - whether you're a local start-up; "Mom and Pop" shop or is starting to grow with a larger customer base and more employees - needs to protect and improve its online reputation.
One of the best ways is by earning positive reviews from customers and clients through online review websites such as Yelp, Manta, Google+ Local, Bing Local and many others.
Positive online reviews offer social proof that your company provides excellent products and services to its customers. It tells other potential customer "buy from this company" or "visit this restaurant!"
On the other side, customers can also leave your company a negative review which can quickly cause your business' online reputation to go sour.
In this course, we'll focus on how you and your business can earn positive reviews from customers.
We'll explain how online review websites work and how businesses and customers rely on these websites; how your business can claim, confirm and optimize your online review profile for better rankings; which online review websites your company should target, and, most importantly, proven and inexpensive tips and techniques you can implement in order to earn more positive reviews for your business.
In this course, our primary goal is to help you and your business earn positive reviews with online review websites, such as Yelp, Google+ Local and many others.
Along the way, we’ll also discuss:
Grab your favorite beverage; get ready to take some notes and let's continue with our course "Online Reputation Management: Earning Positive Reviews."
Whether you’re a business or a customer, you’ve probably have either glanced, read or even left a review for a business; or a dentist; the plumber or someone else.
Online business review websites typically rank high in Google search results, especially Google+ Local (previously Google Places and Google Maps); Yelp; CitySearch; Manta; Angie’s List and many others.
Here’s how they work:Individuals – better known as customers (that’s you and I) – use online review websites for different reasons: to find a business; check for coupons, discounts or deals, and to leave reviews.
Businesses use (or at least they need to) online review websites for a variety of reasons, including:
Reviews are just a part of online review websites. Overall, the major goal of a customer is to find your business and the major goal of a business is to help customers find you.
here are many, many, many online review websites. Some new ones hang around and a few here and there drop off as review websites are supported by advertising dollars.
A few of the popular ones include:
The primary reasons customers use online review websites isn't because they want to leave reviews.
Actually, the MAIN reason customers use Yelp, Google+ Local and other online review websites is to find businesses!
Most, as you will find out, are using smartphones and many of the online review websites have apps making it easier for customers to search based on various parameters. This can include location; zip code; type of business and other searching options.
The second reason customers use online review websites is to find discounts, coupons and deals.
Then, the third reasons customers use online review websites is to read and leave reviews.
Businesses use online review websites so they can be found.
While your business may be ranked high in Google, every profile you claim and set up within the various online review websites is like creating an additional mini website for your company. All of these additional "websites" give customers another opportunity to find you.
Yes, great reviews are nice to receive, but you need to be found first!
Claiming your business profile and adding important information about your business is a critical part of creating and protecting your online reputation.
In addition, by adding accurate, detailed and complete information to your business profile, you're also helping your business improve its overall search engine rankings in Google and other search engines. This is known as search engine optimization.
Consider this: Your website is ranked on local keywords in Google It might be ranked in the Top 10 search results of Google or on the second page, etc. By claiming your profile in Yelp, Bing, Google Places, etc., you have created 25 "mini" versions of your website - all of which give your customers 25 additional opportunities to find your business. In addition, these profiles will all include a link pointing back to your primary business website, which can help improve your overall search engine ranking for your site. This is known as link building (which is the process of publishing a link on another website which points back to your website).
This lecture helps you go through the process of claiming and confirming your profile with online review websites.
In order to gain the attention of Google (and other search engines) and earn potentially higher rankings in search engines for your business, it is critical that your business information is accurate and consistent across all profiles you create.
Because of this reason - and to help ensure you are consistent in completing your business profiles with accurate information, be sure to download and use the informational sheet we have added here for you to use.
As you will see, review websites and mapping services varying in the types of information they seek. You will greatly improve your ranking within each site - and within search engines - by providing and completing ALL fields within your profile.
This lecture goes into great detail about the importance of why - and how - to complete AND optimize your online review website profile for your business.
There are many online review websites – some are good; have lots of users and rank high in search engines.
Since there are so many, we have helped you narrow the list to the "Top 25" must have online review websites for your business.
This lecture contains a complete list of the Top 25 for you to download. It also includes the exact URL that points you to the first step in claiming your profile for your business.
As you claim, confirm and optimize your online review profiles, the next thing you’ll want to do is to start promoting them.
We’re not talking advertising or spending additional marketing funds. Instead, you’ll want to avoid the “if you build it, they will come” scenario by letting current customers and clients know of your new profiles.
This section introduces some simple techniques that you can implement to drive customers to your profile and, with a little encouragement, they’ll leave your business a positive review. Remember, reviews show social proof to potential customers.
Over the past year or so I have seen some great examples of businesses wanting to make sure customers are happy. Now only does this tip help prevent negative reviews, but it also helps businesses earn positive reviews.
There is a right way and a wrong way to go about asking customers for online reviews.
Here's a hint: Do NOT ask customers for reviews.
As a result of claiming and confirming your online review profile, a few of the websites will send you window stickers and signs that you can use to market your profile.
In this lecture, we'll cover how you can obtain these visual ads and use them to inform customers. This will ultimately help customers find your online review website profile and, perhaps, they'll leave you a positive review.
This is a cool, unique and effective tip that you can utilize in helping your business earn more positive online reviews.
Watch this lecture to learn about this technique.
Sending thank you notes is a lost art.
People don’t frequently send thank you notes anymore and that’s a shame. Anytime anyone does anything good for you; does something for you; gives you a gift or, better yet; spends money at your place of business, that is the ideal time to send a sincere thank you note.
The best thank you note is a hand-written note on stationary (and this could be company stationary or notecards) and mailed via snail mail – that means by the post office with postage. No texting! And no Facebook messaging.
This lecture offers two "technology" based tips - one involves adding some new icons and links to your website, while the other suggests making a minor update in within your e-mail preferences. Both of these ideas will help drive more traffic to your online review website profiles and, in turn, help you earn more online reviews.
I want to thank you for purchasing, downloading and reviewing our course on “Online Reputation Management: Earning Positive Reviews.”
I hope you have found this course to be helpful in securing your business’ online profiles that you will start using some of the techniques and ideas presented here to earning more positive reviews.
Remember, if you have any questions, use the conversation sections within this course to ask. I’m an e-mail junkie and I’ll get back with you right way and help you with any questions or concerns you have.
Why Isn’t My Customer’s Review Appearing In Yelp?
One of the most confusing element in Yelp (and one of the features businesses and customers complain about the most) is hidden reviews.
Sometimes, customers leave reviews for businesses and they are hidden from appearing on the main profile page for customers. Yelp instead places them in a section stating “X other reviews that are not currently recommended” (with “X” representing the number of reviews that Yelp doesn’t recommend).
Why? What this lecture to learn more about why some reviews are hidden.
How well do you know the steps you need to claim, confirm and optimize online review profiles for your business? Take this quiz and let's make sure you're on the right path to earning more positive reviews.
Sometimes, businesses have been known to try to tip the scales in their favor when it comes to earning more positive reviews for their company by seeking fake reviews.
I would highly and strongly recommend that you do not do this!
Most consumers can spot fake reviews, especially when there are a lot of 5-STAR reviews on your profiles. In addition, purchasing fake reviews can get you into a lot of trouble with online review websites.
There are now more opportunities for small business owners to build more positive reviews thanks to Facebook.
In our latest lecture update to this course, we take a look at the Facebook Editor.
Here, you can make suggestions or edits for improvements for businesses and place pages within the Facebook garden.
I have over 15 years of online reputation management and search engine optimization experience working with a variety of local, national and international businesses in helping them improve their online reputation; earn better customer reviews and obtain higher rankings in Google and other search engines.
Previously, I worked as a self-employed, software consultant and trainer helping law firms and lawyers understand new technology and upgrade their network systems and software programs.
My background also includes 13 years as a newspaper sports writer and news reporter.
I am currently the Vice President of Mountain Woods Media, LLC.