18 Small Business Tips For Local Business Reviews Online

18 Small Business Tips For Local Business Reviews Online

September 13, 2014 0 By Sophia

Get a step-up on your local competitors with a proactive strategy for local online business reviews.

Online interactivity has changed the landscape of local business marketing. The stage is rapidly moving online and the consumer plays a supporting role.

Local brand marketers and small businesses need to understand and embrace this reality to remain competitive.

Local online business reviews (and ratings) featured on search engines and business directories impact consumer impressions and actions.

Here’s what you need to know to form a proactive strategy:


    1. Simply having business reviews on the search engines or interactive directories like Yelp, InsiderPages, Citysearch, Yellowbot, Openlist, Kudzu, CityVoter, JudysBook, SuperPages, Dex Knows, Yellow Book, and Yellow Pages boosts your local search ranking in Yahoo and Google.


    1. Interactive directories like Yelp allow you to join the online conversation about your business—you can address complaints publicly (and directly) and thank customers privately through the Yelp interface. Yelp is growing faster than the internet yellow pages (IYP’s) and has become the industry model.


    1. Online reviews inform you about customer experiences and provide actionable business intelligence.


    1. Leverage raving reviews in web assets like your website or social media profiles. For example, Carpet Dry Cleaning Inc of Raleigh, N.C. has 1,282 customer reviews presented in their Google Maps business listing! How did they do it? On the homepage of their website they actively promote the fact that they are rated #1 on Citysearch with 1,562 online reviews, 1,366 of which are rated Five Stars.


    1. Offer customers an incentive in the form of a discount for creating a review if they are happy with your service. This tactic tends to generate positive customer reviews due to the quid pro quo nature of the transaction.


    1. Entice customers to write online reviews by automatically enrolling them in a giveaway or drawing.


    1. If your Google Maps business listing only has a handful of reviews and they are all negative, encourage loyal customers to write online reviews to dilute the negative-only impression.


    1. Two important realities to understand about online customer reviews; 1) You can’t remove negative reviews, 2) You might not be able to find out who the review is from.


    1. Having positive reviews ONLY is a negative. Negative reviews do not hurt a product/service as long as there are also positive reviews associated with it.


    1. Negative reviews are good for business.


    1. DO NOT create your own online business reviews. Posting fake reviews of your own business is a quick way to lose your listing and destroy your business reputation online. One New York company was forced to pay $300,000 for fake online reviews.


    1. A negative business review provides you the opportunity to engage an unsatisfied customer and correct the problem. Turning nasty in response to negative reviews just reflects poorly on your business and does nothing to convince people to trust you above the negative reviewer.


    1. Encouraging customers to share their experiences in online reviews builds trust and loyalty. Ask your customers for reviews in a follow-up email or online newsletter. Link to your business listing’s review section in a specific directory or search engine listing.


    1. Politely ask your customers for reviews in company stationary or documentation—including invoices, receipts, and thank you cards. Direct them to a specific URL(s). Use a URL shortener if appropriate.


    1. Google displays citations from consumer protection websites like Ripoffreport.com within Google Maps’ business listings. If you find your business in this predicament, file a rebuttal on the Rip Off Report article and engage the complainant directly.


    1. Your company and product/service perception is not what you say it is anymore, but what Google says it is.


    1. If you suspect a competitor has posted a negative review on Google Maps, encourage loyal customers to simply flag the questionable review as ina
      , stating the reasons why, and then encourage them to post their own positive experience. What if your ex-wife is posting fictitious reviews?


  1. Monitor your online reviews by subscribing to Google Alerts or the new reputation management tool by Marchex, featuring “every blurb, blog, comment, critique and glowing review about your business.”


This hilarious video about online customer reviews sums it up (h/t, Get Elastic):




Not every business is as glamorous as Tiffany & Co. or as admirable as Apple. Most businesses require an exceptional commitment to customer service in order to increase market share and out-market local competitors.

Get a step-up on your local competitors with a proactive strategy for local online business reviews.