Online Reputation Management - How To Manage Your Reputation Online

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These days online reputation management has become a vital component in overall business promotion. Learn how you can manage your reputation online and get a head start over your competitors.

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Online Reputation Management - How To Manage Your Reputation Online

  1. 1. Intro There’s no doubt that more and more consumers are turning to review sites like Yelp, Google+, Foursquare and others when looking for businesses in their area. Because of this, the importance of review sites to business owners has increased exponentially, but not everyone is taking advantage of the huge opportunities presented by these sites. However, the local businesses that do leverage these sites correctly can see an increase in customers and revenue while those that don’t will only fall behind and may even go out of business entirely. This has left many local business owners very frustrated because while they know the importance of these sites, they are often unsure of how to take advantage of them and maximize their potential. That’s where this guide comes in. It has been specifically developed to show local business owners like you how to effectively and efficiently leverage sites like Yelp, Google+ and others. We are going to show you different strategies you can use to achieve 4 and 5 star ratings across the web and dominate your competition. The first thing we are going to go cover is just how important these sites are to local businesses, because once you know the jaw dropping statistics behind review sites you will be forced to take action. There has been a lot of research on how review sites affect local businesses and here are some of the most important findings. 1. A one star increase on Yelp can lead to a revenue increase of up to 9%. 2. 70% of people who read reviews share them with friends, family and colleagues amplifying their importance. 3. 70% of consumers have consulted the online reviews of local businesses before making a purchase decision.
  2. 2. 4. 69% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 5. Businesses with 50 or more reviews earn the most trust with consumers while 70% of consumers say a minimum of 6-10 reviews is required to earn any trust at all. So what does all this mean? Online reviews matter and they matter a lot. Okay, so now that we know how important online reviews are, where do we get started? Note* While this guide will focus primarily on Yelp, the tips and strategies we will cover can easily be applied to other review sites. Here is a list of some of the biggest review sites: Yelp Google+ Foursquare Yellow Pages Judy’s Book Yahoo City Search Insider Pages
  3. 3. Part 1: Building the Foundation Step 1: Claiming Your Listings The absolute first thing you must do is claim your business listings. Claiming your listings allows you to edit and update the information that is displayed on these sites. You simply cannot leverage Yelp or any other review site without first completing this step. Surprisingly, a shocking 50% of businesses have yet to do this. But don’t worry if you haven’t as were going to show you exactly what you need to do to get started. To claim your listing simply go to http://yelp.com and search for your business, once you find your business listing it should look similar to this (hopefully with a better rating). In the red box you will see a button that says “Work Here? Claim This Business” you want to click this. From there, just follow the steps to claim your listing. Once you have claimed it, you will retain ownership of this Yelp page and be able to edit it however you see fit.
  4. 4. If you cannot find your business listing then you need to set it up which can be done here: https://biz.yelp.com/ Step 2: Bling Out Your Listing Now that you have claimed your listing the next thing we want to do is fill it out with all the proper information. It’s important to think of a Yelp listing like a storefront that customers walk by every day. Would you want trash outside your business? Would you want dirt on the windows, chairs and tables? A broken sign on top of the building? No, of course not! Then why would you not take the time to properly fill out your Yelp listing? Your Yelp listing is like your storefront, but online. This is why it’s so important to make it look as professional as possible and represent your business in a positive light. You absolutely have to take the time to fill it out properly. For many potential customers, the only impression they will get about your business when making a purchase decision will be the one they get from your Yelp page. The more you fill it out, the less you are leaving to chance. Here is some of the typical information you can put into your listings: Hours of operation Pictures- not just 1-2 low quality ones. Use high quality images that represent your business professionally Address Phone number About your business And more
  5. 5. Note* Different review sites allow you to add different kinds of information. For example, if you’re a restaurant, some sites will allow you to upload a menu while others may not. Be sure to see what information you are able to post and be sure to post it. Once your listing has been filled out be sure have a friend or family member look it over and ask them what they think. And Make sure to double check for any typos or grammatical errors. Step 3: Set Up a Yelp Deal Now that we have our listing claimed and filled out with basic information we’re going to take it one step further. The next thing we want to do is set up a Yelp deal. Here is an example of what a Yelp deal looks like.
  6. 6. Having a deal on Yelp does two very important things. First, in the search results of Yelp you can see listings that have deals as seen in the image below. Because not all businesses do this, having a deal show up in the Yelp search results will help increase the number of customers that click through to your listing. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day everyone likes a deal and an opportunity to save money. The next benefit is Yelp has a search filter that allows its users to only show businesses that are offering a deal. Since most businesses don’t do this, when users apply this filer your listing has a much better chance of showing up at the top of Yelps search results. Be creative when creating a deal and be sure to check out your competitors to see what they are doing and for ideas on deals you can offer. Step 4: Sell Gift Certificates While it doesn’t make sense for all business types to sell gift certificates (construction for example), there are many businesses where it makes perfect sense to do this. If you already sell gift certificates, there’s simply no reason to not offer them on Yelp as well. You’re only giving potential customers more reason to come in and shop with you.
  7. 7. Now that you’ve completed these first 4 steps your listings should look immaculate. The great part about this is once it’s done, it’s done, and you shouldn’t have to come back to these steps very often, if ever. Part 2: Maintaining Your Listings The first part of this guide was primarily focused on the best way to set up your Yelp account. The next part of this guide is going to be focused on maintaining your listings properly. Step 5: Monitor Your Listings Monitoring your listings is very important because how can you expect to leverage them if you don’t know what’s going on with them. You should be checking in on all of your listings at least once every few days and preferably once a day for the major ones (Yelp, Google+ etc). While this can be time consuming and a little cumbersome it is an important first step to dominating Yelp (and other review sites). By checking your listings you will be able to see when new reviews come in and it will give you a better overall idea on how your online reputation is doing. If you want to save time there are services that allow you to monitor all your listings from a single location. Click here to check out one of our favorite review monitoring services.
  8. 8. Step 6: When a Customer Writes a Negative Review No matter how hard you try you simply can’t please every customer and even the greatest businesses get negative reviews from time to time. Sometimes it’s the businesses fault, other times the customer could just be having a bad day. Either way, it’s important to handle these negative reviews in a professional manner. Here are some tips on how to handle negative reviews: 1. Don’t respond immediately. Let’s face it, whenever someone bashes our business online it can be painful and our initial response is to be defensive and often times angry. That’s why it’s important to wait even just a few minutes after seeing a negative review before responding. This time allows you to calm down and clear your head. The last thing you want to do is respond to the review in all caps with profanity. 2. Private message or public response? Depending on the nature of the review it might be better to send a message to the individual that left the review. Read their review over carefully and think about how others will interpret it when viewing your Yelp page. Sometimes a private message is the most appropriate response to a negative review. 3. Address the reviewers issue in a calm, reasonable and professional manner. Regardless of how true or false the review is you must remain polite and respectful. Potential customers are going to see how you respond to this person and that will give them an impression on how your business operates.
  9. 9. Are you being rude and abrasive or polite and rational? Your goal here is to address their concerns and discredit their assessment. Yelpers weren’t born yesterday and most can spot an unreasonable and baseless rant when they see one. 4. Make Amends If there is any chance at saving the situation you can offer to remedy the problem the customer had. Offer them a freebie of some sort or anything else you think they might like. If you do this the customer might go back and change their original review to one that’s more favorable to your business. Step 7: Checkout Your Competitors Don’t be afraid to check out your competitors listings from time to time. This can give you insight into how they are doing and help give you ideas on what you can do better. As the saying goes “there’s no need to reinvent the wheel” so if you see them doing something good feel free to copy it.
  10. 10. Part 3: Dominating Yelp This is what you have all been waiting for. What are the steps you can take to get your customers to leave positive reviews about your business? In this section we are going to show you exactly how to get your customers to leave you good reviews on a consistent basis. In short, the best way to get Yelp reviews is pretty simple: ask for them! The only problem is it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back and are going to show you some of the easiest yet most effective ways to get your customers to leave you reviews! Step 8: Find Us! The first thing you can do which requires pretty much zero effort is putting up a “Find us on Yelp” sign in your location. They cost less than five bucks and it takes less than five minutes to set up. Even if one customer every six months sees this sign and decides to write a review it was worth it. But if you really want to dominate Yelp you’re going to have to do more then put up a “Find us on Yelp” sign.
  11. 11. Step 9: Review Pages One of the most effective ways we’ve helped local businesses generate reviews from their customers is through the use of a “review page”. Basically, a review page is a page you set up on your website that is designed to spread positive reviews around the web and keep negative reviews off of it. Here is an example of a review page created using ORM Builder. Your goal when creating a review page is to send as many customers as possible to it. We will explain later how to send customers here, but first lets explain how these pages work and why they are so great for local businesses.
  12. 12. An Unhappy Customer When you send a customer to your review page they are given two choices, they can click the happy face if they had a good experience or they can click the sad face if they had a bad experience. Because it’s impossible to know which category each customer falls into we have these two choices. So let’s say your customer had a bad experience and they click the sad face. Once they click the sad face they are shown a contact form they can fill out that goes directly to you. To get a better idea and see a functioning review page click here.
  13. 13. This works great because by sending this unhappy customer to your review page and having them fill out a contact form their frustration is expressed directly to you instead of on sites like Yelp and Google. To understand why this works so well it’s important to get in the head of an unhappy customer. Typically when a customer has a bad experience at a business they just want to be heard and express their frustration. Without a review page their only option is to use review sites like Yelp to express this frustration. But for local business owners that send their customers to a review page, this customer now has an alternative to Yelp. And because the business owner is in direct contact with the customer it gives them more options to remedy the situation. Another important note is negative feedback about your busin ess isn’t a bad thing; it’s only a bad thing when it gets posted online. Having customers send you negative feedback is a great way to get insight about your business, see problems you didn’t know existed and to improve your products/services.
  14. 14. A Happy Customer Now let’s go over what happens if your customer has a good experience. If they have a good experience at your business they click the happy face and are shown different review sites (chosen by you) where they can leave a review. Again, to see a fully functioning review page click here.
  15. 15. This is great because it gives your customers a choice on where to leave their feedback. Some customers prefer Yelp while others may prefer Google+, you could never know, but by sending them to your review page you let them pick out where they can leave their review. To understand why this works so well it’s important to get in the head of a happy customer. When a customer visits your business they expect good service. Because of this expectation, when they receive good service they often don’t think about leaving a review. Think about it, when was the last time you received good service and the first thing that came to your mind was to leave a good review online? But business owners that drive their customers to a review page can get these customers that otherwise wouldn’t leave a review to leave one. Driving Customers to Your Review Page The idea of a review page is great, but you’re probably wondering how to drive customers to this page because they aren’t going to find it on their own. As an example, let’s say you set up your review page on http://joedentist.com/feedback There are a few different ways we can send customers to your page now. The first is review cards. A review card is simply a postcard or business card you hand to your customer at some point during their visit that prompts them to go to your review page.
  16. 16. Here is an example of one: Simply create something similar to this and hand it to your customer. It can be when you give them their bill, when they are leaving your building or you can even send it by mail, just make sure they know your review page exists. You can even add your review page URL to the bottom of your receipts. Review cards work great because they give your customer a specific, actionable step they can take to leave you feedback and because you have a review page it doesn’t matter whether it’s positive or negative feedback. Another way to send customers to this page is through social media. You can post a Facebook status, a tweet or something else. As you can see, a review card paired with a review page is without a doubt the most powerful and effective way to spread positive reviews to Yelp and other review sites while keeping negative reviews offline. Imagine if you hand out just 5
  17. 17. review cards a day, that’s 150 per month and even if only a small percentage of your customers leave you reviews it adds up over time. If you’re looking for an easy way to set up your own review page we recommend using ORM Builder as you can create one with literally the click of a button. Step 10: Emailing Your Customers Another way to get your customers to leave you a positive review is to email them asking for one. While not all businesses are able to collect their customers email addresses, for the ones that do this is often an overlooked option. Simply send them an email and attach links to your business listings inside. Another reason we like ORM Builder is they have a built in emailer that allows you to send emails to dozens of your customers and insert links to your listings automatically. Below is an example email created and sent through their emailer.
  18. 18. Part 4: Other Thoughts Buying fake reviews Every business owner has probably thought of it and maybe even some you have done it but we highly recommend avoiding this at all costs. It simply isn’t worth it. Because Yelps main selling point is the authenticity and trust of its reviews they fight tooth and nail to protect this. They are getting much better at finding fake reviews and at punishing those that buy them. Take a look at the image below to see what can happen to your listing if you are caught buying fake reviews: The last thing you want is for this alert to show up on your listing. It will literally kill any chance you have of getting customers off Yelp.
  19. 19. Even worse than this alert is getting sued by Yelp. Yup you heard that correctly, Yelp has even sued people that have purchased fake reviews for their business. So no matter what people have told you, it is best to avoid purchasing Yelp reviews no matter what. The Yelp Filter The Yelp filter can frustrate business owners because sometimes legitimate, 5 star reviews are filtered from their listing. While you can’t do anything to un-filter these results it’s good to at least get an idea of how these filters work. Basically, all major review sites like Yelp have algorithms that automatically filter reviews they deem fake. Because they can’t check every review on every listing manually they need an automatic way to filter out what they believe are fake reviews. Here are some of the ways in which Yelp decides which reviews might be filtered From users who have written only one review From users that have little to no profile information Questionable objectivity- reviews that are strongly slanted positively or negatively Short reviews with few details Reviews written by friends, staff members or other unreliable sources Reviews where it looks like the reviewer has not actually been to the location While it can be frustrating dealing with the Yelp filter the best thing to do is to generate a constant flow of positive reviews for your business. While some reviews may be filtered, most of them will get through because they are real reviews coming from real customers.
  20. 20. Conclusion: Every day you aren’t working to dominate Yelp and other review sites is another day lost. Because there is so much potential to grow your business on these sites and make more money don’t put off following the steps in this guide to a later date. Go ahead and get started: claim your listings, fill them out with the proper information, make sure they look as good as possible and be sure to monitor them on a daily basis. When all this is done its time to start dominating and beating your competition. Start using review cards and a review page, start emailing your customers and don’t be afraid to think outside the box for other unique ways you can get your customers to leave you reviews. At the end of the day, if you want to dominate Yelp and other sites it’s going to take a little time and effort. But hey, you already own a business so there’s really no reason not to get started. So go ahead, take action and grow your business. If you’re looking for the easiest way to do this we recommend checking out ORM Builder by clicking here.

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