Local business listings have become a significant part of local business marketing. The local listings with the major search engines have also given rise to your customers being able to submit their experience with you to the world and to others in the local market. Angie’s List is only the tip of the iceberg of tracking Internet wide reviews of your company and having to manage negative reviews.
If you consider that most current statistics on the Internet about local business listings show only 15% of the listings being claimed (required to use the local listing as a local marketing tool) by the business, there is a large number of local businesses that neglect their marketing and their reputation.
These local business listing represent your company’s brand and your customers feel about their experience with you. Isolated negative reviews are not to be taken lightly because your prospective customers that don’t know you and can only make a decision based on what they read. Any negative review will reduce the perception about your brand and consumers will think twice where to spend their money. These online reviews of your business are a powerful first impression of your brand credibility as well as a sense of security for new customers. They need to know they can trust you.
As a local business you have an advantage over the larger corporations. You are your customers and their needs. Because you are interacting with the customers directly, you can be more sensitive to customer’s needs. For this reason getting positive customer reviews and testimonials should be that much easier.
Consumers are tuning out the commercial messages that bombard them everywhere all the time. Any opinion coming from another customer gives confidence with prospective customers. The opinion given from an existing customer with no economic interest helps to facilitate a foundation of trust.
Before local business listings, Angie’s list, social communities, consumers didn’t have a good way to express their frustrations about a business. Now a day’s these negative emotions and frustrations make on the web and because they are “posted”, they will remain there for years to come. The answer to avoid this issue certainly lies in allowing the consumer to communicate with you about their problem. Give them the option to use the phone or email you.
Other activities will include:
1. Keep a watch on reviews on local listings like Google, Yahoo, Bing Yelp and others.
2. If you find a negative review, reach out to the frustrated consumer by acknowledging their frustration and support your brand by giving them something (e.g. a coupon) so they know you do care.
3. Obviously if there is a trend in the complaints, then you need to evaluate the problem and correct the internal issues.
The more likely issue with consumer reviews will be if you have time to monitor all the websites that consumers might use to express their frustration. Most local businesses will have difficulty with this process and using a professional Internet marketing firm will help you through this process.
Internet marketing companies have a low one time setup fee. Once the listings have been updated you can choose to maintain the listings yourself or for a small monthly fee you can have the listing maintained for you. The maintenance will go beyond the reviews and also include photos, videos, coupons, discounts, offers,
Lastly, have you considered check on your Local Business Listing? Do you know if there are any reviews about your business?