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The Secret Sauce to Beating Your Competition with Reviews

The Secret Sauce to Beating Your Competition with Reviews

It’s been reported that for every star a business gets, it will see an increase of approximately 5-9% in business revenue. So if an increase like that sounds good to you, start paying attention to those reviews.

What would be the benefit of a 5-9% increase in your business?

Whatever the answer is, would it be worth spending an hour or two per week responding to online customer reviews for your business? Having an online reputation management plan for reviews can have many positive effects.

It shows potential new customers that you understand customer service and it doesn’t just happen at your location, but also happens online, and before or after the customer engages in a transaction with you.

Positive reviews can help improve how your business ranks in local search. “Prominence,” as defined by Google, is “how well-known a business is.” The third factor that Google uses to determine local ranking in search, prominence factors in recent ratings and reviews. You can read more about that here. When someone uses the word “best” in a search query (like “best restaurant,” “best plumber,” or “best hospital”) the search engines interpret that as a signal that they use ratings to quantify.

In the article Crush Your Competition with these Website Building Basics, I talked about how to “super juice” up your website with first-party reviews. First-party reviews are feedback that a business asks customers for directly — and which live on a business’s own website.

If you are really gunning for success, first-party reviews should be part of your online reputation management plan. According to Yext, “Customers and search engines make decisions about your brand every day based on your ratings and reviews. If you don’t pay attention to this important source of customer feedback, you could be leaving revenue on the table.”

So take the time to properly manage those first-party reviews — they can help your business to be found online.

Before we dive deeper into first-party reviews and how you can leverage them for your business, let’s have a quick refresher on third-party reviews. When a customer leaves a review of your business on a site that is not your business’s website (e.g. Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, etc.), that is considered a third-party review. In other words, they are reviews that are on third-party websites.

Now let’s talk about first-party reviews. The big difference between these and third-party reviews, is that they live on the website for your business. They are a powerful tool in driving customer advocacy and SEO results, but there are guidelines that you have to follow. In short, you can’t “fake the funk on a nasty dunk.” Basically, they have to be 100% real and unbiased.

There are no universal comprehensive guidelines out there on first-party review conduct. That’s mostly because each of the publishers and intelligent services have their own rules. And those rules frequently change. That being said, there are some good rules of conduct you can follow with first-party reviews that won’t steer you wrong.

  1. Do not do anything that incentivizes customers to leave a review
  2. Ask all your customers for a review (don’t only ask customers you know are happy)
  3. Do not cherry-pick or delete any reviews, no matter how negative
  4. Reviews cannot be written by the business owner, employees or associates

If you operate inside those guidelines, you should be in safe shape.

How do you get first-party reviews on your website?

Well, that’s where compliance gets easy. You’ll need to use a system or software as a service to collect and manage your reviews. I’d, of course, point you to Yext, who offers a first-party review collection and management system as part of their overall review management solution. It also offers instant notifications and a system of organization that allows you to see every review customers leave of your business across the web, and to filter those reviews by site, star rating, response, and other items. It’s really powerful. However, there are other options out there.

Once you’ve chosen a system, it’s important that you reply to all reviews — no matter how positive or negative — and demonstrate that outstanding customer service you’re known for.

Knowing this, it’s important for companies to pay attention to what is being said about them online. And to be sure to respond to each and every review or message that they can.


Source: The Secret Sauce to Beating Your Competition with Reviews

How to Educate Clients on What Matters Most In Local Marketing

How to Educate Clients on What Matters Most In Local Marketing

Clients are confused.

They’re not really sure where they should focus their attention. Should they focus on local business listings, reviews or leads? What about content, social media and call tracking – how much attention do they dedicate to those channels and tactics?


Local clients want the most bang for their buck, but most of the time, they don’t have a plan. They definitely don’t know which local marketing tactics will produce the results they want.

The worst part?

What works for one local business, may not work well for another.


There’s confusion about what works best for local marketing

Experts recommend a variety of different tactics.

“Focus on your local listings. No, no, no, you should be investing in Facebook Ads. If you’re focused on content marketing and SEO you’ll have lots of free traffic.”

The suggestions are typically very broad, incredibly vague and focused on the wrong things. Nine times out of 10, the advice from these “experts” misses the mark. This leads to a tangent of unfocused ideas that suck up a client’s time and budget, but fails to produce results.


Your clients are listening to the wrong people.

Listen to bad advice and your local marketing campaigns will fail

There’s a problem here.

What is bad advice? Where does bad advice come from?

A better question would be to ask where great advice comes from. The answer is simple and obvious. It comes from your client’s customers.

Does this mean their customers are experts?


It means you’re able to listen to what your client’s customers say and you’re able to watch what they do. This is how you determine what matters most for your local marketing campaigns.

That doesn’t sound right, does it?

How are your client’s customers the best source for information? They’re typically the least knowledgeable group you can draw data from. Why would asking them for advice work?

Your client’s customers know what they want

They don’t have to be experts on your industry, business, product or service. They just need to know (a.) what they want and (b.) how they buy.

There’s a lot packed into that simple statement, what does that mean exactly?

It means you know your target audience / ideal customer. These are the customers who are both willing and able to buy. These are the people your clients want to turn into long-term customers. Your job as an agency or consultant is to learn everything you can about their customers.

This means you know…

1. The demographics and psychographics of their target audience.

2. Where to find customers that match the demographics and psychographics above.

3. Know the books they read, shows they watch, brands they buy/follow, etc.

4. Their fears – in the form of frustrations, problems, and objections.

5. Their buying process – what they want, what they look for, where they go to find answers, etc.

6. The authority figures they trust, follow or listen to.

Do these details matter all that much from a client standpoint?

Any experienced agency professional or consultant will tell you they understand the importance of these details. Here’s the surprising part about these details.

Most small businesses (and many medium-sized businesses) don’t have this data.

Most of the time, clients believe they already know the answers to these questions. Often times your clients are able to rattle off comprehensive details about their customers.

But, are they right?

The bad news about their data? It falls apart under close scrutiny. Their customer personas are often based on imaginary or non-existent data, they don’t have answers for their customer fears, and their buying process isn’t in line with what customers actually do.

Most businesses don’t know what their customers want

That’s a pretty bold statement to make. The bad news is that it’s true.

How do we know?

Research from CB Insights, found that most startups / small businesses failed because of “the lack of a market need for their product.” This is the number one reason, cited by 42 percent of the startups in their study, for business failure.


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