Boost Your Business Profits by Listing Your Company on Google+ Local

If you are not using Google+ Local then you are missing out on a lot of business.

A Google Places listing is one of the most powerful money-making tools you can have. Here are some compelling reasons why.

Google Advertising. Once you have your Google Places page completely set up, you can take advantage of the huge selection of Google Advertising open to you.

Custom Review Form. Your Google Places page is the perfect place for satisfied customers to post glowing testimonials for all to see.

It is also an ideal place for you to publicly handle any customer complaints. This is not a bad thing. In fact it works to your advantage as it enables potential customers to see firsthand that you are willing to work with them to make them happy.

Google Maps. Along with your Google Places listing, Google will also place a marker for your business on Google Maps, making it even easier for customers to find you. This is perfect for those customers finding you on their mobiles.

Better Than Yellow Pages. Yellow pages is now almost extinct. Over 65% of people use Google to find local services compared to only 0.2% still using the Yellow Pages. If you want your business to get noticed, you need a listing on Google Places.

Mobile users. Most people use their smartphones these days to view the internet rather than desktop computers. Mobile users have full access to Google places listings making it a very valuable market.

Targeted Demographics. It is now possible to tweak and refine your Google Places listing so that it is seen by those people more likely to visit your web site and become your customers.

No website? We can help you with that but in the meantime we can build your Google places page so that it acts as your website.

Special Offers. Google makes it very easy for you to offer incentives to customers who visit your Google Places page with special offers and coupons. By making some changes to your Google Places page, Google will publish the offer on your page.

How to Be Proactive When Building Online Reviews

Online reviews are a crucial part of any business because they act as a window that shows the public “how good” your business really is. This means you have to be pay close attention to what is being said about your business online because this will directly impact the number of consumers who will actually choose to do business with you.

If you have several positive reviews posted from satisfied customers, other people will want to experience those benefits for themselves. In fact, the more reviews you have, the better.

As a result, your sales will increase. So it is crucial that you set up, claim, and verify all of your local directory listings to open up different avenues for your customers to leave reviews.

This includes Google+ Local, CitySearch, YellowPages, InsiderPages, Yelp, SuperPages, MerchantCircle; among many others.

Once you set up these listings, more people will be able to:

  1. Find your business
  2. Leave reviews for your business
  3. See what others have to say about your business

You may be wondering “how” you should go about getting reviews from your customers… Simply ask them to go online and let others know what they think about your products or services. This should not be a daunting task and many would be happy to do so.

You can effectively ask for reviews through word of mouth, on your receipts, on your website, on your social media sites, and any other feasible method.

While your focus will be placed on getting positive reviews, keep in mind that some of your unhappy customers will also post their opinions about your products or services online; and that’s OK. A few bad online reviews are to be expected, but when they exceed the number of positive reviews, your reputation is at stake.

So it is critical that you stay up-to-date about what is being said about your business online. This way, you will have a chance to respond to any negativity, which will show people that you actually care about your customers.

Following just these few simple tips will help you protect your brand, generate fresh leads, and build loyal customers online.

Get Rid of Negative Feedback from Online Review Sites (REVISED)

(Revision Notes: I added a couple of TripAdvisor videos to this article. While they talk about TripAdvisor, they contain good information for handling any online review site.)

The bad news is, you generally can’t get the feedback removed. The good news is that you can use the strategies below to neutralize and in some cases even benefit from a few negative reviews.

Tip #1: Dilute Negative Reviews

The best strategy to counter bad reviews is to dilute them. If you do a good job within your business, and most people are happy, encouraging more people to create reviews is a good idea.

Getting a lot of reviews to dilute the bad ones is an important strategy because the first thing people look at is the number stars you have. They may not even read the reviews if you don’t have enough.

Quick Tip: Use QR codes in your business that point to a review site you are trying to increase reviews for.

Don’t Discount Bad Reviews too Quickly – It’s important to take a step back and honestly evaluate if there is even a little grain of truth in a review, if so it gives you an area to get even better at. It’s an awesome opportunity when you find one of your blind spots.

Quick Tip 2: Reply to every review, good and bad. When you reply to a good review you are able to reinforce it as well as incorporate some keywords. Additionally, you want to use “social proof” language when replying to a positive review. By that I just mean language that emphasizes how other people like your business too.

Example: We are so pleased that you enjoyed the. It’s one of our most popular.

You could replace “it’s our most popular” with “everyone loves our…” or “we get a lot of complements on our…” I think you get the idea.

Assuming a business listing (yelp, google places, etc.) has a link to your website on it, the more search engine friendly it is the better. It will actually give your website a little search engine juice, besides being more likely to come up with someone is looking for restaurants with specific foods.

Tip #2: Reply to Reviews

Replying to negative reviews represents another great way to neutralize them. This is especially true when there is a point of logic you can share that makes it clear the customer isn’t being reasonable in the complaint. That said, you never want your reply to sound defensive. It needs to be fact based, apologetic where appropriate, and above all must not attach the person.

If the person is especially negative/emotional, you may want to write your review as if you are speaking to everyone else. Instead of talking directly to the emotional person. You could give some general information that explains the review to the readers. Example: “This review isn’t by an actual customer. She asked to use our restrooms and became very upset when she found out they are only for patrons.” You can see how it takes the teeth out of the review.

Note: Even a reply like, “I agree, we made a mistake, and we’ll work hard not to let it happen again,” is much better than not having a reply.

Last point, I promise…

I should note that I’m writing this not only as a “marketing guy” but also as an end user who uses reviews to make a lot of decisions. My wife and I are traveling across the country this year, and almost always use popular review sites to help us make our dining, entertainment, and lodging decisions. I can tell you from personal experience the difference between a negative review, with a well reasoned response and one left alone is like night and day.