You need to make an impact for your clients.
That’s your #1 job, and you spend most of your working day striving to make it happen.
Offering your local business clients the full marketing stack is essential, though if there’s one aspect of the stack that you should consider doubling down on, it’s reputation.
Reputation, and specifically customer reviews, deliver so much value for SMBs. Namely, they add value to marketing campaigns, they drive sales, and they boost SEO.
Reviews make an impact.
When your client leads the competition in quality reviews, they have the social proof it takes to get that first shot at most local customers. As your client extends their lead, it becomes a no-brainer that they’ll get the majority of clicks, visits, and leads in their market.
Then it’s up to them to deliver.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the power of reviews for SMBs with insights from two people who have first-hand knowledge about the direct relationship between customer feedback and revenue.
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The Power of Positive Reviews with Vendasta BDR Dylan Hergott
Would you get a sandwich from a restaurant you’ve never been to without checking the reviews?
Maybe in 2005, but probably not anymore...
Dylan Hergott, a Business Development Representative here at Vendasta, knows a thing or two about the power of reviews in the restaurant biz.
[clickToTweet tweet="People want to support local businesses, but we want to be sure that our hard-earned money is being spent on quality businesses. That's why we get that feedback from reviews. That's why it's so important to ask customers for #reviews. -Dylan Hergott #ConquerLocal" quote="People want to support local businesses, but we want to be sure that our hard-earned money is being spent on quality businesses. That's why we get that feedback from reviews. That's why it's so important to ask customers for #reviews. -Dylan Hergott #ConquerLocal"]
Before Dylan joined us at Vendasta he came from a background in restaurant management. In his years of experience he’s seen that even though your restaurant may be 5-star material, people walking down the street aren’t necessarily going to know that.
To illustrate why this is, let me set the scene for you:
One starlit evening you find yourself walking downtown looking to get a bite of food. You’re getting hungrier by the second and you’re faced with two restaurant options: Restaurant A’s menu looks awesome, but it barely has an online presence and zero reviews, while Restaurant B has 500 reviews and a five-star rating.
Which restaurant do you choose?
Even though both restaurants could be five-star material, you’re going to choose the highly rated highly reviewed restaurant. Why? Because that restaurant has already won your trust.
This is the bottom line, according to Dylan:
“People want to support local businesses, but we want to be sure that our hard-earned money is being spent on quality businesses.”Dylan Hergott
We asked Dylan to dig a bit deeper into why reviews matter. Here’s what he had to say:
Tattoo Artist Ty Kohle on Building Trust and the Mob Mentality of Reviews
Next, we’ll hear from one of our favorite local business owners here in Saskatoon; Tattoo artist Ty Kohle. Ty has over 10 years experience in the tattoo business, both working solo and as a part of a local shop.
As a tattoo artist, Ty is well aware of the trust that customers need to have with their artist beforehand, because like all our mom’s have been telling us for years, “tattoos are permanent”.
According to Ty, reviews help build that trust:
“Reviews instill trust in that customer before they have even had the chance to experience the business themselves. Nobody wants to throw their money away on bad quality product and services so from the customer perspective being able to get that trust beforehand from reviews is essential to them.”Ty Kohle
A large accumulation of quality reviews can also trigger a ‘mob mentality’ that gets people in the door.
Ty notes that,
“Customers will specifically go to businesses (tattoo artists) that they know people are going to. When they see a lot of reviews for a certain artist or business, they feel inclined to go to that place.”Ty Kohle
What do SMBs Need From Review Management Services?
Most business owners now understand why reviews are important, but they still need help getting them and utilizing them in their marketing. We asked Ty how an agency could help with this.
1. Review Marketing and Promotion
Ty revealed that getting engagement from recent work and reviews as soon as possible from the moment they’re shared is key.
“If somebody writes a review or leaves a positive comment on your post as soon as you post it, you’ll get a dozen more comments, but if nobody engages with it in the first hours, you’ll get no engagement. It’s easier for customers to leave a review when they see other people doing it first.”Ty Kohle
This indicates that Ty and other SMBs may need a marketing agency to help create that engagement right when that experience occurred. So beyond helping drive customer feedback, SMB owners like Ty may need help effectively promoting the reviews they get.
2. Customer Feedback that Reflects SMB’s Target Demographic
Businesses that generate share-worthy before/after content like tattoo artists, remodelers, landscapers, and even often restaurants often attract reviews from passive followers who just like what they see. Those type of reviews aren’t that helpful for businesses.
To truly influence potential customers, reviews need to reflect the experience that the target demographic would like to have with the business.
Ty shared his thoughts on review relevance:
“The biggest thing for me is that the reviews have to be applicable location-wise—I would look for an agency who can generate reviews to my target demographic. For me, having a person say ‘Oh that looks great! Great work!’ halfway across the world, doesn't matter to me. That person’s following isn’t going to come across the world to use my service.”Ty Kohle
Reviews that are local, and mention specifics about the experience have the most power to influence future customers. These are the reviews that local business owners like Ty are after.
[clickToTweet tweet="Nobody wants to throw their money away on bad quality product and services, so from the customer perspective being able to get that trust beforehand from #reviews is essential. -Ty Kohle #ConquerLocal" quote="Nobody wants to throw their money away on bad quality product and services, so from the customer perspective being able to get that trust beforehand from #reviews is essential. -Ty Kohle #ConquerLocal"]
Turn Customer Experiences into Stars with Customer Voice
Here at Vendasta, we know that gathering customer feedback can be a challenge—whether it’s for a tattoo shop, a restaurant, or any other local business. This is why we’ve introduced a product that helps businesses easily gather customer experiences to boost online star power and drive more business.
That product is Customer Voice.
Customer Voice makes it easy to ask for feedback, improve business marketing with that feedback and address reputation issues before they show up online.
To learn more about this solution, watch our recent webinar on Customer Voice and how it can be used to collect customer feedback and boost SEO by Vendasta’s Loni Goff.
Here’s an example of Customer Voice in action:
One of our partner’s customers, a medical clinic based out of Hawaii, used Customer Voice to increase their reviews over 600% in just 6 months!
- This business had been around for a long time and was stuck at only 18 reviews
- 3 months after sending email requests they gained 77 reviews
- After 3 months of coupling email with SMS, that grew to 115 reviews
- 18 to 115 reviews in just 6 month, that’s a huge success! = more than a 600% increase!
Customer Voice is available for resale on the Vendasta Platform
To learn more about how to leverage this powerful customer feedback tool that’ll have your clients seeing stars, hop on a demo today.