Improve Your Review Strategy With Four Easy Steps
Eighty-eight percent of consumers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Similarly, 95 percent of consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. In the world of digital marketing, reviews can make or break your multi-location business.
As a multi-location marketer, it’s likely that you already have a review strategy in place, but is it as effective as it should be? Whether you’re just getting started with a review strategy or are fine-tuning your tried and true strategy, this blog can help take you to the next level! We’ll dive into four tactics that can be used to create an impactful review strategy that will help your multi-location business dominate the competition. A strong review strategy will help boost your business’s online visibility to reach your target audience better, ultimately winning you more sales.
1. Claim and Optimize Local Listings Across Business Locations
One of the first things your business should do to optimize your review strategy is ensure that all of your local listings are claimed and optimized across business locations. Ideally, each of your business locations should have its listings claimed on Facebook, GMB, and Yelp. Claimed local listings provide information consumers might need about your local business while also leaving them a place to leave reviews about your local business.
Take note from our 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report leaders – the top ten brands in localized search claimed and optimized their local profiles to a near 100 percent completion. And the top 10 overall brands in localized marketing were found to grow their revenue 3x compared to their peers. Revenue growth doesn’t lie – if you’re a multi-location marketer, this is an area where your efforts are absolutely required.
Once you’ve claimed all of your local listings, it’s critical to ensure the information found on the listings is updated and accurate. Consumers often check local listings for business hours, contact information, or an address. If any of this information is wrong, it will give the consumer a negative first impression of your business and lessen their chances of visiting or purchasing from your company. For more tips on keeping your local listings updated and accurate, read our blog on the topic.
2. Grow Your Reviews Per Location
Once you have local listings or local pages on Facebook, Yelp, and GMB, your consumers will have a place to leave reviews. One of the best ways to boost your local search efforts and improve your review strategy is to grow the number of reviews your business receives per location. Data from our 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report found that on average, multi-location companies have:
- 303 reviews per location on GMB
- 65 reviews per location on Facebook
- 30 reviews per location on Yelp
Where does your business fall among these averages? If you’re already meeting or exceeding the standards, good for you! The more reviews, the better. If your multi-location business is still working to increase the number of reviews you have per location, it’s okay! There are a few ways your multi-location business can increase your review volume without directly asking or soliciting for reviews, which depending on the site is a huge no-no. For instance, on your website or receipts, you can leave a CTA that says something along the line of, “Did you have a positive experience shopping with us? Please leave us a review to share your thoughts!”
Similarly, you can highlight customer testimonials on your local social channels and ask others to share their experiences. There are ways to gain more authentic reviews without directly asking for them. You have to get creative! Once you increase the volume of reviews your business is receiving per location, it’s time to start thinking about how you will respond to them.
3. Increase Your Percent of Reviews Responded to
Your business would respond to 100 percent of the reviews it received in an ideal world, but we know this is not always feasible. Marketers are always overwhelmed with all that they have to do – so how much of your efforts should be dedicated to review response, and what percentage of reviews should your business aim to respond to? The previously mentioned 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report provides guidance. Data from the report found that, on average, multi-location companies were responding to 31 percent of the reviews they received on GMB, 26 percent on Facebook, and only 13 percent of reviews received on Yelp. While these numbers seem low, they are the current reality. At a minimum, your multi-location business should be meeting these averages.
As mentioned, Google considers your reviews when determining where to rank your business in search results. If your multi-location business can increase the percent of reviews you’re responding to, the higher your business should rank on Google. Each of your business locations must understand the importance of responding to reviews to increase your response rate. You can provide your business locations with tips and tricks for responding to reviews to help them feel more confident responding to reviews locally. We’ll get more into this next.
4. Respond to Reviews More Efficiently
After your multi-location business has claimed its local listings and figured out how to grow and respond to more reviews, you can start thinking about decreasing the time it takes to respond to reviews. Are you currently waiting weeks to respond to local reviews? Which reviews are you responding to first? These are things to keep in mind when developing a review response strategy. By responding to reviews promptly, you’ll send the message to customers that you care about their opinions and what they have to say. Similarly, you’ll show Google that you’re engaged with your reviews, helping improve your business’s online visibility.
So just how quickly should you be responding to local reviews? Again, data from the 2021 LMBR guides us. The report found that, on average, multi-location businesses take 39 days to respond to a review on GMB, 92 days to respond to a review on Facebook, and 81 days on Yelp. These numbers are high, but leaders in localized marketing were found to react at a much faster rate. Your business should strive to respond to local reviews as quickly as possible and prioritize the negative reviews first.
When a consumer leaves a negative review, they often expect a response within 24 hours. It’s your business’s job to keep track of the local reviews received and ensure the negative reviews are addressed quickly. When responding to negative reviews, it’s essential to address the problem or complaint the consumer left and try to take the conversation online. You don’t want to have back and forth with a consumer on a review. When responding to any review, personalization is vital. Ensure you use the person’s name in your response and include context that clarifies that someone from your business read the review. Although this takes a little time and effort, it will go a long way with consumers.
Now that you know what you need to improve your review strategy, it’s time to get started! With 100s or 1,000s of business locations, it can be challenging to keep up with a review strategy. That’s where SOCi comes in. SOCi’s streamlined reputation management software is built specifically for multi-location businesses. SOCi’s reputation management software supports all prominent reputation and review networks as well. Now, your local, regional, and corporate teams will always know which reviews and social engagements are addressed and which ones still require attention to ensure the prompt responses consumers expect. SOCi’s Smart Responses feature will also help you save time when responding to your reviews. SOCi Smart Response uses machine learning to auto-suggest more relevant and personalized responses for your reviews and social engagements.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to take your review strategy to the next level and win more sales. For more information on how SOCi can help support your local review strategy and other aspects of your localized marketing efforts, request a demo today!