Proper Reputation Management Requires That You Know Your Local Score!
Just how your business shows up in the many different directories on the internet affects your ability to attract customers. We have recently started using a tool to generate what we call a “Local Score.”
It is designed to quickly review how individual businesses show up on the major “Citation” and Review sites that make up the top echelon of online referral sites.
You can find your businesses “Local Score” by adding your business name and zip code in the sidebar to the right.
I introduced this new service on Linked In in a post I Wrote there which is also below.
I called the Article, “Do You Know Your Businesses’ Local Score?”
For growing local businesses there are a lot of factors that matter. The quality of your product and/or service and customer satisfaction are key. Screw this up and it’s hard to prosper. But most truly growing businesses are doing pretty well on these accounts, or they wouldn’t be growing.
My guess is you are pretty satisfied with your delivery – but probably not overly so. You are always interested in making things better. Right?
And if you are like most business owners, you stress not only about improving your sales proposition, but are intimately interested in those steps you can control that will increase your customer count.
How to Get 32 New Customers a Week
People find businesses through a lot of different routes. Dan Kennedy used to tell a story (and may still to this day) about a Chiropractor who went from town to town setting up new practices. In the course of a year or so he would build the business from zip to hundreds of patients a week.
After doing this the fourth of fifth time, he was eventually persuaded to explain how he did it at a National Chiropractor Meeting. His place on the program was listed as “How to Get 32 New Patients a Week.”
When his time to speak arrived, the room was standing room only.
Who wouldn’t want to learn how to add that many new patients a week. Everyone was desperately interested in learning the magic pitch or method.
The moral of the story, they all soon learned, was that there wasn’t a single magic way to get 32 new patients a week. Instead there were 32 ways to get one new customer a week!
Let that sink in.
I help businesses get ranked on Google. For many local businesses, I am convinced that can be their best single way to get new customers online. However it is not the only way.
There are dozens of other directories and web 2.0 and beyond properties out there, each of which can offer you a potential new customer here or there. Now many of these are nowhere near as powerful as Google, but if they send you a referral, do you care?
There is a real advantage available to you to pick up some of this “lesser flow” of customers since so many of your competitors are not even trying. Unfortunately, the odds are that you aren’t either.
There are two main parts to success in this process: Being properly listed in these directories and being seen on them as being a trustworthy vendor.
This first part is critical, because many of these smaller sites may already have you listed. But unlike Google, they do not have the budget and resources to make sure they have your accurate business name, address and phone number. This is especially true if these have changed at any time in the past.
To build their directories, they rely on list vendors who may pass on old data they scrapped off other people’s lists created years ago. The list business is notorious for regurgitating bad info over and over again, often despite their best efforts to clean their lists.
It is also critical, because the big guy, Google, cares. It tries to keep its lists and those it displays as accurate as possible. And one key way they do this is to evaluate all the little guy’s lists. If Google sees they are all consistent and have the same name, address and principle phone number for your business, they become more confident in your data. As they become more confident that they have your accurate info, you tend to rise in their listings. It’s all part of their algorithm that determines who gets top billing in a fraction of a second. So while this article is about chasing the small fry, the benefits of doing so well helps with the big guy too.
The second part is being not only seen, but being seen as a reputable vendor.
This holds true from Google and Facebook on down to the smallest of these sites. They all are providing a place for customer reviews. Win this game and you will have a flow of customers coming to you from 32 places. Blow it and you will be losing customers without even knowing it.
There is an art to getting positive online reviews from your customers. Of course the first step is to provide excellent service. The rub though is that your customers expect excellent service from you and do not consider it remarkable enough to go out of their way to write a positive review.
Those less happy however seem to be willing to crawl over broken glass to give you a scathing review. As such, some businesses have just been disgusted with the review process and ignore it. Big Mistake.
There are steps you can take to proactively enhance the number and quality of your positive reviews and ethically divert the occasional so-so or negative review. These I will address in an upcoming article.
What to do now
For now let me recommend that you use a free tool at http://reppilot.localscorereport.com/ to get a quick read on your “Local Score.” It takes just 60 seconds or so, and requires only your business name and zip code to do its magic.
What’s Your Score?
Minneapolis Internet Marketing Consultant
enetwal @ gmail.com
PS: Here’s the link again-à http://reppilot.localscorereport.com/
from RepPilot http://reppilot.com/info/what-is-your-businesses-local-score/