By Paul Hickey on September 9, 2013
Sometimes it feels like it’s all coming down hard on you at once. Well, let me rephrase that – most times, it feels like it’s all coming down on you at once. Small business owners – or even directors of smaller marketing departments always have multiple “issues” to deal with. Much like a homeowner or a car owner, there’s always something needing attention, or even broken – that you didn’t plan for.
Just like the way I tried to drive into work today and noticed my back left tire was flat and had a nail in it (this on top of my home A/C being broken in August and September, locking my keys in my car last week, having a broken garage door, and already having planned on coming into the car dealership for an oil change and tire rotation)…. “by the way Mr. Hickey, your battery is testing low and we can’t repair your tire so you have to buy four new ones.”
Yep, this is exactly what it’s like when running a small business – trying to generate new business while also providing the best possible Client Experience for your existing business. In other words, you’ve got outbound calls to make, employees to lead, opportunities to sift through, blogs to write (remember, this is a Small Business SEO Series), and now, Google Reviews to watch out for.
Yep – Google Reviews. Consider this the curve ball in your day. The flat tire. The broken A/C in the middle of 95 degree heat. The garage door that won’t shut. Okay, you get it. Wait, one more ——- the LOCKING YOUR KEYS IN YOUR CAR!
So let’s take a look at exactly what these Google Reviews are and how they’re applicable to your business.
When you click on these reviews, you’re taken to a page that looks like this…
This may seem like small beans, but it’s not. Google is betting the farm on Google Plus, and part of their investment is in these reviews. They will eventually make Yelp! and Yellow Pages seem a bit obsolete, and they will continue to over take the precious real estate in the search results.
Your business needs to have a Google Plus review strategy. Here’s why.
AutoZone is a chain. There are more than 4,000 AutoZone stores nationwide. Google is going to look at your IP address and your GPS location depending on where you’re searching from. There will be variations in the search results depending upon several factors. Your location, whether or not your logged in to Google, and the device you’re using. Point being, if I’m search from Franklin, TN, Google is going to show me reviews posted for stores closest to me (see above address, Columbia Ave., Franklin, TN). So each store as the opportunity to take charge of it’s own reputation, and create it’s own Google Review strategy. After all, if you’re the manager at the AutoZone in Spring Hill, TN, you don’t want to get judged by a review from Columbia, TN, do you?
How to Implement a Google Review Strategy…
- Verify your business’ Google Plus Local Page (instructions here).
- After taking charge of your Google Plus Local page, optimize all information (make sure business hours, address, and categorization are correct, and write detailed, efficient descriptions of your business and its service offerings).
- Use social media and your website’s contact form as tools to filter positive reviews to your Google Plus Local page.
- Track and respond to your reviews.
Here are a few screenshots that show what I’m talking about in #3 above…
– This could be an option on your website’s contact form. This link could also be private messaged to social media followers who say good things about you, or customers you have positive interactions with in your point of sale locations…
As far as #4 (Tracking and responding to reviews), our friends at Nifty Marketing pulled out this example of a solid response from a business owner (courtesy of Moz.com/webinars).
5. Being helpful to your customer base and empowering them to learn about Google Reviews is key to driving your positive review strategy. The screenshot below is an example of a resource you can use to help your constituencies.
Some examples of what a verified local business, and competitor to AutoZone (when it comes to service, parts, etc.) is doing by the way of Google Plus is below. Note that their page is verified, and they have far more reviews, traffic, etc.
Reviews Below (notice how the good reviews combat the bad). If you can make that angry person seem overly emotional by offsetting it with positive reviews, you’ll look just fine to people researching you.
So, I know this probably seems like one more thing to do. You were packing your kids’ lunches and the microwave blew a fuse. Well, your Google Plus Local Business Review strategy shouldn’t be treated as “just another thing to do.” Rather than allow yourself and your business constituents to be blindsided by negative Google Reviews, take charge of your destiny and build this into your digital media marketing strategy. Remember…
Also, take some relief in the fact that theoretically you should be able to identify anyone and everyone who reviews your business online via Google. In other words, Google requires that a user be logged in to post a review. Nothing anonymous.
Oh, and you can always say howdy if you need help with any of this!
Paul Hickey is the managing director of Cabedge Design, LLC – an Atiba Company – and chief marketing geek for the Atiba Family. He specializes in strategic web design, organic and paid search, brand creation and helping clients and partners accomplish business goals. Paul loves writing and communicating, and helping drive relevant traffic to websites.
comments powered by Disqus