Useful Tips How to Manage Consumer Reviews for Local Small Businesses

SmallCompanyBigImageBlog-RefreshSanDiegoMeetupAndres Hernandez, CEO of BIIS Solutions, shared valuable tips to help small businesses looking to improve their online reputation. Andres presented “Online Reputation: How to Manage Consumer Reviews” this week at a RefreshSD Meetup held at Qualcomm in San Diego.

Andres did an excellent job of involving us in the audience to share our suggestions during his presentation. What became clear from the business owners in the room—lots of web developers and marketers (like me) and others—is that online reputation is something you just have to stay on top of.

Today’s consumers are searching online for opinions of others.  According to Mashable, for local small businesses, directory websites like Yelp are a necessity—not an option. (See Mashable’s great post here.)

Managing your online reputation and consumer reviews can be as easy as using Google Alerts to determine when you’re reviewed and claiming your site on Kudzu®, Urbanspoon and others.  (I’ve personally found excellent restaurants using reviews at online directory listing website Urbanspoon.com)

Andres puts Yelp’s monthly visitors at 32 million and a quick check on Alexa.com (today) ranks it as the 49th site in the US.   Though from this chart I just pulled from Alexa.com, both Urbanspoon and Kudzu visitors are very engaged based on the number of Pageviews per User!

Alexa_snapshot_8-15-10

Comparison of Daily pageviews per user for:  Yelp.com, Kudzu.com & Urbanspoon.com.   Screen shot taken August 15, 2010 on Alexa.com.  Link I used is here.

Seems hard for local small businesses to not participate in this kind of popularity.

Here are my favorite tips Andres Hernandez shared in his presentation.

  • The hands-down best way to get online customer reviews is to ask for them!  Check out Kudzu’s helpful page for more info.
  • Email your customer, thanking them for their business and ask for a review.  If email doesn’t work, the second best way is to send a personal letter.
  • Best time to ask your customers for a review is at the end of a project.
  • A small local business should make sure its information is accurate and up-to-date on Yelp, Kudzu and others.  (Details like address, phone number, hours, etc.)
  • Best way to make sure your customers follow through and post a review for your business?  Make your review request as simple as possible.  Andres suggests sending your customer a link to the exact website page where you’d like them to post a review.
  • Check out Google Places and decide if you want to be listed there.

Here’s a cool template from BIIS Solutions website that you can follow to create an email asking your customers for a review.

Here is another recent blog article you may find useful about managing online reviews about your business. Google Places Now Allows Replies

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Cynthia is always hunting for new ways that you can find more customers using your online presence. Like, thought leadership content, smart social media and client-friendly business blogs. Join my mailing list and I’ll share the newest stuff with you!

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