Could you be one of the many business owners who has overlooked one of the keys to marketing a local business?
Let’s ask it this way:
When is the last time you checked your business’s listing on Yelp or another review site?
Do you know what the reviews about your business say?
Many business owners don’t.
If that’s you, you’re ignoring a powerful marketing tool.
Especially if your target market includes moms.
This post covers:
- Why sites like Yelp and online reviews matter to local businesses
- Why businesses that market to moms should especially pay attention to and leverage their business reviews
- 4 steps you can take now to improve your business listings on review sites, build good reviews, and leverage those reviews to build your business
Reviews are the biggest influence on moms’ buying decisions.
Check this out:
A growing trend with moms is increased reliance on reviews and testimonials when deciding where to spend their money.
I was reminded of this on the latest episode of the Marketing to Mums podcast.
The podcast is based in Australia, but Katrina McCarter, the host, often interviews American experts and is great about comparing and contrasting trends in both countries.
In her 2016 research project McCarter sought to find out which influences most affect Australian moms’ buying choices.
She expected mom-to-mom recommendations to be the biggest influence.
To her surprise, the influence of testimonials and reviews had grown past the influence of personal recommendations.
This includes reviews in print, audio, and video.
And guess what else?
According to Hulafrog’s 2018 Moms Report, 99% of American moms surveyed say they go online to research an unfamiliar business.
These moms said that the first place they go after finding the business’s web site and/or Facebook page is to read online reviews on sites such as Yelp.
It seems likely that most folks read reviews before making a purchase, whether moms or not.
The data clearly shows, though, that moms in particular are defaulting to reviews and relying on them more and more.
If moms are your target market, then this trend is a powerful opportunity to boost sales wherever you’re present online.
A few key takeaways for local small businesses:
- Make sure reviews about your business are available and easily found.
- Know what reviews of your business are floating out there.
- Take action to claim and improve exisiting business listings on review sites.
- Leverage positive reviews by sharing across all your internet real estate.
Review sites: oft-neglected gems
I am blown away by how many small local business owners ignore their business reviews on sites like Yelp and Google.
Content marketing is important.
It’s my jam.
I get it.
Offline marketing is important too.
So are the daily tasks needed to actually run your business.
Just don’t pour all your time and dollars into those other things and leave the review pages wholly to their organic selves.
A few bad reviews have the potential to undermine your other efforts.
Are you leaving money on the table by ignoring your business’s review pages?
Here are four steps you can take to improve your review site game:
1. Search for and claim your business on the appropriate site(s)
For most local businesses I recommend checking Yelp and then Google (Try googling “[business name] reviews” and your business listing should pop up.)
Depending on your business, you might also look at Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, FourSquare, Judy’s Book, Trip Advisor, or industry-specific sites like Houzz, Healthgrades, or Campfire Ratings.
If your business is listed on these sites, and you did not create the listing, there should be an option on most of these sites for you to claim your business listing.
Follow the website’s instructions to claim your listing(s).
If you business isn’t listed, then create a listing and proceed to number two.
2. Spruce up your listing.
Fix errors. (It’s almost hilarious how often the hours of operation are wrong on Yelp!)
Add good photos.
Make sure everything is accurate and up to date.
3. Start actively engaging.
Reply to reviews.
You don’t necessarily need to go back and reply to all of them, if there are a lot of if they’re very old.
But definitely check the site weekly and reply to new reviews as they come in.
Especially negative reviews.
People will learn about your business from your responses as much as from the reviews themselves.
4. Leverage the review site business listings.
You can do this today in at least 2 ways:
– Send happy customers to leave reviews!
You can email them a link, hand out little cards, or even have a tablet at your place of business and ask them to leave a review right then before they leave.
My dentist’s office sends a text asking for a review about 10 minutes after every appointment. I just click through the link in the text and leave or edit my review right on my phone.
You could even offer a small incentive to your customers for taking the time to leave the review.
You can also find fun ways to encourage happy customers to post their own photos of your business.
– Screenshot or copy great reviews to display on your website or post on social media.
This extends the power of those testimonials far beyond the review site.
You could even do a Facebook live, Instagram story, or other video reading aloud a few positive reviews and thanking the people who left them.
I’ve heard some recommend to share one or two positive reviews each week.
It’s time to take action
Grab a pen and paper, or open your favorite notepad app, and make a list of ways you can start leveraging positive reviews.
Then list the ways you can get more reviews and testimonials from happy customers.
Choose one item from each list to implement this week.
Then go ahead and check out your review site listings and begin to improve them.
I’d love to hear about your results!
If you found this post helpful, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!
Jenni Burks is a web content writer and copywriter who loves helping small businesses that market to parents. Content marketing has been her side hustle and passion project for almost 20 years.
She lives with her family in Virginia.