HometownLocal Analytics

How Online Reviews Can Save Your Business

By | Local Search, Online Marketing, Online Reviews, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Are you a “luke-warmer” regarding online reviews? Have you ever mentioned the following?

  • “I know reviews are important but I just don’t have the time”
  • “I wish getting reviews was easier”
  • “No one really bothers to read reviews anyway”
  • “Reviews don’t really impact my business”
  • “I have some reviews already”

If you uttered any of the above, you are probably in denial regarding online reviews. Here are 5 reasons that may save your business.

1.     Google Reviews – Website Ranking Factor

Google Maps now heavily incorporates online reviews into their website ranking algorithm. The algorithm calculates review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc. This increased algorithm emphasis not only affects Google Maps, but also the Search Engine Results Page or more commonly Sterling Carting - Google Map Examplecalled, the “organic listings”.

It only makes sense that Google would rely on the public to list the best companies at the top of the search results page. Why? Remember, a searcher that uses the Google search engine is a customer of Google. Not yours. This is important to understand, Google doesn’t care if a business employs good people or operates a great business. They use algorithms (robots) to rank businesses either first, last or somewhere in-between. Businesses need to show them that they run a great business by letting the public respond in the form of online reviews. If they have bad reviews it gets reflected, if they have little or no reviews, it gets reflected.

Customers want information about a business, little or no reviews is the same as having bad reviews.

2.    90% of Customers Are Influenced by Online Reviews

Have you heard of ZMOT (no, it’s not a new electric car)? This is Google’s comprehensive consumer study titled “The Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT for short. The study examined how buying decisions are made today. Past consumers used to use three decision buying steps (stimulus, shelf, experience). Today, a fourth buying step developed called “The Zero Moment of Truth”. This is when customers do research, consisting of looking online at reviews, websites, search for coupons, comparison shop, etc. They do this before they head to a store or pick up the phone to call a business. In fact, Dimensional Research (online research company) study results show that 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Moreover, a high-value purchase decision yields more online research by the customer. If a business doesn’t have reviews and the competition does, who do you think generates more trust (with consumers & Google)? Read More

How Do I Get More Online Reviews? [VIDEO]

By | Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

Online Reviews Are the Equivalent of Currency.

Poor reviews or a lack of reviews can cripple a business.  Gone are the days where “word of mouth” ruled the day, now online reviews are everywhere and studies show upwards of 90% of consumers make their buying decision based on reviews.

The choice is clear, you can dominate your competition with a review generation strategy or you can hope you don’t get dominated. Remember, “hope” is not a strategy!

Learn how to generate more online reviews and make the process a breeze.

Google is Moving Away from Google+ for Business Reviews. Your Current Online Reviews and Local Listings will be Affected.

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

Google announced late last year that they were introducing a “new redesigned” Google+. This is their fourth attempt at gaining additional market exposure in an otherwise crowded arena. First launched in 2011, Google+ was a way for Google to enter the social media frenzy.

Google’s new redesign is centered around Communities and Collections, they hope to capitalize on people’s shared interests and topics. Google ultimately hopes this new design and concept will compete better with Facebook and other social media platforms. Additionally, it offers ease of use and a better mobile-friendly experience.

New Google + Introduction

How does this affect my reviews and business listings?

Google has separated local business pages (remember Google Places?) from Google+. You now get directed to a business’ Google Maps listing rather than their Google+ page. As you recall, reviews were collected and displayed on Google+, now reviews are collected and displayed on the business’ Google Maps listing (see below). Read More

Customers May Not Like Your Business – Online Reviews

By | Food for thought, Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

How do potential customers view your business online?

As a business owner or manager, you should be able to answer this question quickly and confidently…and hopefully the answer is “very positively”.  You need to be completely sure of your answer.  If not, you may need more space for that “white elephant” in the room aka “online reviews”.

Today’s customers do not behave like they did just a few years ago, for you to be successful you need to understand behavioral changes. Questions to consider:online reviews elephant image

  • How are MY customer’s behaviors changing in today’s digitally powered world?
  • What effect does new media like reviews and social have on my business?
  • Where do my customers look for my business or service?
  • How much research goes into their decision to purchase?
  • When I search for my business online, what shows up?
  • What does my online review profile look like?

These types of questions have a direct effect on every business operating today, whether you are a roofer, a demolition contractor, or a home service provider.

Google (& others) recognized these shifting behaviors and decided to uncover how buying behaviors have changed over the last few years.  So Google being Google, decided on a large-scale study to find the answers.  The study, called “The Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study (ZMOT)” was in partnership with Shopper Sciences.  The methodology consisted of: Read More

Review Generation – Are Bad Reviews Hurting Your Business?

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews, Reputation Management
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently” – Warren Buffet

This famous quote was delivered many years ago. Businesses that didn’t heed the warning probably aren’t around to do things differently. In today’s fast-paced, high technology world, businesses not embracing Mr. Buffet’s sage advice won’t need to wait 20 years to establish a sound reputation. Businesses today can develop a 5-star reputation in as little as a year AND lose a stellar reputation in much less time. In fact, Mr. Buffet’s advice of ruining a reputation in five minutes may actually be an eternity in today’s online world.

Why some businesses dislike reviews

The main driver for what the community thinks about a business is reviews. Reviews are great if a business rightly deserves positive reviews. In a market based economy, the market (customer) has the final vote on the success or failure of a business. Fair or not, this is reality, and business owners need to understand this quickly. Businesses that monitor and react to online reviews will be in a far better position to succeed in the future.

Business owners cite many reasons for disliking reviews, here’s a sample: review generation

  •           Inaccurate information
  •           Unfair, little recourse to rectify
  •           Not real, competitor driven
  •           Anonymous or unverified

Reviews are here to stay, therefore, it is incumbent upon business owners to understand their roles in protecting their online reputation. Business owners aren’t powerless (even though it may feel that way), many tools exist to help shape or re-shape an online review business profile.

What is Review Generation?

Read More

How Much Does Dumpster Rental Advertising Cost?

By | Dumpster Rental Advertising, Dumpster Rental Marketing, Local Search, Mobile Responsive, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews
As the waste management industry continues to consolidate across the country, smaller dumpster rental companies experience difficulty competing against the “waste management Goliaths” of the industry. These Goliath companies hire SEO experts, they spend enormous sums on paid search, and due to their sheer size, their operating costs tend to be lower (they own the landfills).

Six Building Blocks to Online Marketing SuccessHow does a local dumpster rental company compete? The simple answer, quite well actually! The search engines really don’t care if you are a big company or a mom and pop. This isn’t to say that competing is easy, it never is. You must still do the dumpster advertising basics well.

The following steps  identify the “basics” for dumpster rental advertising:

Mobile-friendly website – no way around this step. The search engines give priority to websites that are mobile-friendly versus non-mobile-friendly websites. Why do they do this? Searchers now more than ever use mobile devices to conduct searches. Search engines want to deliver a great experience, so they push up mobile-friendly websites in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Plus, you want to convey a professional look and feel to any potential customer. Read More

Tackle Online Reviews without Getting Dirty!

By | Online Advertising, Online Reviews, Reputation Management

online reviews

There are numerous websites (e.g., Yelp, Google, and Hometown) online that focus on gathering reviews for products, services and businesses, not to mention lots of communities where people talk about their experiences online (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). Your business will receive both positive and negative reviews, so it’s very important to make sure that you find a way to deal with all reviews quickly.

How to deal with positive reviews?

If users are leaving positive reviews for your business, thank them for their support and showcase some ideas that you have for future product/service updates. It’s crucial to continue the dialog with your customers, as this will encourage a return visit or purchase. Hopefully, they will share their experience with others, generating more sales for you. Another benefit, consider this quote – “There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast” (Brian Kozlow). Share all positive reviews on social media! Read More

Online Reviews – Are They More Important Today?

By | Local Search, Online Advertising, Online Marketing, Online Reviews

online reviewsThanks to the increased exposure of the web all over the world, more and more people are turning to the internet when it comes to making important decisions in their lives. Because of this, online reviews are becoming more and more relevant when it comes to searching what customers think about a certain product or service.

Why people read online reviews?

The answer is very simple, because they manage to obtain immediate access to these reviews and at the same time the opinions come from many past customers, which definitely makes reviews more relevant. More than 90% of online buyers are reading reviews for any product or service, which means that if your business wants to generate more sales, it definitely needs to have a lot of positive reviews online in order to get the attention of potential buyers. The #1 landing spot for your reviews is Google. Google likes to see reviews listed for businesses. In fact, many people in the SEO world believe having reviews helps with organic rankings. Google has never confirmed this, but the belief still exists. Read More

Your Customers Are Talking About You – Online Reputation Management

By | Online Reviews

yelp review logo - local online marketingWhether you like it or not, your customers may be talking about you in unflattering ways.  Remember the old adage: a happy customer tells one person; an angry customer tells ten. In today’s fast paced online world, this unhappy person can tell hundreds, if not thousands of people in one well-placed rant.

If your business isn’t engaged with these unhappy customers or you are turning a blind eye to these reviews, your business will eventually feel the wrath of this relatively new phenomenon.  Read More