Command More Business By Encouraging Customer Reviews

customer reviewsSolicitors, Dentists and Accountants are losing pre qualified business each and every day before that potential client even sets foot in their place of business and without even speaking to a representative of the business. How? The decision is based solely on what other people say about your business, through customer reviews and word of mouth online.

Having a prominent position on Google is no longer enough to guarantee that people will see your business as the authority in your niche, the best person to satisfy, meet and surpass their needs. The client is educated and does their research by uncovering information from several sources before making a decision on your business. In doing so these consumer savvy clients pay more attention and give more credibility to what other people say about your business over and above what you do.

Enter the new world of word of mouth marketing!

When presented with too many choices, consumers look for ways to separate what you do and how you do it from your competitors. Often this comes down to social proof in terms of customer reviews and testimonials about your business.

Finding these customer reviews, for the most part, is not too difficult. There are hundreds if not thousands of business review sites and local directories all over the internet that contain information about your business and give patrons of your business the opportunity to share how good you and your services really are. The most important thing to remember is that once a review is posted online about your business it is there forever. Whether it is positive or negative.

It is estimated that one in four searches on the internet is a local search, a local search for example being “place name + service”. The results that appear predominately show local business directories and that is why it is important to make sure your listings are complete and you are aware of user generated content on them.

5 Local business directories that you should keep your eyes on.

1. Google Plus Local for Business

customer reviewsFormerly known as Google Places, Google Plus Local allows businesses to register themselves with Google, or claim a listing that Google has created on your behalf.  The listing is visible on Google Maps, as well as displaying in search results, with extended information and data available at a glance when a user searches for your business name and the service your business represents in your location.

Take the time to complete all relevant information about your business. The more Google knows about your business the better it can represent you in local search, maps or listings when people are searching for your services.

Put in place a campaign where you approach your clients to leave reviews on your Google Plus Profile about the services they have received. The more positive reviews you have, the more Google will begin to trust your business and this can directly affect how your business ranks in local search.

This may seem like hard work, but don’t just limit your review campaign to Google plus local, ask customers to also leave reviews on some of the following sites as Google Plus local also collates and displays reviews about your business on these sites too.

2. Yell.

15 years ago the yellow pages would have been the go to source for local business searches but with the advancement in technology and the rise of search engines the online yell directory is not as popular as it once was. On the flip side because of the brand name being so well known, Yell is still a good place to register your business. Yell give the option to have a free listing and also offer several enhanced features designed to elevate your business in the directory for a fee.

Depending on the demographics of your targeted clients, the Yellow pages and Yell could be a valuable asset in generating clients.

3. Yelp!

customer reviewsWith over 30 million reviews and 78 million unique monthly visitors Yelp is a big player in the local search arena. Couple that with the recent purchase of Qype, which in itself boasted more than 2 million local business reviews and 15 million unique monthly visitors, you can see not only that a lot of people are using the local directories but they are stopping to leave reviews.

Yelp is a full-fledged social community, complete with the ability to add friends, earn community reputations, a robust commenting system, and picture profiles. Because of its marked popularity and the fact that it has been courting users and reviews since 2004, Yelp! reviews rank well with search engines. In addition the reviews are generally seen as reputable and trustworthy and Yelp! continues to weed out fake reviews from their system. Find out what others are saying about your business and claim your Yelp listing!

4. Yahoo! Local Listings

customer reviewsYahoo! Local Listings are similar in format to Google. Complete with a map and full landing page, Yahoo! Local listings rank above organic search results, below the top three pay-per-click listings but crucially above the fold.

Although Yahoo does not get the same amount of traffic as Google there is no reason to ignore what could be a very lucrative local lead generation strategy for your business. The simple fact that Yahoo is not as popular as Google means that quite often businesses overlook Yahoo to concentrate on Google which gives you a greater opportunity to rank for your location and service with less competition.

Promote your Yahoo! Local Listing as you would any of your other business assets. It is free to create and is only limited by the effort and content you include to make your business stand out from the rest. Get your Yahoo! Map Listing started.

5. FreeIndex

customer reviewsFreeIndex is another site that is increasingly growing in popularity and has the benefit of reviews being aggregated into your Google plus local page

As with the other directories it is customisable to represent your business and your clients can leave their testimonials to share how great your business services are. The listing is free and is another great way to promote your business locally online.

As a business owner it is crucial to get your name and your brand in front of as many interested people as possible. What better way than getting it in front of people who are actively searching for your business in your local area.

Business directory listings allow you to position yourself in front of your audience and also to showcase the great work that you are providing your clients as well as a platform to shout about the excellent experience they have received at your hands through glowing customer reviews.