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Tips to Increase Your Business through Review Sites

April, 2015 · By Deborah Fiorentino

Social proof plays an essential role in the healthy growth of modern businesses, with feedback on sites like Yelp, Google+, and the BBB providing would-be customers with invaluable information. In an ideal world, your business would never receive a scathing review, but it’s an inevitable challenge you will face as you work to expand your business. Resist the urge to cower and hide when confronted with negative reviews, and instead use these opportunities to put the spotlight on the incredible service you offer. The following reputation management tips will keep your company protected.


Responding to Unhappy Clients

Negative reviews may feel like the end of the world, but don’t let naysayers get the best of you online. Some business owners lash out with unpleasantries while others remain silent in the face of a negative review—unfortunately, neither of these approaches will help your business succeed. Most review sites give businesses a platform for responding to derogatory remarks. Use this interaction to show other customers how you value your clients.

Treat an unhappy digital reviewer the same way you’d respond to an unhappy customer in the real world. For example, if someone complained about the poor quality of your restaurant’s food, you would apologize, offer to remake the dish, or offer a complimentary item from your menu. You should have the same goal in online reputation management. The only difference is you are responding in front of a crowd of spectators.


Incorporating Positive Reviews

An impressive 97% of all American consumers reportedly use search engines to learn more about local businesses. Capturing the attention of the average consumer requires deploying a thoughtful marketing strategy that incorporates positive social proof. Social proof lends credibility to your marketing claims and often makes a dramatic impact on overall foot traffic.

Many review platforms offer widgets you can build directly into your website to showcase positive reviews. Others provide embeddable links you can use to send visitors to your profiles. Use these tools to capitalize on the power of positive social proof.


Building an Active Online Presence

Creating a smart game plan for using both positive and negative reviews to your advantage serves a valuable purpose, but it’s even more effective to develop a proactive presence online. Many review sites, including Yelp and Angie’s List, offer signage you can display to invite customers to leave feedback. Encourage happy clients to post their remarks publicly, while handling any complaints you receive immediately. This two-fold approach helps generate customer loyalty while simultaneously sheltering your business from unwanted negative reviews.

Embracing the world of digital reviews proves challenging for many business owners, but the simple efficacy of these sites makes them a powerful marketing tool for companies of all shapes and sizes. Pay close attention to any review sites where customers leave feedback, and take the time to weigh carefully how best to respond and use these reviews. With a bit of thoughtful analysis and a smart customer service response, you’ll maximize your bottom line and attract new clients in one fell swoop.

Is it Time for a Website Redesign?

March, 2015 · By Deborah Fiorentino

Establishing a presence on the Internet serves a number of important purposes, but the simple existence of a web destination won’t sufficiently benefit a business’ bottom line. Many companies neglect the ongoing maintenance of their websites, in turn alienating would-be customers. According to statistics from the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab, nearly half of all surveyed consumers find a website’s design to be the biggest indicator of a company’s credibility. If your website hasn’t been redesigned in some time, use the following keys to evaluate how a visual overhaul could benefit your business.

Examining User Experience

Web users are notoriously fickle, with countless distractions working to divert their attention when browsing the web. From pop-up advertisements to social media notifications, today’s webmasters have to cut through the noise with clean, modern sites that reflect the identify of their brand. Unfortunately, many older websites struggle to respond to user requests, with outdated navigation bars and poorly-optimized graphics making it difficult for visitors to browse through the site’s pages. These factors contribute to an undesirable overall experience, in turn negatively impacting the consumer’s perception of the company.

Catering to a Mobile Customer

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of mobile web design, with a whopping 80% of all web users turning to their smartphone to browse the web. The digital landscape has changed enormously in a short time, as just five years ago most websites weren’t optimized for the mobile consumer. Today, visitors simply expect responsive design, where sites change to fit the size of the reader’s screen. In fact, 48% of consumers reportedly believe a poor mobile experience indicates a business “does not care.”

Further complicating matters, Google recently changed its search algorithm to prioritize responsive sites over websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. This massive change has a huge impact on site ranking. A site designed just a few short years ago is already out of date, as far as the search behemoth is concerned. Google also reports that 50% of visitors who land on a small business site visit the company’s physical location that very day, further underlining the importance of a great site for restaurateurs and other local service providers.

Turning Visitors into Customers

The Internet once represented a niche sector of the marketing industry, but today it serves as one of the most important tools available to small business owners. As the industry has shifted, marketers have developed savvy strategies for better reaching web consumers. A well-designed site uses a thoughtful layout, catchy copy, and effective calls-to-action to capture a reader’s interest—sites that haven’t been updated in some time simply can’t compete.

Investing in a web design overhaul makes financial sense for companies in every sector, thanks to the undeniable benefits a great website provides. When optimized for modern browsers and devices, a company site can generate more sales, build clout, and contribute to customer loyalty. Best of all, an effective website acts as a company’s best salesperson, working around the clock without stopping.