It’s been apparent for some time that Google is focusing much of its search results page for businesses toward branded search.

We provided insights into branded searches in a recent article.

When identifying their brand, many businesses will point to such things as their logo, color schemes, snappy tag line, consistent message, and value propositions as their brand. However, all of those items should be considered branding activities for shaping and influencing the public perception of your business.

Your brand is actually your customer’s perception of your business.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is widely quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Today, it’s not so much what people say outside the room, but online that matters. Online reviews should be considered a major association to your actual brand.

Reviews reflect customer experiences with your business. It’s also what many potential customers look at before deciding to use your services or purchase your products.

Online Reviews and the Impact on Your Business

At the end of 2018, Bright Local published results of a study on online reviews. The following results show the impact reviews may have on your customers:

  • Consumers require 40 online reviews before believing the accuracy of a business’ star rating
  • Nearly 60% expect a business should have more than 11 reviews
  • Consumers look at an average of 10 reviews about a business
  • 85% believe online reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant while 40% only care about reviews with the last two weeks
  • 89% look for and read business responses to reviews

One survey result really stood out to us: 70% of consumers leave reviews when asked to do so.

Your consumers are helping to create your brand story as it appears online with either positive reviews, negative reviews or no reviews.

Fortunately, customers appear to be more than willing to provide their voice to your brand when asked.

How to Ask For an Online Review

Many businesses are under the impression that asking for reviews is a “no-no” with online review sites. That may be the case with YELP. However, Google encourages businesses to do so:

“Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”

They also encourage businesses to engage with customer reviews:

“Reply to reviews to build your customers’ trust. Your customers will notice that your business values their input, and possibly leave more reviews in the future. You can also create and share a link that customers can click to leave a review.”

Adding a convenient link to your website that customers can use to directly visit and add a review to your Google My Business profile can help increase the likelihood of a review.

When asking for a positive review, encourage your customer to add valuable details to help potential customers in their decision to engage with your business. A good review may include:

  • Details on services provided
  • How the service met their needs
  • The area the services were provided (“our St. Augustine home”) if conducted in the customer’s home (plumbing, fence, electrical, etc.)
  • Mention employee who helped the customer by name

Be sure to respond to the customer’s review. If the review doesn’t provide one or more of the three items listed above, feel free to add it in your response.

When your business develops and implements a review strategy, it will become an effective component toward establishing a strong brand online.

Is Managing Your Online Presence More than You Can Manage? Reach Out for Help.

Give Business Solutions Unlimited a call at (904) 429-4588 to discuss how we can help your business today.