When you’re running a business, your online reputation matters. It’s the modern day version of word of mouth, for better or worse. Unfortunately, what other people think of you doesn’t end in high school. There are seemingly endless review sites floating around online and potential customers aren’t shy about checking out what other people have to say. This can be a great thing or a horrible thing – depending on how your business stacks up.
In reality everyone knows there are always two sides to a story. However, that can be a hard pill to swallow when a customer is looking at a scathing (or even slightly negative) review. The best course of action is to appease the unhappy customer to have the review modified or removed. The next step is to make sure your business is shining brightly on some of the most important review sites.
Don’t Miss Out on These Sites
Heard of Yelp? Of course you have – and you need to be on it. This isn’t the only site that has some serious pull. If you can get reviewed on Angie’s List for testing services, you’re golden. This is a site that attracts customers who are willing to pay a little extra for prime service and products.
Consumer Reports is often one of the first place people go to check out the quality of a business. Other popular sites include Wired, Consumer Search, and Epinions. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of online options for consumers to find a business they feel comfortable with. Do you know how many you’re on – if any?
It’s always wise to Google your business to see what kind of web presence you have. Remember that having no web presence outside of your own web site is often seen as a red flag. There may be some reviews out there that you’re completely unaware of. This needs to be a continuous part of managing your SEO (search engine optimization). Keep track of your reviews and prioritize upping your rankings.
How to Implement Changes
If you do stumble across a less than stellar review, see about having it changed according to that site’s procedures (either contacting the reviewer or the web host if it’s truly an unfair review). However, spreading the word about your business on the most popular sites is the best way to up your SEO rankings and possible how much business you’re doing.
The most ethical way to do this is by encouraging customers to write reviews. Offer them a discount on services for a review that you check. Another option is hiring official reviewers whose sole job is to check out your products and write reviews. If you cannot afford a full-time employee, a part-time college student (preferably with an interest or background in green products) can often be hired for minimum wage. Keep in mind that reviews are part of marketing and need to be taken seriously. After all, it’s your reputation on the line.