Note: this blog post was written in 2012 and is still highly valuable. Please read on: There’s a tool that exists that’s an absolutely HUGE opportunity for you to get found by your local customers and you probably already own this tool: your smartphone. More importantly, your “probable” customers most likely own a smartphone. With 95% of smartphone users searching for local businesses on their phones and with 88% of these consumers taking action within the day of their search, you simply must have a mobile-friendly version of your website.
My hunch is that most of these local searchers take action RIGHT AWAY, rather than later within the day. If you don’t have a mobile website that’s thumb-friendly and has a “Call Now” button, you’re missing out on revenue. (Note: I think this is SO critical to your success that I’ve added on Mobile Websites as a new service at DaGama Web Studio.)
I was shocked when I read those statistics. I knew it must be high but 95% is practically all of your probable customers! Read on, below, if you’d like to learn how you can do some do-it-yourself (DIY) action steps to take control of what people say about you in local search results – your “probable” customers are reading those online consumer reviews and basing their decisions on them as to whether or not to do business with you.
Take Control of What People Say About Your Business Online
Now, because of Google Places (now it’s evolved into Google My Business, which changed it’s name again: Google Business Profile) and Yelp, it’s much easier for you to take control and manage what your customers say about you online. This is part of your Online Reputation(read more about that in my blog post: How To Build a Positive Online Reputation).
You can do lots of things in your Google Places listing that will ultimately impact your revenue in a positive way. Simply by taking control of it might give you an edge over your competitors if they haven’t done so already with their Google Places listings. You can post photos and videos and add categories that your services should be listed under and you can list your hours of operation. When you, the owner, log into your Google Places account, you can view the statistics there that will help you improve your listing, such as what search queries people have used to find your listing. Think of your Google Places listing as one of your most valuable tools in increasing your revenue. It’s another way to compete in today’s market. Go to Google Places now and claim your business. (Let me know if you need help.)
CAUTION: If you’re a home-based business and don’t have a virtual or remote office address, you might not want to post your home address as your place of business. Be careful.
Have you heard of Yelp? Yelp is another website where consumers can create a free account and post their reviews of places they’ve spent their money in, such as restaurants, beauty salons, auto mechanics – and so on. You, the business owner, should claim your Yelp account (it’s free) so you can take control of it. When someone posts a positive review, you should thank them. I recommend giving that person some sort of gift to thank them AFTER they have posted a positive review. You can’t do it beforehand, because that violates Yelp’s policy of “no bribing”. And if someone posts a negative or “so-so” type of review, you can respond just as you would if they had called you (your response is seen by your probable customers so be extra nice and helpful). Online consumer reviews are becoming more and more popular because people don’t want to waste their money on a place that doesn’t return on the investment with good service and good products. In fact, A Lightspeed Research survey discovered that after reading just two negative reviews about a company, consumers won’t bother doing business with that company, no matter that two total strangers posted those reviews.