In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for small businesses to thrive in competitive markets like Chicago, IL.
The internet has become the go-to platform for consumers to research, find, and engage with businesses.
As a small business owner in the Chicagoland area, you should make sure your online presence is carefully managed and consistently updated.
Here are three critical steps to help you achieve that goal:
- Monitor Your Online Reputation
- Respond to All Online Comments About Your Business
- Monitor Your Google Business Profile
Monitor Your Online Reputation:
The internet is an open platform where everyone can voice their opinions, including your customers. Monitoring your online reputation is crucial because a negative review or comment can significantly impact your business. Your online reputation is your business’s digital footprint, and you need to keep it as clean and positive as possible.
- A Harvard Business School study found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
- According to BrightLocal, 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 82% of people read reviews for local businesses, and the average consumer spends 13 minutes reading them before making a decision.
- To monitor your online reputation effectively, you should:
Set up Google Alerts for your business name and variations of it, so you are notified when people mention your business online.
Regularly check review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews to stay up-to-date with customer feedback.
Use social listening tools like Hootsuite or Mention to track your business’s social media presence.
Respond to All Online Comments About Your Business
Taking the time to respond to all online comments about your business, both positive and negative, demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.
It also provides an opportunity for you to address issues and show potential customers that you are actively engaged and responsive.
There are a few very well researched reasons for this including:
- According to ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their online reviews within a week.
- Responding to negative reviews can help change a customer’s opinion, as 45% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.
- Engaging with customers through comments and reviews can build loyalty and encourage repeat business.
- To effectively respond to online comments, you should:
Always personalize your responses by addressing the customer by their name and referencing specific details from their comment or review.
BE POSITIVE!!! Even go as far as to apologize and empathize with the customer if they had a negative experience, and offer a solution (preferably a coupon!) to resolve the issue.
Thank customers for their positive feedback and invite them to return or recommend your business to others.
Monitor Your Google Business Profile:
A Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a critical tool for your small business to attract potential customers like the big players do.
This free listing on Google could be worth MANY thousands of dollars in added revenue if you manage it properly. It just so happens that LeadSurge.Pro happens to specialize in precisely that!
Your GBP allows you to showcase your business, including giving customers a way to directly contact you (seriously, you will never find a hotter prospect so treat these calls like gold!)
You should be sure to manage your hours of operation, photos, and customer reviews. When people close by are in need of your exact services, your Google Business Profile will appear along with your competitors. It is essential to keep it updated and optimized if you want to get that customer.
From our findings in managing profiles for a variety of small businesses we consistently find that:
- A well-optimized Google Business Profile is more likely to appear in your local “3-pack” – which is the top three results for local searches on Google Maps.
- According to Google itself, businesses with photos on their profile receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks to their website.
- Your Google Business Profile is like a social media platform in that it allows customers to leave reviews, which can positively influence your online reputation. A better reputation ensures you are not immediately crossed off the list. But the more reviews you have and the more recent the review, the more likely you are to win the customer.
Once you get those positive reviews coming in regularly, what’s the next logical thing to do?
Shout It From The Rooftops! Let everyone in all your social media channels know just how much your work is being appreciated. This creates a positive feedback loop that really grows your business!
LeadSurge.Pro understands that as a small business owner you might not have time to run your business, serve your customers, and also work on the online marketing that you need to have to bring in future customers.
We can help you. Just give a call at 773 425 9076 or 773 789 8916 to find out if our Google management service would be a good fit for you!