Have you ever thought about the difference between “smart” and “wise?”
There are a few clever sayings about the difference between intelligence and wisdom. One of my favorites is, “a smart person knows that a tomato is a fruit, but a wise person knows not to put one in a fruit salad.”
Although Word Of Mouth remains the most trusted, most effective and smartest form of marketing, it has taken a new form in the last few years. Instead of sharing their opinion with a neighbor “over the back fence,” people go online to write reviews of local businesses.
The wise business owner will recognize those changes and will have a plan to take advantage of them. Let’s discuss why it’s important and what you can do about it.
Today’s Word Of Mouth is important because when people are considering using a local business, nearly all of us go online to read reviews of that business. The trigger for such research can be anything from seeing advertising to getting a referral from a friend.
That’s why when you have a good number of positive, recent reviews, it tends to make your marketing work better. Yelp has stated that a one-star rating increase results in a 5% to 9% rise in revenue.
Also, buyers are likely to spend 31% more with a business that has “excellent” reviews. Why? Because the business has earned trust in the marketplace. It just feels safer.
Conversely, marketing a business with visible bad reviews is basically giving your competitors free advertising. When shoppers see bad reviews, they go looking for more appealing options.
Local business reviews are very widely read, are highly trusted, and directly impact buying decisions. Here are a few highlights from BrightLocal’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey:
Nielsen Company (the TV ratings people) research recently showed that 90% of consumers trust reviews, as opposed to the 33% of consumers who actually respond to or have trust in ads.
Google reviews are the best place to focus if you want to grow your business with Word of Mouth. They are the most widely-read reviews on the Internet, and the associated star rating is the #1 way consumers judge the quality of local businesses.
Google reviews simply can’t be ignored. You can’t “opt out” of Google reviews (unless you also choose to be unlisted in Google), so it’s important to have a plan in place to get positive Google reviews for your business.
And the last thing you want is to have only the angry people care enough to bother with writing a review!
In the last three and a half years of helping businesses with online reviews, I’ve noticed the following hallmarks of a successful review building system:
Ease of use: This goes for the business as well as the consumer. I have our clients take less than ten seconds to ask a customer for a review, and the entire review experience for the customer must be less than two minutes.
Review reminders: Although nearly every happy customer will say they will write a review, the fact of the matter is they will get bogged down by the demands of their own lives and often forget. They must be politely reminded.
Google-centric focus: There are lots of services that want to collect and list reviews on their own websites, but none of them are nearly as effective as a Google review from a real customer. Don’t make the mistake of paying to have reviews on a website with unknown visibility that may also display advertising for your competitors.
While there is an incredible upside to online reviews, they can be a double-edged sword. Who might be unhappy enough with you to write something bad about your business? The list is almost embarrassingly long:
Bad reviews will cause you to lose business. Research has shown that one negative review can cost the average business about 30 customers. That’s not just thirty sales you won’t be making due to negative Word of Mouth, it’s all the sales that would come from those 30 people!
Unfortunately, business owners rarely have a sense of this because nobody is going to call you to say they felt more secure doing business with someone else, and they just wanted you to know about it.
Even if you don’t have any bad reviews in Google today, you need to have a plan in mind about how you would handle it. I’ve extended this post with a 6-minute video on how to quickly and easily handle a bad Google review (no sign-up required):
Take the few minutes right now to learn how to protect yourself. 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.
Meet Emily with Emily Johns Photography...
Tell us about yourself.
Born and raised in Bellefontaine Neighbors, I’m now a proud resident of O’Fallon! I am the daughter of two former police officers. My family is also always willing to boast of my dad’s service in the United States Army during the Vietnam War... I have a wonderful boyfriend of 5 years named Bryan, and we have two furbabies – Grace, the socially challenged cat & Layla, the ever so photogenic dog.
Tell us about your organization.
In 2011, at the age of 18, I founded Emily Johns Photography. This gave me an outlet to pursue my lifelong love of photography and embrace my artistic eye as a true career path. A few things I specialize in:
1) Family photography, portraits of the ones you love! Starting at day one, birth photography & newborn photos, all the way to your child’s senior pictures.
2) Bring me to your office for headshots of your staff, facility or office space photos, before and after project photos, or anything else you may need for your professional website or portfolio.
3) Live events, a personal favorite! High energy is where I made my start. I am the official photographer for the Baby Kid Expo, and O’Fallon Chamber’s own Firecracker Run.
What is the mission/vision of your organization?
My mission is simple… To help you capture YOUR story.
What do you do to serve your clients best?
I don’t try to force my clients in to a mold. Not every need falls in to a neat little box, and I’m not afraid to think outside THAT box. I’m open to the ideas that my clients bring me. I really strive to help bring their vision to fruition.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 5 years for the company?
Simple answer to that is “growth.” Seeing my local business clients grow in our community. I want to be a part of that. I want to be the one that took the photos of a client’s first office and come back in the future to photograph their new expanded location. I also love to see my families grow. I want to tell a child, “I remember you. I took pictures of you right after you were born.” “Growth,” of my clients and of my community, that’s what I’m looking forward to.
Why would you recommend the O’Fallon Chamber?
I have personally experienced tremendous growth since being involved with the O’Fallon Chamber. Not just professionally, but gains on a personal level as well. I’ve made so many connections since joining almost two years ago. Connections that transcend not just business relationships, but real friendships that reach a personal level as well. As I build Emily Johns Photography, the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce & Industries provides a huge support system for me, and I’m very thankful of that.
O’Fallon, MO – These O’Fallon Chamber members and/or O’Fallon businesses celebrated opening their doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce & Industries and the City of O’Fallon.
March 1, 2016
Menchie's Frozen Yogurt
106 Laura K Dr, O'Fallon, MO 63366
March 24, 2016
Advanced Bone & Joint
4651 Hwy K, O’Fallon, MO 63368
The O'Fallon Chamber of Commerce & Industries is committed to promoting the economic vitality of O’Fallon and the St. Charles County Region by engaging its members in networking and educational opportunities, while advocating for pro-business public policy.
Please make sure that you get out tomorrow to vote! As we are all currently watching, national elections get all of the media coverage; however local elections effect all parts of our lives- education of our workforce, public safety, infrastructure and so much more. Please take some time today to familiarize yourself with your ballot so that you can make the best decisions in the voter box.
One issue that the Chamber is supporting tomorrow is the approval of Prop K for Ft. Zumwalt Kids. You can read all about it in another article. I’d like to explain what the Chamber’s role is in issues like this and others that affect our community.
The O’Fallon Chamber has a Public Policy committee that reviews issues brought to their attention through a Support Request Form. The committee looks at both sides of the issue, weighs the pros and cons and then makes a recommendation to the Board of Directors, who can then endorse or not endorse an issue. This function of our Chamber is many times overlooked, but something that we take very seriously. The Chamber is always advocating on behalf of our business community.
I had the opportunity to go to an O’Fallon City Council meeting which was very interesting. I would encourage each of you to take the time to go in person or watch online to get to know your community better.
Just this week, a couple of us took a car ride up to Jefferson City to visit with our State Legislators about state wide issues affecting our businesses. Again, if you have the opportunity, call Erin at the Chamber office and ask when the next Jefferson City trip is and plan on joining us.
Finally, in order to keep this an entertaining article: What’s the difference between death and taxes? Congress can't make death any worse. J
Until next month,
2016 Chairman of the Board