Take Your Word Of Mouth Referrals To The Next Level

By · Filed in Marketing - General

Did you know:

94% of new customers who buy products and services from businesses in their area (local businesses) use a search engine to find a business or at least check it out beforehand?

Google is the service that your customers are using significantly more than any alternative (offline or online) to find your products and services.

And, for many Google searches, particularly for local businesses, Google is now showing reviews, both the number of reviews and, sometimes, a review “score”.

Did you also know that:

  • 70% of customers trust a business with a minimum of 6-10 reviews.
  • 72% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.

These reviews are known as social signals. They are the new word of mouth referral. You will get more customers if the Google search results show that you have more and better reviews.

What’s more, Google knows that people prefer businesses with more and better reviews so it is ranking these businesses higher in the search results.

A recent Harvard Business School study found that a one-star rating decrease can reduce revenues by nearly 10%, so it literally pays to stay on top of all your reviews.

Your goal must be to:

  • Get the best reviews you can
  • Get as many reviews as you can

You may already know that you need to get these reviews. If so, your next question may be one of the most popular questions we get asked: “How do we get them?”

Here’s the good news. There is a proven 3-step process to follow that:

  • Ensures your business is listed everywhere it needs to be: exactly where customers are searching.
  • Generates the positive reviews needed to boost rankings and calls.
  • Monitors your business presence to maximize results.

Let’s go through it …

Step one: a verified local presence:

  • You need a Google+ Local listing that is complete and accurate and is focused on your main product or service (these used to be called Google Places or Google Maps entries).
  • You should also set up industry or hyper-local directory entries relevant to your industry.
  • When creating all these entries, ensure that your name, address and phone details match and are correct – this is vital to making online listing sites work for you and your business.

Step two: take control of your brand:

  • Do that using review request cards (like the Social Accelerator cards that we produce for our clients)
  • They give easy direct access for customers to leave a review of your business
  • They can be integrated with appointment reminder cards or left at a service call or given to the customer with their bill at a restaurant.
  • They can be branded on the front just like a business card
  • On the back they have a QR code that can be scanned and short links that can be typed in to take a customer straight to your rating or review site.
  • They can be set up for the most appropriate site for you
  • The cards can be in different shapes and sizes (usually business card or postcard sized)
  • They are review generators for your business
  • They work in any industry and are quick and easy to use by your team and by your customers
  • Simply hand them out to all of your customers who have had a positive experience with your business
  • They will help build your brand online

You may be wondering whether you should be using Google as the prime place where customers should post reviews.

Google have made it increasingly difficult for your customers to leave a review in recent months. This is actually a good thing for you. Google reviews have been merged with Zagat ratings which require at least 10 reviews for your business to be given a review score on your Google+ Local page.

By using this system you’ll beat the competition to the 10 reviews and have your score appearing online and people looking at your business instead of your competition’s.

Review request cards give you instant credibility and brand management. They help you build your ratings and reviews on the web because the business with the most positive reviews usually wins.

A heap of positive reviews are like the old full page yellow pages ads. Today the same result can be obtained cost effectively.

Your reviews posted onto the smaller peripheral sites add up to help compound traffic and build a wider presence for your business online and these smaller sites also show up in the Google Search Results.

You can easily implement this strategy daily in your business starting today.

In doing so, there are 3 “R”s for you to follow to maximise the effectiveness of your reviews:

  • Real: they must be Real customer reviews
  • Relevant: they must be relevant to your business
  • Recent: They should be Recent as recent reviews are given more weight (by people and by Google)

What About Those Negative Reviews?

We know that, on average, a customer who has had a bad experience will tell 10 other people about it whereas a customer who has had a good experience will only tell one other person. Using review request cards makes it easier to spread the positive reviews while minimizing adverse affects and helping mitigate the negative ones.

Step Three: Monitor & Manage Your Reviews

You need to know what customers are saying about your business as soon as it happens.

  • Over 62% of people read online reviews.
  • Approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations even those by anonymous posters!

Don’t let bad reviews cost you lost sales and service appointments.

Therefore, step three is to take control of your reputation by:

  • monitoring the reviews you are receiving
  • spreading the positive reviews further afield so more people see them
  • responding quickly to negative reviews – people expect an occasional negative review and look for a business to accept and apologise for a problem and demonstrate that it is keen to take steps to address the issue. In this way, a negative can be turned into a positive.

By putting this three-step system in place you will attract more customers.

So, what are you waiting for?

From Liz, Ian and the Online & Mobile Marketing Wizards at
Roderick Pugh Marketing
The Local Business Specialists for Online & Mobile Marketing
When achieving a 25% or more growth at your business matters!
Tel: 01554 775 738

Leave a Comment


Hi Arif,

Thanks for your question.

It’s good to hear that you are moving ahead with your Online Marketing. I remember you guys at the Seminars, although I think you missed the 3rd one!

Zagat is (mostly) a restaurant review company. They were bought by Google last year and Google are spreading Zagat’s systems and methods across all reviews now. You don’t need to register with Zagat as Google automatically shows reviews as having a Zagat rating. It will also show the Zagat logo against restaurant reviews – although, in the US, it is showing the Zagat logo more broadly so this may change here too. The bottom line is that you do not need to do anything more if you are already registered with Google+ Local (aka Google Maps/Google Places). You have the key sites there already with Google, Qype and Freeindex.

I’ll also send you an email.

Hi Guys
We attended your marketing seminars last yr. with Matthew and the BCA. we have redeveloped our website and are playing catch up with the internet. Your review posting is just where we are at and have e mail footers with buttons to website and 4 review sites inc;. google+ Freeindex qype but not Zagat. How does one join? We are using a company for our ESO and online marketing but I am impressed with you and if in 6 months we have not improved significantly I hope you would accept our business.
Thanks again for the advice. Arif

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