Generating Online Reviews for Local Businesses
Getting more reviews opens the door to more revenue, higher ratings in reviews attract more consumers, and responding to the reviews a business gets online leads to establishing a stronger brand presence online.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
NOW AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS
[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello, welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. I’m Kevin Dieny, and today we’re going to be talking about generating customer reviews for small businesses. Specifically I think it really matters when we’re talking about online reviews for the local business. A lot of customers who are looking at local businesses are looking at reviews.
[00:00:19] Kevin Dieny: I think it’s happening at all scales of business… but generating the reviews can seem a little tough. Especially since there’s a lot of channels that business could be thinking, okay, um uh I’ve got so much, I’m doing here. I’m working on marketing and emails and social media and advertisements and direct mail. And gosh, now, now there’s reviews I have to be thinking about.
[00:00:39] Kevin Dieny: And it’s not necessarily something new it’s been around for a little while here. People have been looking at reviews before they purchase or to figure out who they’re going to buy from for a long time. So to help me talk about this topic, I have a very special guest, her name is Jen Cornwell.
[00:00:53] Kevin Dieny: Jen is the director of digital strategy at Ignite Visibility, where she’s a strategic manager and SEO investigator. I love that by the way. Jen currently manages a team of 13 SEO professionals, and a few enterprise level clients. She invests a lot of her time in reporting efficiency and effectiveness to drive results.
[00:01:13] Kevin Dieny: Jen grew up in central New York and left the snow behind six years ago for sunny San Diego, where she started learning SEO and hoarding plants. So she’s got a green thumb. So welcome, Jen.
[00:01:23] Jen Cornwell: Hi, thanks. Thanks, Kevin, nice to see you.
[00:01:26] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Thank you. We are more than just a little excited to talk about this because gosh, reviews and how businesses are supposed to handle them has been a hot topic for a long time. Our teams here have heard about this. This is something that’s come out of a lot of businesses wanting, okay.
[00:01:44] Kevin Dieny: Reviews are maybe hurting me and reviews are helping me. How do I manage all that? How do I get more? So to talk about this, Jen, I’ve got a question for you. How valuable are reviews for a local business? Like how should a business… How should a business be thinking about how valuable it would be to start focusing on their review game?
[00:02:04] Jen Cornwell: Reviews have become more and more important. I think one of the bigger business drivers, especially for local, is word of mouth, right? And reviews are really like this digital word of mouth for users when they’re coming in, trying to understand what’s the best decision to make, what’s the service to go with.
[00:02:22] Jen Cornwell: Google has made them more and more ever-present. Yelp has existed for a long time now. So yeah, super important, a really important part of it’s a local strategy. And the impact it has on the consumer experiences is major.
[00:02:37] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, back in the day a business was maybe thinking well… All I got to do is have a store in downtown, and then it became, well, now I need to have a website. And then it’s like, okay, now my website has to rank and now it’s. The right business, it needs to rank, but I also need to have good reviews.
[00:02:55] Kevin Dieny: So there’s quite a bit going there for a business and that, or that more and more is required more and more is giving businesses, advantages over other businesses to say like, okay, customer shopping around. A review may swing it in their favor or in your favor. So it gets, I think it gets to be a lot for a business to think, man, I have to manage all these reviews.
[00:03:18] Kevin Dieny: I have to do a website. I have to do all this stuff. So why do you think businesses are feeling discouraged about managing reviews these days?
[00:03:27] Jen Cornwell: I think the hardest thing and a lot of the questions we get when we’re talking about like review management in general is bad reviews, right? People are scared to hear the feedback from customers. Well, and they’re not scared. I think business owners are generally like, they want to know they want to hear that feedback. But they don’t know how to manage it or handle it when it’s poor feedback.
[00:03:46] Jen Cornwell: And then when it is poor feedback, they’d rather privately fix it than let everybody know their business. I think there’s a lot of value in, in those opportunities, right? To, inform that customer who maybe had a poor experience or show other customers how you handle a poor experience. I think that’s the biggest holdup.
[00:04:06] Jen Cornwell: I think it also feels a little bit daunting if you’re not super tech savvy. There’s a ton of platforms that help you do it. Google my business has really automated the process to some level. They let you know when someone shows up, they give you tips on how to do it. Things like that.
[00:04:21] Jen Cornwell: There’s a lot of stuff built in now that maybe didn’t exist when reviews first became important or a thing.
[00:04:28] Kevin Dieny: When we talk about generating reviews, that kind of implies, we are asking the customer to provide us some feedback. There’s usually like a, I dunno, a star or a point based rating system. Sometimes it’s out of four or 10, or I think the most common is five. And then, they have the option usually to leave a comment.
[00:04:47] Kevin Dieny: So when we’re generating reviews, there is that possibility where for every 10, 5, 25 or whatever, we struggle to get some of those make negative reviews. I don’t think it’s reasonable to say a business should start freaking out if like a percent or five or if some fraction of their reviews are negative. I think that’s a fairly healthy thing for a business to have a good amount of reviews that land in either court.
[00:05:13] Kevin Dieny: So then the question would be okay, so are negative reviews that bad, and what can be done about them?
[00:05:22] Jen Cornwell: I think users are conditioned to look at reviews now. Right? I think Amazon is a great example. Then you go look at an Amazon product, it has 10,000 reviews and they’re all five stars and that’s immediately a red flag. I know me personally, I actually will go and look at the bad reviews.
[00:05:40] Jen Cornwell: So if they don’t have that five star reading, they’re in that like four to five range. What are people rating poorly on? A lot of the time, I think restaurants, that’s a great example. You go and it’s like, oh yeah, the food was amazing, but we just had this one bad experience with this one person in the business.
[00:05:56] Jen Cornwell: And that’s not enough to sway me personally as a consumer. And I think, I think that’s generally true. So when you get the bad reviews, it’s really about the response and how it’s handled. If I do see that. Oh yeah, the service was poor. Food was great, but then the business owner comes in and tries to justify or gets defensive, right.
[00:06:15] Jen Cornwell: Instead of apologizing. Reaching out and that’s another good option with bad reviews. Right? Reach out. How can they solve your problem? Looking forward, sorry that happened to you. So there’s a way to manage poor reviews. Definitely. I don’t want to say you want bad reviews.
[00:06:30] Jen Cornwell: That’s definitely not it. I don’t go generate bad reviews by any means, but having all five star reviews, isn’t isn’t a great look either in general. I think now.
[00:06:39] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. There’s two things that I was thinking about that right at the end there, and the first one was the customer experience that you’re describing. When someone goes to, let’s say Google My Business, which is probably the, one of the most popular review aggregators, to see, how are people responding to this business?
[00:06:59] Kevin Dieny: They could see a business that has stacked all five star reviews. They could see one that has more of like a, maybe a healthier distribution. They have some in the five and the fours and the threes and the two stars and the one stars. And. You know, a customer may be like, well, I want to see what the one stars are.
[00:07:15] Kevin Dieny: And if it’s like, okay, food was amazing. I had to wait 10 more minutes on a Friday busy night, on the Eve of Christmas, yeah, that’s a busy time. The content of what’s happening in the reviews like that, that matters. But at the same time, the whole thing is I think impacting the customer experience to know this business is real trustworthy, things like that.
[00:07:33] Kevin Dieny: So how important is… The experience of consumers, patients, anyone who’s looking to buy something or get service from something. How important are reviews for the customer experience?
[00:07:46] Jen Cornwell: Right now they’re incredibly important. I think if you talk to a lot of local businesses, I work with a couple of local clients who are in service industry. And they’re like, yeah, our top patient generator, actually, I’m going to very specifically refer to a medical client, um, their top patient generators, word of mouth, right.
[00:08:04] Jen Cornwell: It’s somebody who says, Hey, I go to this person. They’re great. They’re amazing. I recommend them. When you can’t do that, when you don’t have that network developed, the reviews are important for that instead, right? So it really replaces that. I think on the flip, when they’re researching, they don’t even know where they’re starting.
[00:08:20] Jen Cornwell: They aren’t searching for you. It’s just a general term. They want to see some context. They want to, they’re going to have questions. They want to know. Well, your website says this, that you provide this, but I have some, some questions about that. And sometimes the review content has that, those answers in it, Google and I think Yelp have both gotten pretty good about pulling out some frequently asked question.
[00:08:42] Jen Cornwell: Amazon does it now, too. I think that’s something else that people are looking for. And, and that’s some of the value as well. The common questions for your users are going to get answered by other people. That’s actually less work for you, right? As a business owner. It’s a lot of value.
[00:08:56] Jen Cornwell: There’s also a lot of opportunity in the reviews to improve your customer experience. So you’re getting feedback from people who are really there and there’s things that you could improve or change, or maybe it’s not even improvements, it’s just growth. Right? It’s just like these really great ideas that come from suggestions from people who love your business.
[00:09:15] Jen Cornwell: It can be very positive also, right? So I think there’s a lot of opportunity for business owners to connect with customers and users through those reviews. As well as the information it provides to new patients or patients, consumers, customers, et cetera.
[00:09:32] Kevin Dieny: We get into that, descriptive, what do we call a lead, all the time? Is it a prospect? Is it a lead, is it a consumer, is it a client, is it a customer, there’s a lot of things. And all those things are, can be driven from reviews. Like you said, like referrals, word of mouth.
[00:09:45] Kevin Dieny: It’s like the new word of mouth and then sort of a digital context. So. One other interesting thing that you’ve just described, which I think highlights the importance of continually making reviews a part of your let’s say strategy. Is the, if you did, if you go ham, let’s say go crazy and you get a bunch of reviews in one month and then you’re like, okay, I’m done with that for now.
[00:10:07] Kevin Dieny: You get, let’s say 50 and they’re all pretty good ratings. Well… Most of the reviews systems have like, okay, they’re going to, you know, reviews are still gonna be coming in, but now you’re not emphasizing, gathering reviews. So if you get like a couple of bad, like a couple negative or even a one or two negative reviews after that, the top reviews usually are sorted by most recent, it could be sorted by, only the five star ones.
[00:10:32] Kevin Dieny: Only the ones that have to do with a certain, question or something like that are most helpful review, something like that. But I think reviews have a necessity to continually be trying to generate them. So that way there’s not just a big bubble of one month where a business had all their reviews, like two years ago, customers want to see reviews that are recent too.
[00:10:54] Kevin Dieny: They want to see, okay. The business was good two years ago. Is it still good today? I mean, it’s still important and relevant. I think not just the, okay. Is it a four or five? I think it’s also important to see, like in the most recent month or two months, how has the business been ranking just in that period of time?
[00:11:10] Kevin Dieny: I think that’s also something important that you kind of highlighted.
[00:11:13] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, no, totally. I had an experience where I was looking for a salon and I go into the reviews and it’s like, all five stars, like tons of five stars reviews in the last, few months. And there’s one review in there, that’s three stars. And I look at it and it’s, hey, this business is running a promotion, to write all five star reviews, and that is why you see all of these is because they’re getting, a discounted service or whatever it is.
[00:11:36] Jen Cornwell: And I was like, oh, okay. And then all of a sudden, all of those five star reviews really didn’t matter. But yes, I think the consistency is important. If those have been staffed with a handful of other reviews that weren’t five stars and wasn’t happening in a set period of time only, that wouldn’t have been a red flag for me as a consumer.
[00:11:54] Jen Cornwell: I think the important part too, is that your consumer, right? Because once you’re asking for their review at that point, they’ve come to your business, they’ve experienced the service and now you’re trying to turn them into a return customer. So those return customers, I think, will also notice when you’re looking for reviews in a short period of time, it should be natural.
[00:12:16] Jen Cornwell: It should be, hey, uh, I experienced the service and I want to get your feedback now. You came to this appointment or you visited us in the store and now I want to hear back from you. That’s what’s really important. And that’s, what’s going to make it natural too. I think strategically it’s generating reviews over time, and showing up at the right opportunity.
[00:12:36] Jen Cornwell: For the review. I think the other piece of it, right? It’s like asking someone who visited your business six months ago. They A) may not be interested in doing it because they forgot about it or B) they just don’t have the time. Right? They are not as close to the experience. So even if it was an amazing experience, they’re going to forget some of the stuff potentially that they could have included if you asked them two weeks after instead.
[00:12:58] Jen Cornwell: So yeah, I think that helps create a better framework, for consistency, but it also just helps you provide better quality feedback, which is really important.
[00:13:08] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, yeah. I think this is a good opportunity now to switch toward, we were talking about what are reviews, why is it important? How it impacts the business by having them, the consumer, customer, patient experience from having them for, creating a better engagement the business may have with its consumers.
[00:13:24] Kevin Dieny: Generating what may be called, like a digital word of mouth referring business. So now, okay. If it’s so simple impotant, how do, how does a business go about generating reviews? And like you mentioned, trying to generate reviews right after the experience with the business has been completed.
[00:13:44] Kevin Dieny: How does a business go about asking for reviews?
[00:13:48] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, I think there are a lot of different ways you can do that. I started my SEO career in local. I was working with chiropractors, optometrists, vets. Reviews are like such a major part of their business. I’ve seen people do things from a, the patient had a good experience in the appointment room and they put a green sticker on their folder and then hand it off to the office manager.
[00:14:10] Jen Cornwell: And then the office manager that was their cue to say, hey, if you’d like, go ahead and write us a review, right? So is this a little bit of like real time a review gating and in real life, but I do think that’s important. I think you have repeat customers. You have people that come in. You have people that are brand loyal. And those are the people who you really want to tap into.
[00:14:29] Jen Cornwell: Those are the people you’ve built good relationships with. I’d say that’s really phase one, right? Is these people that you already know are having a great experience? Phase two would be looking to generate reviews, I think, across all customers. And that’s where you’re probably going to get into like, oh, I’m a little nervous because what if they don’t all have great things to say?
[00:14:49] Jen Cornwell: But that’s where, thinking about how are we going to respond? What are we going to respond with if that does happen? That’s where that starts to become important. Those review generation tactics can really vary. I’ve seen a lot of businesses do different things, but it’s really just about the ask.
[00:15:03] Jen Cornwell: I think it’s just reminding people, asking people in your email list. I’ve had clients who include review platform options in their email signature. Just a really easy way to be like, Hey, if you like us, here’s a place to write a review. Things like that, that are simple. You’re just showing up often enough where you’re giving the user the opportunity or the customer really is what it is.
[00:15:25] Jen Cornwell: The likelihood of them going out of their way to write your review. Uh, It’s either because they had a really bad experience. Right. And they want to go out and talk about it, or they had a great experience and they’re like, wow, this is amazing. I want to support this business. And figuring out how to reach the people in between, I think is what you need to think about with your, your generation tactics and strategies.
[00:15:45] Jen Cornwell: And it’s, it’s getting the opportunity in front of them. I’ve had businesses, that have put iPads in their lobbies. And they’re like, hey, if you are interested on your way out. Give us some feedback. That’s a commitment you can totally make. It’s providing them with all the tools that they need to, to write up the review that you’re asking for.
[00:16:02] Kevin Dieny: I think it’s really important to make review creation for the consumer fairly easy. I think it’s also something where there it is putting a little bit of power in the consumer’s hands. Right? You’re you’re kind of shifting a little bit of the power of the success of your business, to the consumer. Because as a consumer, it’s like, well, if I write a negative review, is it gonna matter?
[00:16:24] Kevin Dieny: Is it going to change their behavior? Is it going to make anything better? Is it going to help the next person that comes in? I think that as a consumer, you’re like, I hope this review helps. It may not be, I hope this business tanks and falls through the floor. I mean, sometimes you’re that mad, but I think a lot of times it’s like I’m leaving this review for the benefit of the next person.
[00:16:43] Kevin Dieny: So the business realizes something was wrong, something. Maybe something that’s repeatedly been a problem. I want to bring it to their attention. It may not. It’s hard I think for some businesses to have, even for the owners to, to relinquish control, to all their employees, to manage, everything, but at the same time, once they do, it’s hard for them to know, okay.
[00:17:03] Kevin Dieny: Is every customer experience going out, going fine, going well. And so reviews are one more feedback point if it was just to help businesses. Know, no, and it wasn’t public knowledge. I don’t know that some of them would care and some of them may not. I think of how easy it can be to buy reviews.
[00:17:21] Kevin Dieny: I’ve seen ads where it’s like, oh yeah, we’ll shoot 500 reviews into your thing from some bot-farmed Fiverr account. Or something where it’s like, we’ll get you a ton of reviews, really fast in a burst. You know, for 50 bucks. And it’s like, oh, maybe I should do that. But like you said, the natural, organic way of doing it, is I think great.
[00:17:39] Kevin Dieny: And making it easy for a consumer to leave a review, if it’s like, okay, you got to jump through this hoop, that’s on fire. And then you have to leap and do a perfect twist to leave a review and the consumer is going to be like, ugh, I don’t want to do that. If it’s like, okay, leave a review, not just on Google, but on these 10 other sites, I don’t have time for that.
[00:17:54] Kevin Dieny: So how have you, besides the iPad example, what were your thoughts on like how a business can make it easier for someone to leave a review? Do you have anything about that?
[00:18:06] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, your email list, right? If you’re emailing a customer prior to their service. Email them after also. Give them that touch point a week later. I’ve also seen, I mean, SMS has become a lot more popular now. So if it’s a text service and you, hey, I saw you checked in, did you have a good experience?
[00:18:24] Jen Cornwell: Reply? Yes, no. Send them a link that works really well. Some other methods we have tapped into before, uh, QR codes actually. Which I think probably two years ago it was like, umm, are they really going to scan a QR code? But now after COVID people are very adjusted to that behavior.
[00:18:43] Jen Cornwell: So sending them exactly to where you need to send them to is what I think is really important. There’s a lot of review platforms and tools that you can embed onto your website too. If it’s inside of like your contact us page or, the thank you page, after they’ve applied for a service or, they’re a return customer on some level, you can request it at that point as well.
[00:19:05] Jen Cornwell: But let them know. I think something I’ve seen fail is when we give them too many options, which I think you mentioned. You can review this over here and you can review us on Google and then also this other platform that you’ve never heard of, but we want to have reviews there. I think it’s really important to be specific about what your call to action is for your customers, and what behavior you want them to take.
[00:19:28] Jen Cornwell: You’ll just see more success if you’re asking them to write a review in three places instead of just one. I think that’s an important part of strategy also. It’s like, where do you really want to build up that reputation right now?
[00:19:39] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really important. And something that you’d mentioned earlier, which I did want to make sure and clarify for everyone who’s listening. You just mentioned the gating. So I had the question review gating. So what is that? And why have I heard that Google doesn’t like that?
[00:19:55] Jen Cornwell: I can’t say I haven’t done some review gating setups maybe in my past. Basically, it’s where you reach out to your customers and you say, was your experience good or bad? And you probably maybe see the page before it’s got like a thumbs up or thumbs down or a smiley face and a sad face. They make it really easy.
[00:20:11] Jen Cornwell: You click on the smiley face. Oh, great. Like that is our gate. That’s our fence, the filter to know that we should suggest to you to write a review for us. If they click the poor right or experience, typically we’re going to send them to a contact form and you’re going to say, hey, okay, let us know what was wrong with your, your experience.
[00:20:29] Jen Cornwell: Structurally that totally makes sense. That’s a great way of generating good reviews. Great way to get feedback still. Right? You still give the client or the customer an outlet to give the feedback. It’s just, we’re not going to make it public. I think Google has caught on to that more and more.
[00:20:43] Jen Cornwell: They’re looking at your website, there’s crawlers that look at your website. There’s also real people at Google that will look at your website at some point. So looking at how you’re managing your customers and how you’re trying to manage your presence online, is really what Google doesn’t want to see.
[00:21:00] Jen Cornwell: It’s it falls in line with buying reviews, right? The core of Google specifically, and I think this is true for any, um, Yelp, anything that has some kind of search engine they’re trying to provide the customer or the user with the best option. they want to give them the best information.
[00:21:16] Jen Cornwell: They want to give them the highest quality recommendations for whatever their query is. So when they see that and they realize, hey, like, yeah, actually these reviews are not good or you aren’t providing actual feedback. That’s when they’re like, okay, yeah, lets shut it down, shut it down is maybe not the right word, but they’ll, they’ll definitely ping you for it or penalize you on some level.
[00:21:38] Jen Cornwell: There is the opportunity for Google to come in and say, oh, hey, we noticed you’re doing some like shady tactics to try to manage your reviews and your online presence. And we don’t like that.
[00:21:47] Kevin Dieny: I’ve heard the question come up a lot around. Should I emphasize reviews to effect my or impact positively my SEO, like that gives my Google My Business profile more punch. But is that giving my SEO ranking? Is it influencing that? And then the second half of that is okay, I’m getting reviews.
[00:22:08] Kevin Dieny: Should I be responding to them? And is that helping the ecosystem of consumers in terms of SEO and reviews? A lot of those two things have come up when regards to, okay. If I’m going to be spending time to generate reviews. And if I am going to be responding to them positive and negative ones, does all of that have an impact on my let’s call it like the consumer experience and the SEO areas?
[00:22:33] Jen Cornwell: Google’s never come out and said more reviews, that’s gonna be better. But what the industry has found is that, updated Google My Business activity is a positive indicator. So going back to what we were talking about earlier, where you have that consistency, you can have 500 reviews, but if they’re were from two years ago, Google could see that.
[00:22:51] Jen Cornwell: Being able to see that over time, your customers have continued to give you positive feedback or just any feedback at all that’s quality. That’s a positive indicator. Your Google My Business profile specifically is tied back to your website in some effect, or at least tied back to your business.
[00:23:07] Jen Cornwell: Right? There’s all of these, your website link, your address, your name, all of the stuff that, that ropes all of your online footprint together, if you will. So seeing that activity is an important piece of I’d say local strategy.
[00:23:23] Jen Cornwell: A lot of people really spend a lot of time on their website, which is great. It’s important for sure, but there’s a lot of things that happen prior to the person actually getting to your website, right? Google SERP, or search engine result page. It’s gotten really rich now. It gives you so much information before you actually even get to a website. So that, that local pack it’s called that’s underneath the maps.
[00:23:47] Jen Cornwell: You get the map, the three listings right below, that I think is where, when we’re talking about review generation and you can see, okay, business here has 15 reviews and their four and a half stars. Business B has no reviews. So what’s the consumer more likely to click on, it’s going to be the one with reviews because it’s like, okay, this is real.
[00:24:06] Jen Cornwell: And this is legitimate. That’s where I think that review diversity number, I guess. Right? Seeing that you have a lot and that they’re not all five stars. That’s the initial choice the users make when they get into search and they say, okay, what should I look at first and what should I start to investigate?
[00:24:23] Jen Cornwell: I think it’s a lot of user experience when you do start to perform well.
[00:24:28] Kevin Dieny: I like that a lot, because everything that happens before a visit to a website is still really important to the business to think about. It’s not all of, it’s really easy to manage. You can’t really customize a Google My Business page like you can your website that when they get to the website thats your custom personalized take on how and who you’re going to talk to, what you’re trying to help with and can go a long way once they get there.
[00:24:52] Kevin Dieny: But before that you have to manage things like my SEO, are they, how are they finding me? How are my consumers today finding me? When they find me, before they get to the website, which would maybe a query, a search, or something like that.
[00:25:04] Kevin Dieny: How do I look? What’s my presence look like? Is there a picture of my business? Does it list an address or just a PO box? Does it have a phone number there? Does it say when I’m open, when I’m not. There’s a lot there besides reviews. So reviews are part of that and review is a unique thing in, I think, especially for consumers, because when I get to that website, I doubt I’m going to see any one-star stuff on that website.
[00:25:30] Kevin Dieny: That website is going to be like, we’re the best thing ever. And it’s going to be very specifically customized like that. The review is so unique and that makes it an interesting thing for the consumer to have that power in the community space, this is its ranking.
[00:25:48] Kevin Dieny: This is the local ranking. And so. I had something come up before where it’s like, hey look, I’m in a city. That’s really small. There’s like two plumbers. Let’s say I only have one competitor. Or I don’t have that many competitors or no, one’s really competing with me. Do I really have to care about reviews?
[00:26:08] Kevin Dieny: And on the other side, it’s like, look, there’s tons of competitors. I’m going after reviews. Is there a place where I don’t need reviews anymore. Is there like a ceiling where once I’m there, I’m pretty much fine? I don’t really need to work hard on reviews. So those are the two things I was curious about. If you have anything to say about that?
[00:26:25] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, let’s say you both offer the exact same services. Where’s the difference, right? How are you showing the business difference? And I think, yes, on your website, you have control over that. You can say we’re 24 hours.
[00:26:35] Jen Cornwell: We’re going to pick up your call every time you call us. If you’re a plumber. That’s your business difference. I think before they get there, though, they have to make a decision. They have to decide to click on your website. And there are a lot of factors there. You can put some of that information in, but that’s where I think reviews are really what set you apart from your competitors?
[00:26:54] Jen Cornwell: When you’re talking about capping reviews, man, I don’t think I’ve ever had a client be like, this is this too many. Like they want to see them roll in. I don’t think there’s a cap necessarily. As long as you’re getting the quality feedback and you’re getting the diverse review response that we talked about before, you’re not buying reviews, right.
[00:27:15] Jen Cornwell: It’s like, oh yeah, we’ll, we’ll add another 500 onto this review package. We’re trying to purchase. Also terrible. Don’t do that. I think there’s no cap. It’s about consistency. It’s about quality. It’s about just driving the good content that comes from user generated feedback and seeing that happen over time.
[00:27:36] Jen Cornwell: So, so yeah, there’s no, I don’t think there’s cap, if you’re a really saturated market, I think it’s the same answer as the first one is like setting yourself apart from the competitor and for the customer. Because they just need to understand, like, why would they choose you if you’re one out of 30. The same way, if it’s just between two people there, there’s going to be something that really impacts the consumer decision.
[00:27:57] Kevin Dieny: If you’re getting reviews and as a business, you’re thinking, okay, that’s great. It’s helping me generate more top funnel like visitors to my website. It’s helping people who do come to my website, decide this is the business I want to work with. It’s providing people that word of mouth, it’s getting them there.
[00:28:15] Kevin Dieny: Are there other ways that a business can, let’s call it like monetize or market, those reviews in other ways, like, are there other things a business can do with reviews to help the business do more of what it’s trying to do?
[00:28:31] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, so same local client. They’ve been around for twenty-five years and they have six locations here in San Diego. They see those reviews come in and then a lot of the time they know those people, right. They’ve worked with them that person’s been coming in. It’s a great review they left, they’ll reach out to that person and they’ll actually turn that into other content that they can use for promotion.
[00:28:50] Jen Cornwell: So they’ll say, hey, Wendy… we saw you wrote a great review, would you mind doing a two minute video for us and talking about your experience here with our business? That’s even better because then you share that onto your website, share that onto your social platform, that user, or that, that customer is super excited that you decided to talk to them and they want to share that video out.
[00:29:13] Jen Cornwell: And it’s all stuff that you can generate and promote, I’d say at a fairly low cost, right. It doesn’t have to be any sort of like high production commercial. Honestly, a lot of the time, the organic video, performs better now. That can feel really genuine.
[00:29:27] Jen Cornwell: I work with a client that is not, not local, but they do run some commercials. And they found, they had like giant X spokesperson who was celebrity they ran in those ads paid a ton of money for it. And then they ran ads of real people who they, I mean, it was high production value, but they had them come in.
[00:29:48] Jen Cornwell: They asked about their experience with the product and those performed way better. They thought that the spokesperson was really going to resonate with their audience. Just because these were real people with real experiences that actually was much better for them.
[00:30:01] Jen Cornwell: So we ran with that on their website. Started actually including, that type of testimonial content on their thank you page. There is this concept of thank you page or lead warmers. So they filled your form out, right. And there’s going to be a set amount of time between form fill and contact.
[00:30:19] Jen Cornwell: And if you can give them some more information, that’s a great place to put testimonials too. Thanks for deciding to go with us. Here’s why, especially if they are not going to close at that point, right. They’re not closed after that form fill. So yeah, there’s a ton of ways to repurpose and really tap into those customers, clients, consumers, and user experience for a business.
[00:30:40] Jen Cornwell: And usually if they’re an advocate for you, they’re really excited to do that.
[00:30:44] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. So let’s say a business is thinking, okay. I would I would like to pay a little more attention to reviews. I need some more reviews. I want more positive reviews. I just want more reviews generally, so what are some ideas you might have for a business to generate more reviews in the next 90 days?
[00:31:02] Jen Cornwell: The next 90 days… The thing I always tell my clients is do good business, right? Naturally you will get reviews if you’re doing a great job and you’re providing great service and all of that good stuff. Beyond that, it does take more than that to generate reviews. For sure. Providing the opportunity, like we talked about, think about what is your customer journey from, I’ve never heard of your business before, to I’m now want to come back for my second or third experience with you, whatever it is.
[00:31:31] Jen Cornwell: And where are the places inside of that customer journey, where they’re going to be either reading reviews and trying to understand those, or they’ve now become an advocate and they’re willing to write you a review. So I think real actionable items is just figuring out how to slot things in.
[00:31:46] Jen Cornwell: Email list is like so great. If you have an SMS service, that’s a great way to reach out as well. It can be really simple as just when they’re on their way out the door. Hey, we had a great conversation. Thank you so much for this experience. I would really appreciate it if you wrote a review. And I think sometimes people feel a little bit awkward about that.
[00:32:07] Jen Cornwell: But it’s not that weird. And I think people do it all the time. Customers, clients, consumers are really adjusted to being asked for that at this point. It’s really just slotting in where are reviews going to matter for people? And then where is the point in their experience that’s going to make the most sense for me to ask them for that review.
[00:32:25] Kevin Dieny: Wow, yeah, that’s some really good insight there. The two things that I’d like to reiterate from what you just said is figuring out first… How I am going to help the consumer or my patient or my customers the best. And then second. Okay. Now I know what that process looks like. I know how I’m delivering my service.
[00:32:44] Kevin Dieny: I know how people are coming in. I know how it’s being delivered. In that, where is a good opportunity for me to ask, right? When does it make sense? I think a review, takes a minute or two to write. So when is someone going to have that two minutes that they’re not going to be in traffic driving and may get into a car accident while they’re trying to do it?
[00:33:04] Kevin Dieny: When do they have that minute or two to do it? When is a good opportunity to give them, you know, on their time, the opportunity to come back and do that. Those are all really tough questions. I don’t know if there’s necessarily one answer that for every business. So in your business, where does it make sense to ask for a review?
[00:33:21] Kevin Dieny: If it’s a personal request, a manager comes over to your table after you’ve eaten and is like, Hey, I’d really like, if you have a review of however, your experience was, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you. Wow. This, a little bit more personal than an email, but an email is a reminder, like, oh yeah, I forgot about that.
[00:33:39] Kevin Dieny: It’s been maybe a half hour. I went on to other things I would like to leave a review. In some ways, maybe a couple asks, in some ways are you giving them too many options? And then like you said, make it easy to get that thought, that comment, that experience the consumers having into whatever platform it is. Making it a link, a QR code or something easy to, to deliver that review, that experience that consumers had.
[00:34:08] Kevin Dieny: With the intent, that that feedback is going to probably help others. I think that’s a big reason why people are leaving reviews. There are some people who are hardcore reviewers. I think, if you saw 10 people walk into your store and you’re like, oh man, number eight, he’s left like 10,000 reviews and everybody else is hardly left any. That’s the guy, I want to get reviews from, but it doesn’t really work like that.
[00:34:26] Kevin Dieny: So you have to treat everyone like that is a potential source of a review. And so how am I going to go about asking for a review, an honest review of my business. And when you get them, I think the last leg here is what I do with it. You’ve had some great ideas for that. Repurposing the review into testimonials, responding to them, maybe publishing them on the website, all those things.
[00:34:51] Kevin Dieny: Is there anything else that you wanted to add to all of that, Jen?
[00:34:54] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, I cannot believe I didn’t use this example. Just moved into this apartment complex. Like six months ago. We looked at five different apartment complexes in probably two days because here in San Diego, you’re going to look at it. You’re going to sign the next day. We had a really great experience with the guy here who showed us the place. And probably a month or so after he really took care of us, reached out to us more than I’ve ever had happen in any building I’ve ever lived in.
[00:35:19] Jen Cornwell: And he asked us for review and I mentioned him by name. I was like, yeah, this guy, he was great. I wouldn’t have moved into this building if it wasn’t this guy here. When you’re thinking about reviews, I think we’ve also all had these personal experiences of going out and searching for products or services or I’m in a new area and I’m trying to understand like where the best restaurant is. I need a new dentist, how do I find that?
[00:35:42] Jen Cornwell: And so I think understanding personally, the review process, it’s an important part of it too. You get a better idea of this is really what motivates me, and this is what I really think my consumer could relate to also.
[00:35:56] Jen Cornwell: Aligning that with what makes sense with your business. I think the other piece is channels. I didn’t really talk about, what is your channel presence? Is it your website, that’s the best? Do you see a lot of consumers coming in from Facebook or Instagram or? I know salons, Instagram is awesome.
[00:36:12] Jen Cornwell: Instagram is so great. There’s no review generation there, but that’s a great place to connect with your consumer and talk to them about their experiences. Right? They’re tagging you in stories. They’re having something they want to share, and then you’re just asking them to share a little bit more.
[00:36:25] Jen Cornwell: I think it is really, really business specific and it’s really understanding your consumer and your business process. And then where are those touch points to, to speak with them? Where the likelihood of them getting a review is improved. So, yeah. Yeah. I think that’s. Reviews are so important now it’s so crazy, it’s really wild haha.
[00:36:50] Kevin Dieny: I know! It’s another one of those things. Cause you know, as a small business owner, if I’m going to focus on this, I have to not focus on something else. There’s a lot going on in my business. Knowing how to prioritize everything, it’s like, oh man, it’s super important to get ads. It’s super important for social media. It’s super important for email. It’s super important for reviews. It’s like ahh, what do I, what do I do? What do I spend my time on?
[00:37:10] Kevin Dieny: From this it’s like, yeah, reviews are super important. Yes. Reviews are helping a lot of your business and figure out what’s important to you. What do you have? What resources do you have, is getting more reviews. Can it be a pretty easy switch for you? If it’s just, Hey, I want to tell my employees to ask for some reviews at this point and they start asking, and you start getting reviews. I mean, that wasn’t maybe that tough or that big of a change if it’s like, okay, I need to start.
[00:37:33] Kevin Dieny: I need to start gathering emails. I need to build my website. It gets to be a lot of things that have happened before you can start getting the reviews. So the reviews are just one piece of a lot of things. Like you said, a lot of channels.
[00:37:47] Jen Cornwell: Yeah, I think make it organic, right? That’s the easiest way. If you can figure out the organic way to do it, there’s some upfront work of planning and deciding, but you make it organic and automate it on some level. Those are the best ways to go.
[00:38:01] Kevin Dieny: Talking!
[00:38:01] Jen Cornwell: Haha yes that’s right.
[00:38:04] Kevin Dieny: Thank you for coming on Jennifer for discussing all this. Now, if someone wants to reach out to you, find out more about you, or what you guys do at Ignite or anything like that, how can someone find you?
[00:38:15] Jen Cornwell: Yeah. Find me on LinkedIn as Jen Cornwell. I’m also on, SEO Twitter a little bit. My handle is just Jen Cornwell with an underscore at the end. Those are probably both the best places. You can also reach out to Ignite. We do some local management as well, a lot of local SEO.
[00:38:33] Kevin Dieny: Great. Yeah, this has been fantastic. I think this has helped us uncover quite a bit about the importance of reviews and some really good strategies. I think that applies to any business, how they can start asking for views when to ask those types of things. So thank you so much, Jen, for coming on.
[00:38:51] Jen Cornwell: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for having me.