Business Times of Edmond, Oklahoma August 2018 - Page 30

BUSINESS MATTERS TIM PRIEBE WEBIFIABLE Get More Strategic About Your Online Reviews Ever received a negative review online and immediately started panicking? Or maybe you just want to be proactive about how potential customers and clients perceive you online. If either one applies to you, it’s time to get more strategic about your online reviews. How do you know if you should even worry about your online reviews? I’m understandably biased because of the industry I’m in, but I think your online reputation is extremely important. It can shape what people think of you and your organization before they even meet you or step foot in your location. It’s also a factor that sites like Google take into account when deciding where your organization will be in their search results. So if showing up in search engine results or what people think of your organization is important to you, then your online reviews should be important to you. Obviously, a lot of that is out of your control. But you can probably be more proactive than you have been. So let’s look at a strategy you can implement for online reviews. First, you’ll need to plan out your ongoing strategy moving forward. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: • At what point during my customer’s journey will I ask for a review? • What method will I use to ask? Will I call, email, text, send direct mail, or ask in person? • What platforms do I want them to review us on? If I only had to pick one, which one would I pick? • Do I need any technical or design help up front or on an ongoing basis? • Am I going to use a third party platform or a marketing agency to help? For your ongoing strategy, make sure it’s something that you can realistically invest time, money, or energy in on an ongoing basis. Can you keep it up as long as you’re in business? Next, you’ll need to plan out your campaign for past customers and clients. Here are a few questions to ask for this part of your strategy: • How far back will I go with my customer list? One year? Two? All the way back? • Will I use the same method to ask as in my ongoing strategy, or does something else make more sense for past customers? • Do I want to concentrate on the same platform as my ongoing campaign or a different one? • How long do I want this campaign to take? • Again, will I use a third party platform or marketing agency to help? For your past customer and client strategy, it’s important not to reach out to all of them at once. If you get a lot of reviews at once, Google starts to suspect you may have paid for positive reviews. Your reviews may disappear if that’s the case, and you’ll have wasted all your effort. It’s of note that the major players differ from industry to industry. Arguably Google and Facebook are important for all organizations. But you may also want to consider sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and others. Of course, this may be important to you, but you may not want to do the bulk of the work yourself. There are plenty of Online Reputation Management services you can sign up for online if you’re just looking for a tool to help, or you can find a local digital marketing agency for more hands-on help. TIM PRIEBE is an online marketer, a public speaker, the author of several books and many articles, a Christian, a painter, a Superman fan, a Star Trek geek, a father to three boys, and a husband to one wife. He has run T&S Online Marketing since 2003, helping business and nonprofits with their digital marketing. He can be reached at tim@tandsgo. com or 405-285-0348. For more information, visit 30 August 2018 | The Business Times