How To Use Online Reviews for Building Local Business

Getting good online reviews is essential for building a local business these days. Since online reviews of your business can make all the difference between making your business a success or failure, it is useful for any local business owner to gain some more information on how to use online reviews to your advantage when building or managing a local business.


The importance of online reviews

The reason why reviews are so important is the fact that they stand out in search results on sites such as Google and they can help attract more people to your business. The star rating is not exclusive for only restaurants and hotels, as majority of people may think. Good online rating is also extremely useful for small businesses to help them grow, spread and increase their development, since some people may choose to view only highly rated sites through some sites like Yelp or Google which allow users to sort the listings by reviews.

About Google Reviews

Good reviews on Google maps, Google + Local will attract more customers to your business. Posting a review has never been easier; however, it does demand that one has a Google Account, so you may think of alternative ways for your customers to leave online reviews for you in case they do not have a Google Account.

Business concept - Planning for future events.

Get their opinions – or not?

Another thing which may puzzle the local business owner is whether it is ok or not to ask customers for an online review. This ultimately depends on the site, since some sites may encourage soliciting online reviews and others discourage such practice. Yelp, for example, believes that soliciting reviews will only jeopardize the integrity of the site, as reviewers will see it as biased, whereas Google reminds business owners to remind customers to leave a quick and easy feedback on Google.

Best Site For You

Identifying the best review sites for your business and your industry is not an easy task, since there are many review sites. Also, before referring customers to any of the sites, you should create profiles on it, and update them with information about your small business. This will also give you a means to communicating with your clients and responding to reviews both good and bad.



Remember that reviews will build on over time and that it is only natural that it takes time to get reviews, so do not be impatient. This is only a part of managing a business, so while it is important for you and your small business to get a good online review, it is even more important for you to manage your business properly and take care of your customers and their needs. Ultimately, that will at the same time be the best thing you can do for your business success and your online reviews – having satisfied customers who will back you up in the real world as well in the virtual one. Ensuring your customers are happy will get you the greatest amount of positive reviews.

Local Business Case Study

dominate-your-local-marketI wanted to post this for a couple of reasons, firstly because it is going to be a case study of myself helping a local business to get more customers through developing their social media campaigns and referral system, and secondly because I wanted to give them some exposure due to them helping me out of a difficult situation.

I live about 25 miles from my parents, who are getting older, almost in their 90’s, and they are starting to struggle and need some support. I tried to visit every day but with kids and work it was almost impossible. This home care service is able to send a trained carer to their home 4 times per day to help them with their needs. It has been a tremendous help.

In turn, I intent to help them get more business, and post their info here in the hope that this gets them more exposure too.

Why Home Care Remains the Best care Option

Home care or domiciliary care is the help given to people who can longer attend to their own needs. Vulnerable adults, including the young and elderly, can all benefit a lot from our home care. Whether it’s those with failing health resulting from sickness or changing conditions in one’s lifestyle, we have the staff and resources to take good care of them all.  Mostly, our services are offered at your home so as to ensure you or your loved one is attended to well while still engaged in the activities of daily living.

Types of services offered:

  • Personal care
  • Living in care
  • Holiday/Respite care
  • Social companionship
  • Hospital to home care


Offering home care to those in need of it is a choice that not only influences the person involved but also helps you or their loved ones to minimize the costs involved in private home care.

Some of the benefits associated with our home care service include:

Home comforts

When care is offered to a person at their home, it will help them to keep the comforts of their home and also develop a safely recognized environment. Remember, hospitals and a range of other care services can often be noisy, busy and uncomfortable for such a patient. If not diminishing the amount of rest they deserve, they will probably be slowing down the healing process.

Personalised services

With home care, what you pay for is exactly what you receive. Nothing less. You will be assigned a caregiver who will only attend to you and your utmost needs. Better still, all our home care staff are specifically trained, matched and designated to your needs. All of them clearly understand what you need most and are ready to offer it.


A significant aspect of our home care service is the level of independence the patient gets.  Failure to move around or go about other daily activities is one of the major causes of depression today, mostly among the elderly. However, with one of our qualified staff at their service, the patient will be free to go about and thus feel independent which will eventually reduce the risk of depression plus the costs of managing it.


Compared to hospitals and private nursing institutions, home care stands out as very cost effective. In fact, you have access to so many things, including additional support which you still pay for at an affordable rate.  That puts you in a position to create a more satisfying environment and atmosphere as you can put the additional funds to such use.


If there is anything valuable a vulnerable person needs then it’s companionship.  Aside from the usual help, they will offer to the patient, our home care staff will become friends with the patient and in the process make them feel not only happy but so contented with themselves. When someone has somebody exciting to talk to, they will, almost daily, look forward to speaking to them.

Always remember that offering your loved with home care will provide the peace of mind they deserve, save you money and above all, have them receive quality care offered in the safest and friendly environment.  You will have saved the patient from stress, depression and a range of other awful diseases.  Where the lives of the vulnerable concerned, we take pride in knowing that our home care is of immeasurable value to them.

Hopefully this article will help them to get more business, help anyone in the same situation as me, and to give me a case study to work on. Let me know your thoughts and ideas through the contact page.

Also check out some of the ideas in this video below…..


Are you using instagram yet?

If the answer is no, then I will be honest with you, neither am I! But the people that I follow who are big in marketing are all starting to add it to their arsenal, so I think it is time to dip my toe.

Maybe we can all try it and compare notes. There is a ton of information out there, check youtube for ways to get started, and there is training available from some respected gurus.

I thought I would post the infographic below to get you all thinking. And I will keep you posted on my results.


6 Great Ways to Gain Testimonials From Your Customers

6 Great Ways to Gain Testimonials From Your Customers

A testimonials page on your website is one of your most powerful pages. People love reviews, it helps people to understand that you service or product is legitimate and of good quality, and that others are using it and getting results or satisfaction. But how do you go about getting testimonials that are believable to the customer? Here are some websites that you can use to collect reviews, and ideas about how you can ask your customers to leave reviews for you service or product.

1 Reviews on Facebook
For any facebook page that has a business page, there is now a reviews tab. You just need to slide this tab to your visible tabs, then ask fans of your page to leave a review.

2. Recommendations on Linkedin
Linkedin is a very good source for reviews. Unfortunately reviews are not possible on a company profile, only for individuals, which works for owner businesses, lawyers etc.
You can however encourage employees to be active on linkedin, so that any recommendations from customers can be related back or posted to your company account.

3. Videos on Youtube
The only thing better than a text review is a video review. A video from a customer discussing how your service or product helped them or how much they enjoyed it is very powerful. You should ask them to make a video on their account, then share the link with you, so that you can embed on your website, mark as a favourite on your channel and add to your playlist of reviews.

4. Local Search Directories
These are sites like Yelp, City Search, Yahoo local etc, where members are able to add reviews of local businesses to the website. Any good reviews that you aquire here can be added onto your websites own testimonial page also.

So what is the reason for asking your customers to use these types of sites for reviews rather than adding one to your own website. The answer here is Google, who will see the local business with the most reviews, which helps you to rank in the SERPs ( search engine rankings )

You need to check Yelp and the other local directories and claim your listing, then add that to your website so that customers can see your yelp listing and add reviews there.

5 Niche Reviews
Niche review sites can be good for certiain tyes of businesses, for example, Trip Advisor and Travelocity are great for reviews if you are in the travel or hotel types of businesses, where you can give your potential customer a good positeve impression of your business before they make a reservation.

6 Reward Your Reviewers
A great way to encourage customers to review your services is to reward them for doing so. Many times restaurants will run a prize offer on the till receipt for reviews, but remember you can’t ask for positive reviews, just reviews though is fine. Offer incentives to your customers when they leave a review in the form of coupons, discounts and free drinks or additional services. You are only limited by your imagination, but generally, the better the incentive, the more response you will get.

One of the ways we helped a client who approached us for advice on the subject was quite novel but is working well, and could be worth a try in your business too. We were approached online by a plastering service in the UK for advice on how to gain reviews for his type of business, as he was trying to get more local customers. We came up with the idea of taking a laptop, or in his case an amazon fire tablet, to each of his jobs. After finishing and speaking with the satisfied customer, he now asks them to leave a review on the tablet while he finishes his work, and offers to give them a small additional service, such as 30 minutes of free handyman work to take care of any niggling little problems that they may have in the property.

This has enabled him to get a positive from most of his customers, and at the same time to open up his other property repair side of the business to all of his customers, who will now call for their future maintenance problems as well as his plastering service. A true win win situation. (Of course he gets a review for that side of his business too!)amazon fire for reviews

Your Website Testimonials Page
Your website needs to have a review page, which is a compilation of all of your collected reviews. Remember though to credit the site from which the original review came, such as yahoo or yelp.

Negative Reviews
This is the other side of the coin where reviews are concerned. You are not in control regarding whether the review is positive or negative. The general advice here is to always respond to any negative reviews. Put forward your side of the story or the reasons for the problem, the actions you have taken in response, and move forward.

Potential customers can then see that you are a caring business with their best experience at heart, and will think better of you for it. Resulting in a positive result.

Benefits for Local Businesses

Benefits for Local Businesses

Word of mouth use to be the best way to get a review of your business spread throughout the local area. Now, everything is online and local reviews can be vital to having a successful business. Sure there is the obvious, popularity. The more people “talking” virtually, in the form of posts and blogs on social media, about your business, the more interest it will procure and hopefully more people will visit or make a purchase. So let us break down the best benefits for your business when you get local reviews.

thumbs up and down logoLet’s start with the popular Google. When someone Google’s your business’s name, even with Google Map, reviews are prominently displayed.

The review is not just the paragraph explaining their rating, but also the rating itself. This factor will probably catch the person searchings attention and chances are high their curiosity will be piqued and even though they may have been looking for directions to your business, now they will want to know what others opinions are.

Going along with online search engines, they may (some do for sure) be impacted by your business’s reviews. By this we mean, the more popular a business is, chances are that it will be higher up on the search engine results totem pole than badly reviewed, or less reviewed competing businesses. A good review can make your business stand out, which is the ultimate marketing goal, and encourage others to make a purchase (or try your services, whatever it is that you have to offer) with your business. It is like trying to decide which restaurant to eat at and your best friend tells you their preference. Good reviews instill confidence in potential customers and clients.

Depending on the review site, you may want to encourage your customers to write a review. Some businesses have their Facebook page listed on their website or a link to a review website like Yelp, which allows customers to easily write a review for others to see. This is especially useful if you have a customer that had an exceptional experience with you.

Instead of saying it out right, “please go review our business,” just make sure that there is a sign in your office or on your webpage so that it is a reminder for them. You obviously want as many positive, and genuine, reviews as possible.

So what do you do if you get a host of bad reviews? Maybe you have just taken over a business that has had lots of bad reviews in the past, how to you turn that around, especially if those views are online for everyone to see?

The answer……. reputation management! Rather than try to explain, watch this short video.

How to Write a Meaningful Review

How to Write a Meaningful Review

So you just had a great experience at the new restaurant down the street and you want to tell others about it. Great, now what? You know what you want to emphasize, service and food were both exceptional, but how do you word it so that it is both informative and engaging?

Know who you are talking to. This is kind of hard to do, since most people between the ages of 8 and 80 know how to use a search engine. Consider where you went and who would most likely be the people who would enjoy it the most. Was it family friendly or more of a date night restaurant?

Next, remember to think about what you are going to say before typing it out, and then review it before publishing. You want your review to be relevant, so try to leave out any personal stories, unless they are short and include information that will help others out.

Also avoid making it personal in respect to the business you are reviewing. Far too often reviews turn into a vindictive review of a rude server or chatty sales personnel. It is fine to mention such things, but calling someone specific out in an online review is both irrelevant and lacking etiquette. Stick to the actual event or experience.

Keep in mind that just because a review is about a positive experience does not necessarily mean that it is a good review. You could probably write a short novel on the good service received while getting your nails done, but that does not mean it is going to be useful to either the salon or future salon goers. Be honest, intelligent, and coherent, even if it is just a short, three sentenced review about your experience pretend that thousands of people will read it, since they just might.

Allow others to comment on your review. Now if you are using a review site, like TripAdvisor, they probably already have something like a “Useful Vote” button that people can click if they find your view particularly helpful. Sometimes when you establish a reviewer’s account, you may need to make sure your preferences are open to contact from others, like linking your account to your email address so people can email you their questions directly. An example may be that you went on a date night to a local bar and someone might want to ask if the crowd was of younger people or older.

Try to remember to review other services too, such as local contractors and tradespeople, delivery services, dry cleaners, nursing staff, any business that gives good service deserves to be recognized, and the opposing argument is true also.

If you have had the benefit of good or the misfortune of bad service, let us know. We would love to hear from you.

power of a good review infographic

What a Good or Bad Review Can Mean for a Business

What a Good or Bad Review Can Mean for a Business

A review can have both positive and negative connotations and it is not always determined by whether the review itself shed the business in a positive or negative light. The review can, and chances are high that it will, be viewed by both potential customers and the business itself. Both good and bad reviews can help a business know what they are doing well and what needs to be improved upon.

Good reviews can be affirmation that your business is doing something right. Hopefully the review offers some good information for someone considering visiting soon. Bad reviews can show your business where it needs to improve. Not every bad review is genuinely bad, but take it as more of a suggestion. If several people commented on how great the service was, but a particular dish was a bit salty, consider cutting back on the salt for that dish.

Unfortunately, some people use reviews as a way to express displeasure and can often target an individual. It is up to you how to handle such a case. You can request the person or website, especially if it is the business’s, take down the review or delete the person’s name. Some review sites like Yelp have had problems with fake reviews and positive reviews going missing, so feel free to let your voice be heard and file a complaint with any website you feel isn’t doing their job adequately, or that you are having issues with.

Another option is to pacify the person who wrote the review. Maybe the service was really slow on a Friday night. Feel free to respond to the review and let them know that you were short a cook that night and the restaurant was very busy, but they should come back soon and see that that is not always the cagoogle + review logose.

Although the rule of thumb may seem like your business wants nothing but good reviews, any review is going to get your business noticed more! Surveys have shown that significantly more than half of all consumers trust online reviews and they check them before trying out a new business, approximately 11 reviews!

Product reviews are the same, so if you are selling an item, make sure your customers are aware that they should review not only the business as a whole, but the specific product they are using.

It has also recently been suggested that only having good reviews looks unnatural to the consumer, so a sprinkling of less than perfect comments not only makes it seem more realistic, but also has a very limited negative effect on the consumers choice.

Your business should actively try to garner reviews from customers, and you should have a program in place to that effect. Let it be a part of your business process, and work towards collecting as many good reviews as you can. In recent years a good Google + review can be extremely helpful in bringing in more business, as well as helping your business ranking in the google maps area of the search engines.

Yelp is also an extremely important online service, and good reviews here can make or break a business. See more about this in the video below.