The Benefits of Operating With Empathy

These days, a brand that operates with empathy is a brand that stands out.

There has been a long list of marketing buzzwords over the years, but in 2020, no buzzword is quite as important for a brand’s online reputation than “empathy.”

Empathy — not to be confused with sympathy, which is a feeling of passion — is the feeling you have when you truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes, allowing you to identify with their situation on a whole new level.

It’s easy to see how people operate with empathy in their personal lives, but what does it look like in marketing and brand management?

Empathy in marketing means putting yourself in your customers’ shoes so that you can figure out what they actually value instead of just what sells. It also means creating content that helps to evoke empathy in your customers and promote change within the community.

4 Ways Operating With Empathy Benefits Your Brand

#1. It increases productivity and innovation.

When you operate with empathy, you give your employees a reason to do what they do every day that goes beyond just making a sale or getting through a transaction. When your employees can understand the why behind what they’re doing, and they can see how it impacts the people they serve, it will not only help to fuel the fire of productivity, but it will also lead to greater innovation within your organization.

However, in order to see the benefits of empathy in productivity and innovation, you first need to have the right kind of staff in place. Unlike being technical savvy or having years of experience, empathy is a soft skill that not many businesses hire for, but in 2017 Google did a study that showed just how important soft skills are to a business’ success.

Google’s study, Project Aristotle, found that its most valuable new ideas didn’t come from their top software engineers or computer scientists — they came from B-teams that consisted of employees who had soft skills, including generosity, curiosity, and, yes, empathy.

Employees who operate with empathy are always working to do what’s best for their customers, which often means finding ways to be more productive and innovative.

#2. It leads to more sales and loyalty.

It’s easy to see how empathy plays a role in an effective sales process. After all, everyone knows that the key to making a sale is the ability to understand and anticipate the customer’s needs, and to be able to demonstrate how the product or service in question can meet those needs.

Not only can operating with empathy help you increase sales within your organization, it also leads to increased customer loyalty. That’s because customers and clients who are treated with empathy don’t feel like you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes in order to make a sale. Instead, they feel like you truly care about finding the best option for their needs, and for most people, that’s the kind of business they want to work with.

Empathy is a proven sales strategy, and its power in turning one-time customers into lifelong customers is undeniable, but too often, it’s overlooked. Instead of really putting themselves in their customers’ shoes to find a solution that works for them, too many businesses are focused on how to get the biggest sale.

That’s because operating with empathy is the long game. Instead of figuring out how to get the most money out of your customers now, operating with empathy is about building loyal, long-term relationships with customers.

#3. It creates greater job satisfaction and decreases employee turnover.

These days, your employees have a lot of options when it comes to their careers. Not only is the unemployment rate low and the demand for quality workers high, but with the “gig economy,” fewer and fewer people are going the traditional route of working for an established business. Nowadays, more people than ever are freelancing, consulting, or are otherwise self-employed.

Every business knows that success is dependent on the people out there doing the job day in and day out, and how do you ensure that your employees stick around and continue to want to do a good job for you? By operating with empathy!

When a business operates with empathy and encourages its employees to do the same, it leads to greater job satisfaction, as well as a decrease in employee turnover. The simple fact of the matter is that people need a reason beyond just making a sale or helping the business to be profitable in order to be their most engaged, and when you operate with empathy, you’re giving them that reason.

#4. It makes you stand out online and off.

A lot of people think that the companies that are the most successful are the ones that were willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead and to win at any cost. And, while a can-do spirit and a willingness to whatever it takes is essential to success, successful businesses know the importance of operating with empathy.

A business that’s operating with empathy will do whatever it takes to meet their customers’ needs; while a business that’s not operating with empathy will do whatever it takes to make a sale. It’s that difference that will make that business stand out online and offline.

In this day and age, a business’ online reputation is everything. Whether someone is looking for a local painter or a friendly neighborhood barber shop, they’re going to start that search online. And, when you operate with empathy, your online reviews and reputation will reflect that.

Operating with empathy may seem like the fastest or most efficient way to do things, but as you can see, it pays off. There are so many reasons to operate with empathy in your business. Your online reputation — and your bottom line — will thank you for it!

Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

With content marketing, you control the conversation online.

There are many aspects to a business’ online reputation — one of which consists of what people say about your business online, and the other has to do with what comes up when someone searches for your business online, which is all about SEO (search engine optimization).

You can’t control everything people say about your business online, and, in many cases, you probably won’t be able to get it removed or taken down — at least not without a good amount of effort on your part. But, through SEO, you have a lot more control over what people see when they look for your business using Google, Bing, or another search engine.

SEO can be intimidating, and a lot of business owners don’t even attempt to master it because they believe they don’t have the technical skill or know-how. But, if you had a chance to read our previous blog this week — Simplifying SEO for Local Businesses — then you already know that it really doesn’t have to be complicated. The basics of SEO are keyword research, content, and backlinking, and once you have those down, you don’t have to worry too much about the technical side of things.

Today, my focus is on just one aspect of those SEO basics, and that’s content.

We’ve said it many, many times before in past blogs, but it bears repeating — when it comes to SEO, content is king. But, it’s in producing that content that many business owners get caught in the weeds.

5 Content Marketing Tips to Help You Get Started

#1. Know your target audience.

When you’re creating content for your brand, it’s important that you always do so with your target audience in mind, which means that, before you start creating content, you need to know who your target audience is.

Take a few minutes to think about the customers you have, as well as the ones you’re trying to reach. Do you work mostly with homeowners, or do you work with other businesses? Are your services geared toward a specific gender or age group; what about a specific socioeconomic group? Do you want to target people within so many miles of your shop, office, or warehouse? Are your services designed for married couples, or are your services most useful for people with certain kinds of lifestyles?

Your target audience can be as broad or as narrow as you want it to be, but before you start creating content, it’s essential that you define what it is. Once you do, you’ll be able to start creating content specifically for them.

#2. Don’t limit yourself to a content type.

Too often, when business owners think of creating content, they think of writing blogs. And, while blogs are certainly a powerful form of content that you should absolutely utilize as a part of your SEO strategy, they aren’t the end-all-be-all that they are made out to be.

There are so many different types of content that you could create for your audience, including videos, images, articles, and more — all of which can be incredibly effective when used correctly. The type of content you choose to produce will depend on what the message is that you’re trying to get across, as well as where you’re trying to get that message across.

For example, let’s say you own an HVAC business. Your blog may be the perfect place to share tips and advice for choosing the right furnace for your needs, but if you’re looking to share that information on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have better luck if you do so with an infographic or a video.

#3. Think about your keywords.

Knowing which keywords you want to target is another important aspect of content marketing (be sure to read more about it in our previous blog — Finding the Best Keywords for Your Brand). And, once you identify which keywords you want to target, you need to start using them!

Whether you’re writing blogs, social media posts, or creating descriptions for your YouTube videos, you should always keep your keywords in mind. The most important thing about using keywords in your content is that you use them naturally. If you try to stuff keywords into awkward places, Google can actually penalize you for keyword stuffing, which can hurt your website’s ranking in the SERP.

You also don’t have to worry about using your keywords exactly. While exact-match keywords are great, the most important thing is still that keywords are used naturally, even if it ends up being a variation of a keyword.

#4. Include a call to action.

When creating content, it’s important to take the time to think about what you want the end result to be. Are you hoping to convince people to buy a product or use a service, or are you just hoping to establish yourself as an authority in your field? Once you identify the result you’re looking for, create a CTA (call to action) to support it.

Whether your goal is to earn more followers on Facebook, get people to visit your store, or to subscribe to your monthly newsletter, direct your audience toward it by including a CTA in your content.

Be sure to test out your CTAs, the wording, the placement, the format — everything. You may think you know what kind of CTA will get you the most engagement, but there’s no way to know unless you test it.

#5. Get help!

The thought of being the one person managing and producing all of your own content can get overwhelming quickly. And, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t necessarily have to do it on your own.

Collaborating with others is a great way to keep your brand content fresh and original, and it automatically leads to a bigger audience, as the person you’re collaborating will likely want to share it, too. If that person links back to your website, that will also help to improve your rankings in the SERP.

Who should you collaborate with? Industry associations, your local chamber of commerce, and businesses that are related to yours (but are not your competitors) are all great options.

Content marketing is one small aspect of your business’ online reputation. Learn how to take control of your online reputation today by signing up/claiming your Top Rated Local® listing!

How to Get the Most Out of Google My Business

Google My Business is one of the best weapons in any local business’ arsenal.

When someone is looking for the right local business to work with — say an accounting firm or maybe a physical therapy clinic — they’ll often start that search online, on Google specifically. And, when someone looks for your business online, what will they find?

If, let’s say, someone was looking for your business email address or phone number, how easy would it be for them to find it? Or, if someone wanted to know if you’ll be open on the weekends or during a holiday, would they be able to easily find that information?

This is where Google My Business comes in. Although a lot of that information can be found on your website, Google My Business makes it easy to find because it shows up right in the search results. That’s also why it’s so essential that you either sign up for Google My Business if you haven’t already, or claim your listing if there’s already one for your business.

Be sure to check out our previous blog to learn how to claim your Google My Business listing.

Get the most out of your Google My Business listing by optimizing it!

Signing up for Google My Business or claiming your listing is a great first step, and once you do, you’ll need to learn how to make the most out of it. Optimizing your Google My Business listing will help to ensure that your business gets found online, which is what it’s all about, really.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Google My Business listing:

#1. Update your information.

Your core business information — business name, website, phone number, address, category, attributes, and, finally, description. A part of your optimization process should include making sure that all of this information is up to date and listed exactly the way that it’s listed on your website.

Google Maps uses this information to index your business, which makes it the basis of your SEO strategy, so it’s essential that you get it right. If there are any inconsistencies between your Google My Business listing and your website, it can hurt your website’s rankings in the SERP (search engine results pages). For instance, if “drive” is spelled out on your website and abbreviated on your listing.

#2. Add high-quality images.

Your Google My Business listing is often the first interaction potential customers will have with your business online, and it’s important to make the right kind of first impression. Using high-quality, high-resolution images is one of the best ways to do that.

Blurry, low-quality images make it all too easy for people to skip over your listing. After all, there’s a lot of competition out there, and you need to give people a reason to choose your business over the many others. That’s why, if necessary, hiring a photographer that can help you capture your business in the best light is not the worst idea.

#3. Generate more reviews.

People check out your Google My Business listing for a lot of reasons, but the two main ones are to learn how to get ahold of you and to read reviews about your business. Think of reviews as the word of mouth of yesteryear.

Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is still a powerful thing — probably the most effective form of advertising there is — it’s just not as common for people to ask for personal referrals as it used to be. Instead, most people will turn to Google, and they’ll read reviews to help them determine whether or not to work with your business.

If you have only so-so reviews, only months- or years-old reviews, or, worse, no reviews at all, most people will move on to the next listing. That’s why it’s important to put an effort into generating reviews for your website. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Ask for reviews! – Asking is the most effective and most straightforward way to get reviews. You might be surprised at how many people are more than willing to write a review for you when you just ask.
  • Send follow-up emails – After the sale has been made or the service has been completed, follow-up with your clients or customers in an email, telling them how much you value their feedback and letting them know where they can write a review for you (make sure to include links!).
  • Incentivize reviews – Offering to enter customers who write reviews in a drawing or sweepstakes is an effective way to get more reviews. But, be careful with this one. Google does not look kindly on businesses that bribe customers for five-star reviews.

#4. Respond to your reviews!

When your customers do take time out of their busy schedule to write a review for your business, it’s important that you also take the time to respond to it. Responding is important, and you should respond to every review, not just the positive ones. In fact, it’s especially important that you respond to negative reviews.

Your response to a negative review is your chance to share your side of the story, but make sure that you’re not minimizing their experience or responding in a defensive manner. And don’t get in a public argument with someone, either. You’ll only come out looking petty to anyone reading the reviews. Instead, give the reviewer your phone number or email address, and invite them to contact you directly to discuss it.

When done correctly, your response to a negative review gives you a tremendous opportunity to turn a negative experience around, earn a customer for life, and let any prospective customers know how much you value providing a great experience for them.

Take your online reputation to the next level with Top Rated Local®.

Optimizing your Google My Business listing can do great things for your business’ online reputation, but it’s not the only thing you can do to keep it strong. Claim your Top Rated Local listing today to take your business’ online reputation to the next level!

Simplifying SEO for Local Businesses

SEO isn’t as complicated as you may think.

Being visible online isn’t something any local should take lightly in this day and age, and there are two basic ways to ensure that your website is visible online — paid ads and organic results. Paid search ads are a great way to get your name out there when you’re just starting out, but when you’ve dominated the organic search results, you’ll save money with each and every lead that you get.

SEO (search engine optimization) is all about increasing both the quality and the quantity of the organic traffic that your website gets from search engines. And it’s something that every local business should think about. After all, a business that learns how to dominate local search results through SEO not only saves money on paid search ads but also benefits from better, more qualified traffic to their website.

As important as SEO is, it’s often an overlooked piece of the online reputation management puzzle for many business owners. That’s because SEO can seem like an overly complicated thing, and while it’s true that it takes time and hard work, it’s actually a lot more simple than you probably think.

The Basics of SEO for Local Businesses

Keyword Research

Keywords are what people type into Google, Bing, or other search engines to find the topic they’re searching for. Identifying the appropriate keywords to optimize your website for is done through keyword research, and it’s the first — and arguably the most important — aspect of your entire SEO strategy. The bottom line is that you need to be able to identify which terms you want your website to rank for, and once you do, you’ll be able to base the entire rest of your SEO strategy off of it.

The keywords you choose will have a direct impact on both the quantity of the traffic your website gets and the quality of that traffic. Choosing broader, more general keywords will mean more competition, and choosing irrelevant keywords will hurt your ranking and diminish the quality of your organic leads.

Want to learn all about how to find the best keywords for business? Check out our previous blog.


If you’ve talked to many people who work in digital marketing, there’s a common saying about SEO you’ve probably heard — “content is king.” Everything in SEO has to do with content, and it’s one of the easiest and also one of the most challenging aspects of SEO for local business owners.

The good news is that SEO won’t require you to have a whole lot of technical knowledge or marketing savvy, but the bad news is that it requires you to create original, high-quality content on your website, social platforms, and beyond on a regular basis. That can be daunting for business owners who may not exactly think of themselves as writers or who may already have an over-flowing schedule to contend with.

Luckily, Google doesn’t expect every business owner to be Hemingway, but they do expect them to create content that adds value. And for the benefit of your website’s SEO, that content should be built around your keyword research. Keep in mind that it’s more important to use keywords naturally than it is to force them into your content as many times as possible.

As a business owner, you have a lot of knowledge about your industry that the average consumer does not, and a great strategy is to use that knowledge to create content for your website. Tips, how-to articles, and client testimonials are the perfect things to put in your blog.

It’s important to know that content isn’t just text. There are many different types of content that should be added to your website, and when optimized correctly, videos and photos can be valuable commodities when it comes to organic rankings.

Not many businesses think of them this way, but reviews are actually another type of content that can help a business rank higher organically in the SERP, and the best part about reviews is that you don’t have to write them yourself! Google also weighs what other people say about your business more heavily than what you say about yourself, and reviews can be a major boon for your SEO.

In addition to adding content to your website consistently, posting on social media should be a regular part of your SEO strategy. Excerpts from blogs on your site, tips and tricks, photos of your team, and client testimonials are just a few examples of the kind of content that works well on social media.


The other major aspect of SEO is link building. Link acquisition can be challenging, and it will take a solid investment of time and hard work to achieve it. One of the most straightforward ways to acquire it is to email website owners directly to earn links.

Contacting website owners directly is just one aspect of earning links; you also need to have link-worthy pages on your website to link to. What makes a page linkable? Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine linkability:

  • Is the content useful? – Link-worthy pages are informative and useful. How-to guides, advice, and concept explanations are just a few examples of the kind of pages that are linkable.
  • Is the content original? – In order for a page to be link-worthy, it can’t have the same information that’s available everywhere else. Use your industry expertise by taking a new perspective on something, or share original data or research to create link-worthy content.
  • Is the content entertaining? – There are a lot of ways to make an impact with your content, but the best way is by creating content that entertains. Humorous content, as well as interactive content, like quizzes or games, can be very entertaining and link-worthy.

In general, the most linkable pages appeal to a wider audience, which means that they probably won’t be your highest-ranking pages. But as long as your content is strong enough, you’ll earn links to those pages anyway through your manual efforts to reach out to site owners. And when you do, those links will add credibility and authority to your website and your brand.

SEO often gets a bad reputation for being overly complicated, but it really doesn’t have to be. Neglecting SEO can hurt your business’ visibility and online reputation, so it really isn’t something you should overlook.

Take the first step toward building a strong online reputation by becoming a Top Rated Local business today!

Finding the Best Keywords for Your Brand

Keyword research is a key part of any online reputation management strategy.

Maintaining your online reputation is a multi-faceted beast, and a major part of any successful online reputation management strategy involves being in control of what people see when they search for your business online. This is accomplished through search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is all about managing both the quality and the quantity of the traffic your website gets through organic search results, and it all starts with keyword research.

While often overlooked as just a small aspect of SEO, keyword research is actually the single most important aspect of any digital marketing strategy, as well as any online reputation management strategy. If you don’t know which keywords will lead to your website — and which keywords to optimize your website for — you won’t find success in driving traffic to your website. Furthermore, when you optimize your website for certain keywords, you’re telling search engines what your website is all about.

Understanding the importance of keyword research is one thing, but actually doing it effectively is a whole other ballgame.

How to Find the Right Keyword for Your Website

Use your intuition.

As a business owner, you understand what your business is all about and what you have to offer better than anyone else. You also probably have a pretty good idea of what kinds of keywords people may search that are relevant to your business.

Put together a list of possible keywords that you think people may enter when looking for businesses like yours. Add any keywords that are relevant to the services and products you offer as well. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for ideas from friends, family, or even your team.

When brainstorming keywords, put yourself in a consumer’s shoes when they might need your services. For instance, if you were a homeowner with a frozen pipe that burst, you might use keywords like, “emergency plumber near me,” “local plumber,” or “emergency plumbing services.”

Use the Google Keyword Planner tool.

Google offers a free keyword planning tool that business owners can use to find relevant keywords for their website. With the Google Keyword Planner tool, the keywords you’ve come up with when brainstorming can be used to find thousands of related keywords.

People search in all kinds of ways, and the Google Keyword Planner tool can help you pinpoint the most common ones. The great thing about the tool is that it shows you search volumes for each term, helping you avoid optimizing your website for a search term that only a few people are using, or a search term that is far too competitive. Google’s keyword research tool also allows you to search by location, helping you to find the keywords people in your area are using.

Tips for Finding the Right Keywords

You’ll find that keyword research tools generate thousands upon thousands of results, and not all of them will be relevant to your website. Besides, it’s not going to be possible to optimize your website for all of those keywords, and you’re going to want to choose a few top options to focus on primarily. Here are a few tips for finding the best keywords to focus on:

#1. Make sure that keywords are relevant.

No matter how much search volume a keyword gets, it won’t pay off to optimize your website for it unless it’s relevant to your website. The biggest benefit of SEO is that it drives better, more relevant traffic to your website, and it does so without the need to pay for ads.

Relevancy is probably the most important aspect of keyword research, and in addition to driving the right kind of traffic to your website, choosing to optimize your website with relevant keywords will also help to establish trust in your brand.

Think about it. If you optimize your website for “emergency plumber near me,” but you’re only available Monday through Friday 9 – 5, it’s not going to create a good impression of your business if someone who really needs emergency plumbing services during after-hours can’t get ahold of you.

#2. Get the best results with long-tail keywords.

The more search results a keyword has, in general, the more competition you’ll have in trying to rank for it. Small to medium-sized businesses often don’t have the resources of large corporations, which means trying to compete with them on Google can be a real challenge. But when you target long-tail keywords, you’ll have less competition and a higher chance of success.

Let’s say that you own a men’s shoe company. You’ll never compete with an overly basic keyword, like “shoes” or even “men’s shoes,” but you’ll have a lot more luck when you target relevant, long-tail keywords, like “brown leather oxford shoes for men.”

Not only does targeting long-tail keywords make it possible for small businesses to be competitive players online, but they also lead to increased conversions. People who use more specific keywords are more likely to be ready to buy; whereas, people using more general search terms are more likely to still be in the research phase.

#3. Look at what keywords your competition is using.

When you need a few more ideas for keywords to target, looking at what your competition is doing is a great place to start. Knowing which keywords your competitors are going after can help you determine which keywords you might be forgetting. It will also help you expand your ideas,

Start by making a list of your competitors, and then find their websites online. From there, you can look at the metadata and read their content to figure out which keywords they are targeting. There are also tools out there that can help you figure out what keywords your competitors are actually ranking for.

Keyword research and SEO are just one aspect of online reputation management. With Top Rated Local, you’ll gain an understanding of your online reputation overall. Claim your Top Rated Local listing today to start managing your business’ online reputation like a pro.

A Roofer’s Guide to Reputation Management

Every roofing company needs a solid online reputation management strategy.

The fact of the matter is that it can be difficult for a roofing company to acquire new clients. After all, it’s not like anyone needs a new roof on a monthly basis or even needs roofing repairs or maintenance that often. Roofing companies are unique in how seldom clients need their services, which means that, when someone is searching for a roofer online, you absolutely want your business to show up.

Making sure that your roofing business is visible is just the first step though. There are a ton of different roofing companies consumers could choose from, and they need a reason to choose your business over the many others out there. And they’ll find that reason in your business’ online reputation.

Reputation Management Tips for Roofers

#1. Claim your listings.

First and foremost, a roofing company absolutely must claim ALL of its business listings online. It’s not enough to just claim your Google My Business listing. You want all of your information to be accurate across the web so that, no matter how someone finds you, they’ll always have the right contact information to get a hold of you.

Ensuring that your contact information is accurate will help to establish trust with consumers and make your listing more legitimate in their eyes. If someone finds your listing on a directory or a review site and ends up calling a number that is no longer in service or visiting an old location, they’re going to think that your business is either invalid or has gone out of business — either way, it doesn’t bode well for your business.

Another big reason why consistency across business listings is important is that Google looks at consistency when determining whether a business is valid or not. If there are multiple addresses and phone numbers across Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, and other listings and directories, Google isn’t going to rank your business as high because it appears less legitimate.

Finally, when you claim your business listings online, it gives you more control over them. In addition to giving you the ability to update your contact information, you’ll also be able to update and optimize your business description, add photos, and even respond to reviews.

#2. Earn more reviews.

Reviews are the number one thing consumers will look at when determining whether or not they want to work with a roofing company. Let’s face it, there’s a lot at stake when hiring a roofer. It’s not like going to a nail salon or finding a jewelry store — the roof is the number one thing that stands between you and the elements, and you want to be able to trust the company you’ve hired to take care of it.

If your business doesn’t have a solid average star rating — or worse, if you don’t have any reviews at all — it doesn’t bode well for your chances of attracting new clients online. It also means that you should start working on generating more reviews for your business.

Although you should never bribe your clients for reviews or presume to tell them what kind of a review they should leave you, simply asking for reviews is perfectly acceptable, and it’s also a super-effective way to generate more of them. While many people won’t write reviews on their own, believe it or not, the vast majority of people will write a review if you just ask.

#3. Generate content.

A big part of online reputation management is controlling what consumers see when they find your business online. When someone searches for your business name, ideally, your website should be the first thing that pops up, along with your listings on directories and reviews sites and your social media pages. What you don’t want to pop up is bad press about your business, and that’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in handy.

By optimizing your website, business listings, and social media profiles, you can ensure that consumers will find what you want them to when they search for your business online. And although SEO can get pretty complicated if you let it, the most basic and powerful strategy you can have is to simply publish content consistently online.

As a roofer, you have a lot of valuable knowledge to share with consumers. Your average Joe Blow won’t understand why a metal roof may be a better option for their needs than an asphalt shingle roof, or how important regular maintenance is for the longevity of your roof. This is the perfect kind of content to publish on your website and social media pages.

#4. Respond to reviews.

Generating more reviews is a great step in the right direction toward maintaining your business’ online reputation, but your job isn’t done yet — you also need to respond to those reviews. And that’s true of all reviews, whether they’re one-star, five-star, or somewhere in the middle; however, you especially want to make it a point to respond to any negative reviews you get.

When you respond to negative reviews, it gives you a chance to share your side of the story with not only the person who left the review but with anyone who may happen to read it. Unhappy clients often don’t understand why something happened the way that it did, and by simply explaining your side of the story, you might be able to effectively defuse the situation.

It’s important, though, that you always take ownership of the situation, even if you feel that it’s not your fault. This doesn’t mean that you have to claim responsibility, but you should at least apologize that their experience with your business wasn’t what they expected or wanted. You should never argue with a reviewer or insult them, and if necessary, give yourself a little time to cool off if you’re upset before responding to a negative review.

One of the best things you can do when responding to a negative review is to invite the reviewer to discuss the matter offline. This will save you from having to argue or set the record straight with a client on such a public forum, and it shows other people that you’re willing to work to correct a bad situation.

#5. Sign up for Google Alerts.

When it comes to your business’ online reputation, you can’t effectively manage it if you set it and forget it. A good online reputation management strategy means ongoing, real-time management, which means that you have to be in the know what people are saying about your business online.

One of the best ways to stay on top of what people are saying about your business online is to sign up for Google Alerts. Google Alerts are totally free, and you can use them to monitor all kinds of things, including brand mentions. You can even use Google Alerts to monitor what people are saying about your competition online, giving you a much needed leg up.

Become a Top Rated Local® roofing company!

There are a lot of things that go into building and maintaining a strong online reputation, and it can all seem overwhelming when you already have so much going on. Luckily, it’s easy to get started — sign up or claim your Top Rated Local listing.

Becoming a Top Rated Local business means that you’ll get real-time notifications when you get new reviews, the ability to reply to your reviews, monthly breakdown of your online reputation overall and so much more. Get started today!

Why and How to Claim Your Google My Business Listing

If your business isn’t listed on Google, it may as well not exist at all.

With more than 63,000 searches per second, 3.8 million per day, 228 million per hour, and 5.6 billion per day, it’s no wonder that Google currently holds approximately 90 percent of the worldwide search engine market share.

As far as online search is concerned, Google is king, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. That means that, for any local business, being found on Google is an absolute must for success online and off.

These days, more and more people are finding local businesses online, and that’s true whether they’re looking for a barber shop, a jewelry store, or even a locksmith. And when someone searches for services or products you provide online, you want to ensure that your business shows up on top of the SERP (search engine results pages). Otherwise, what’s the point?

Signing up for Google My Business or claiming your Google My Business listing is the first step toward ensuring that people can and will find your business online.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Claiming Your Google My Business Listing

Step #1. Sign in.

You’ll need to either sign in to your existing Google account or sign up for one if you don’t already have one. If you’re creating a new account, be sure to choose a professional-sounding email address, preferably, one that includes your business name. The best option is to create an email address that ends in your domain name — for example,

Step #2. Search for your listing.

Chances are, your business already has a Google My Business listing that just needs to be claimed and optimized. To find out if your business already has a listing, simply search for your business name and city online.

Step #3. Manage the listing.

Once you’ve found your listing, you’ll click on the link that says, “Own this business?”. From there, you’ll select “Manage now,” and you’ll have to agree to Google’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service before continuing.

Step #4. Verify.

Google doesn’t allow just anyone to claim a business listing, and you’ll have to verify yours before you can manage it effectively. Google will require that you enter a PIN to verify that you’re the actual owner of the business. This can be done in a few ways, but the easiest is to call your business phone number with an automated recording. You can also have them send the PIN via text message or postcard, which is, of course, the slowest method, and if your postcard gets lost in the mail, you can always have them send you another one.

Get the most out of Google My Business by optimizing your listing.

Having a verified Google listing is the first step toward a strong online reputation and more visibility for your business, but you’re not done yet. Next, you’ll want to optimize your listing in order to get the most out of it.

Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing Like a Pro

  • Choose the right category – You’ll have to select a category for your business, which Google will use to determine what searches your listing will show up for. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t allow businesses to create their own categories, and you’ll have to choose from their list. Niche businesses should choose a general category that bests describes their goods or services, but all other businesses will want to select the most specific category that fits what they offer. For instance, a bagel shop will find a lot more success categorizing themselves as a bagel shop rather than a restaurant.
  • Set up a listing for each location – If your business has multiple locations, it’s important to set up a different listing for each one. This way, your customers will always find the closest, best location for their needs.
  • Use high-quality images – A Google listing isn’t complete without images, and it’s important to choose the right ones. According to Google, listings that featured photos and virtual tours generate twice the interest that other listings do. Make sure that you choose high-quality, high-resolution images that show your products or storefront in the best possible light.
  • Make sure your information is accurate and consistent – Consumers can learn a lot about your business through your Google listing, and it’s important to ensure that the information they find there is accurate as well as consistent across all listings. It could actually affect your business’ Google rankings if you don’t. A part of Google’s algorithm looks at the consistency of business’ listings across different websites when verifying its legitimacy.
  • Avoid getting your listing suspended – There are a number of offenses a small business could make that could end up with a suspended Google My Business listing, including having multiple listings for the same location, awkwardly and obviously over-stuffing keywords into the business name field, making false or misleading claims, utilizing explicit or offensive content, using a URL that redirects to the business’ website rather than the direct URL, and using an address that isn’t the actual storefront or office where you meet customers.
  • Generate reviews! – When consumers are searching for businesses online, they need a way to differentiate the listings they find. The number one way they do that is by looking at a business’ reviews, which means that if you don’t have any — or if your average star rating is poor — chances are high that your listing won’t get clicked on. That means that you need to start letting your clients know where they can leave you reviews and to even start asking directly for reviews. Be sure to check out our previous blog to learn the dos and don’ts of asking for reviews.

Claim your Top Rated Local® listing!

Your Google My Business listing isn’t the only listing you should claim; in fact, you should claim and optimize all of your business’ listings, including your listing on Top Rated Local. Claiming your Top Rated Local listing comes with many perks you won’t find anywhere else, including real-time notifications when you get reviews, monthly updates on your overall online reputation and so much more. It’s also free, so you have nothing to lose!

Sign up/claim your Top Rated Local listing today!

The Twelve Days of Reputation-mas

Twas the night before Reputaion-mas, and while on the internet
I learned of ways to manage my reputation
That I didn’t want to forget

So from us to you, we have set them to song
If you know the tune, feel free to sing along

On the twelfth day of Reputation-mas
my true love sent to me:

12 Bloggers Blogging

Generating content is going to naturally bring more traffic to your site. How’s this for power numbers? You have a 434-percent higher chance of being ranked higher on search engines if your website features a blog, and small businesses with blogs generate 126-percent more leads than those without. Regular blogging can also help you to establish and build relationships with your customers and provide them with helpful content. Blogging is an easy way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. By providing your audience with well-written blog posts about your industry, your business, and your target audience, you show your customers that you are an expert in your field. You can even use your blog to address common questions your customers have, providing them with a valuable tool that also showcases the fact that you are listening to their questions and concerns and that you have a vested interest in helping them with their issues. The kind of trust you can build by blogging about real questions and concerns you’ve noticed your customers coming to you with is, in and of itself, incredibly valuable. People want to give their business to someone they trust and like, and a blog can not only help with this, but it can also help with keeping your customers engaged and interested in your business.

11 People Sharing

When you have fun, meaningful, or engaging content, your audience can become your best marketers. Social media makes it easy for people to share the content you’re putting out there, whether that be photos of your product, blog posts about your industry, or information about an upcoming event. When your customers share your content, they are not only sharing your information with a wider audience, they are also giving you a kind of a recommendation, and all at no additional cost or time to you. People generally miss a whole lot of content on their social media feeds, so the more chances someone has of seeing what you’ve put out there, the better it is for you and your business.

10 Social Profiles

If you have any hesitations about your business having a presence on social media, we are here to offer you some insight into why and how social media can actually be beneficial to your business. I promise, it’s not all selfies and hashtags. Social media actually has a really important place in building your online reputation, as well as the connections you have with your current and potential future customers. The number of social media users has been on a steady incline for years and has absolutely no indication of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, over the last five years, the number of people using social media increased by close to a billion! That means that worldwide, there are around 3.2 billion social media users, or, 42 percent of the world’s population. Social media offers you a way to connect and interact with your customers, and even to share user-generated content, which offers a whole host of value for your business. Interacting with your customers on social media is one way to showcase your excellent customer service practices by showing that you care about your audience and are willing to take the time to engage with them. There’s no doubt, customers are using social media to search for products, recommendations, and services. Make it easy for them to find and interact with you! Of course, each social media platform offers its own appeal to different target audiences, and you’ll have to find the most effective one for your business. Here is a list of 11 of the most popular social media sites out there today:

YouTube – YouTube gives you the power to have your own channel where you can upload videos that your subscribers can watch, like, comment on, and ideally share with others. YouTube’s audience is huge, which means that no matter what kind of industry you are in, you likely have an audience that is active on YouTube. With over 2 billion active users, YouTube has been named the second most popular search engine, after Google. Ninety percent of viewers have shared that they’ve discovered new brands or products thanks to YouTube, so, why not yours?

Instagram – Instagram stories are having a big moment right now. Their usage has increased from 150 million to 500 million in the last three years, and it’s no wonder, since they offer fun and exciting ways to engage with your audience without having to make a more permanent post on your profile. Instagram stories can give your audience a feeling of being ‘on the inside’ or ‘behind the scenes’ since they are temporary and offer interactive features, like polls and Q&A’s.

Twitter – Twitter is known for being the social media hub for news, politics, and what’s happening now. For a small business, Twitter can be used to make announcements, promote special offers, reach new audiences, increase brand awareness, and handle customer service requests.

Facebook – Facebook’s audience is huge. With 2.41 billion monthly active users, there’s no doubt Facebook remains a powerhouse in the world of social media. Facebook offers a host of options for your business, including Facebook marketing, shopping options, insights on your business page, and messaging.

Snapchat – One study found that Snapchat has the ability to reach forty-one percent of all 18- to 34-year-olds every single day. Snapchat may have gained popularity for rainbow-barf and puppy-face filters, but it offers much more than that for small businesses trying to connect with a younger audience. Snapchat offers the option for businesses to post ads between stories, create interactive business content, and create and customize their very own Geofilter!

Pinterest – Pinterest is great at driving traffic to your website, and it easily integrates with not only your own website, but also with Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is also the leader of the pack when it comes to product discovery and purchasing power. Staying active on Pinterest can also help you to stay on top of emerging trends.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is made to create professional and business connections, making it an important social media platform for your small business to be a part of. It’s a great place to share your high-quality content, your company’s story, or your featured products. LinkedIn also gives your business some additional legitimacy and helps you to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Even if you don’t end up posting much of your own content, you can stay up-to-date on the news and trends within your industry by following leaders and organizations within your field.

Meetup – Meetup offers plenty of business networking opportunities that any small business owner can attend or host. Meetup offers the valuable opportunity to connect with people in your own community. Meetup’s overall goal is to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize,” and according to their website, more than 9,000 groups get together in local communities every single day.

Waze – Though not a traditional social media site, Waze local allows small businesses to advertise to smartphone users who are using the navigation services of the app. That means that ads for your business can pop up like tiny digital billboards

9 Smiling Workers

No matter what efforts you’re putting into your online reputation, you’re not going to get very far if you forget the basics of offering good customer service to each of your customers. During this busy holiday season, your customers may be experiencing more stress than usual, and will greatly appreciate some quality customer service and care, while also being far more likely to notice when it is not present. In case you or your staff need a reminder, you can start by remembering to smile, or at the very least, make sure you are friendly and genuine. Make eye contact when you talk to people to show them that you are engaged and listening to them. It is important that your customers feel seen and heard, as that can make a world of difference in their overall experience. Introduce yourself and try to use people’s names when you speak with them. This added level of personalized attention will put you leagues ahead of any online retailer. Remember to thank your customers for their support. In today’s world, it would be very easy for them to do business at a chain retailer or online, so it means something that they chose to support you. The least you could do is tell them as much. Offering some gratitude is simple, meaningful, and most likely genuine. This one-on-one attention and care might be the reason they chose to shop at a business like yours instead of at one of the chains.

If you want to do a further dive into some of the incredible benefits of offering great customer service, check out our article: Why Nothing Beats Great Customer Service.

8 TRL Facts

Here are 8 fun facts about Top Rated Local:

  • You can add the trusted Top Rated Local badge to your website to let your customers know that yours is a top-rated business.
  • With Top Rated Local, you can challenge reviews to ensure they are from actual customers, request re-ratings after you resolve an issue, and send private notes to your reviewers.
  • With the Top Rated Local stats dashboard you have access to a powerful tool for tracking the progress of your online reputation overall, or by an individual review site. With it, you can track your number of reviews, star ratings, listing clicks, your Rating Score™ compared to your competitors, and more.
  • By joining Top Rated Local, you will receive monthly email updates on your overall online reputation.
  • Top Rated Local gives you access to an embeddable review widget. That means you can embed the widget on your website’s review or testimonial page to automatically showcase your recent ratings and reviews!
  • Every year, Top Rated Local awards businesses in every state! Each business’s rank is based on its Rating Score™, which is calculated by aggregating customer ratings and reviews from verified review sites online, and the score is calculated using a proprietary algorithm that analyzes the business’s overall rating, number of reviews, and number of verified review sources.
  • Top Rated Local is built on five pillars of the customer experience; quality, value, timeliness, experience, and satisfaction. These pillars allow consumers to highlight what was important about their experience. It is a true, simplistic feedback system that has more value than reviews alone. It creates a place where the customer experience is amplified, and it creates a more meaningful environment for customers and businesses alike.
  • Once you claim your business, you will receive real-time notifications when you receive new reviews.

7 Online Shoppers

E-commerce is growing fast, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Online shopping is easy, convenient, and is the preferred method of shopping for many people. With so many people turning to online reviews before making any buying decisions, doesn’t it make sense that they can also get the product online where they can compare pricing options, see available options with the swipe of a finger, read dozens of customer reviews, and not have to deal with parking or putting on pants? Small businesses can take advantage of this booming industry by easily setting up their own e-commerce shops. In addition to showing your audience that you are able to stay current and up to date on the latest trends, e-commerce comes with a host of other benefits, like visitor tracking, easy customer feedback, and low cost of operation.

6 RM Statistics

  • Ninety-seven percent of people learn about local companies online. Your website isn’t the only way you can reach a broader audience. By using social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, more people will be able to interact with you, share your business page, and see your content. Having a strong presence online is necessary in order to stand out and be seen.
  • Ninety-one percent of customers ages 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Your reviews matter! Start taking control of your online reputation first by finding out where you currently stand. Claim your listings today to get started. Your positive reviews will give your business credibility and will act as referrals for potential customers. Even your negative reviews can be positive for you if you respond to them and show your customers that you care about their experience and are willing to reach out and make things right.
  • 82 percent of smartphone shoppers are doing searches, including the phrase ‘near me’, a number that has increased by 900 percent over the last two years. That means it’s more important ever to make sure that, when people are looking for a product or service you provide, you show up in their search! People WANT to support local businesses, but if they can’t find you, you might as well not exist.
  • Forty-three percent of consumers do online research even as they are shopping inside a store. You’ll want them to be able to find your business and the reviews people have left you. You will also want to be in the know about what they might find there. Are your prices competitive? Does another store offer an updated version of the product, or offer it in different colors? You might not know, but your customers certainly will!
  • Ninety-two percent of people conducting searches end up choosing a business that is listed on the first page of local search results. Working on your SEO (search engine optimization) and getting listed on the first page of Google is going to be vital when it comes to getting your business noticed.
  • Fifty percent of consumers who did a search on their phones ended up visiting a store within one day. Make sure your information is up to date and that your website is mobile friendly!

5 Good Reviews

Oh the power of online reviews, what more can we say about you? The fact of the matter is, reviews are a vital piece of your overall reputation and the way people see you and your business. Reviews act as the word of mouth of the modern world, and most people trust online reviews as much as they would a referral from a friend or family member. With most consumers turning to the internet to check reviews before making a decision about a product or service, it’s important that, when they turn to your business, there’s something there! Reviews help establish loyalty with your current customers and trust with potential future customers. Not only that, they also help your company’s SEO , which means they can help you show up in search results. One other crucial role reviews play is to provide you with valuable feedback about your business.

4 SEO Tips

  • Work on your meta descriptions – Meta descriptions are the snippet of text underneath the link in a search engine’s results page. This brief description often
  • helps make a person’s decision about whether or not to click on the link that will take them to your site.
  • Be consistent with creating and publishing content – If your site is constantly being updated with new content, it has better chances of having a higher ranking. Updating your site with new and engaging content offers your customers value and incentive for loyalty. Search engines also know that people are searching for relevant and up-to-date information, so when you provide that, they are likely to place you higher in the results.
  • Do your keyword research – Keywords help search engines understand what makes up your website and know where to rank it. Search patterns, SEO, and relevant keywords are constantly changing, so it’s important to do your research and stay updated on the latest trends.
  • Claim your business profiles – The more trusted websites your business is listed on, the more exposure your business website will get, the better your SEO will be. By claiming your businesses, you can also make sure that the information available about your business is consistent and correct across the board.

3 ORM Myths

  • No reputation is better than a bad reputation – When a potential customer is conducting a search and stumble upon a business with no reviews, they are probably going to think that business is new, has tried to get rid of negative reviews, or worse, is a total scam. Negative reviews are by no means the end of the world, in fact, a few negative reviews, and more importantly, how you respond to them, can actually give you a little more credibility than having only five-star feedback.
  • It’s rude to ask my customers for reviews – Many people have this very outdated notion that they can’t ask anything of their customers, or that it is somehow rude to ask them to leave you a review. When you are asking your customers for a review, you’re not asking them to go out of their way, lie, or to only rate you as the best of the best; on the contrary, asking your customers for their feedback shows them that you value their experience and opinions.
  • I should get rid of my negative reviews – Negative reviews don’t have to be a nail in your business’ coffin. While getting one may feel shocking or like a personal attack, it is important to stay calm and think about how you can use this kind of a review to show your audience the kind of business you want to be. Your response speaks volumes to the kind of business you are and your willingness to fix mistakes. Negative reviews can also give some credibility to your online presence. We can’t all be everyone’s cup of tea, and some variety in your reviews shows that enough people are actually customers of yours to give a varied opinion of you and your service.

2nd page on Google

The importance of a first-page ranking for your business is undeniable. The fact is, businesses with first page rankings end up getting over 90 percent of the traffic. Think about your most recent Google searches; when was the last time you continued your search past the first page? Once your business hits page three, the traffic going to your website will be under five percent. If you’re stuck on page two, get started on increasing your ranking by working on your keywords, claiming your business profiles, and generating more unique content.

…and a Reputation that is Pristine

I know it’s a catchy tune, but hopefully you don’t get this one stuck in your head all day. We hope you enjoyed this festive collection of reputation management tips. If you’re ready to begin on your own online reputation journey, we recommend getting started by checking out Top Rated Local today! Have a safe and wonderful holiday season from all of us here at Top Rated Local!

Who Manages Your Online Reputation?

Who Manages Your Online Reputation?

It should come as no surprise to any entrepreneur that online reviews and your online reputation are important for the success of your business. More and more, we are seeing trends that show the importance of being on top of your reputation and actively managing your online presence. The way people shop today means that a majority of people will do an online search in order to find a business or service in their area. After a cursory search, they will then go and read the reviews for the companies or products that interest them. What they find there will make or break their decision to do business with one company over another. When your online reputation means the difference between getting more customers or losing them to a competitor, you want to do whatever you can to make sure that your reputation offers the best possible representation of you and your business.

Not convinced? Here are some statistics for you to consider:

  • Seven out of 10 customers will visit a business based on the information they find online.
  • Ninety-seven percent of people learn about local companies online.
  • Ninety-one percent of customers ages 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.
  • Eight out of 10 internet users in the United States have said that negative information they read online made them change their minds about purchasing decisions.
  • A single negative review can cost a business about 30 customers.

Claiming Your Business

If you are ready to start managing your online reputation but have no idea where to start, we recommend getting the ball rolling by first claiming your business listings. Claiming your business online is free, easy, and there’s no better way to get your finger on the pulse of what people are saying about you. Claiming your business can help to build trust in the eyes of your potential consumers by legitimizing your business, showing your customers that your business is real, and by giving you the power to make sure that basic information. like your phone number, address, and business name, is updated and correct. This can be a crucial first step in forming trust with your potential customers. If they google your business and call the phone number that is listed, but that number is disconnected or incorrect, they are likely going to think that your business is either closed or unreliable, and both of those options are no good for business. Imagine you are doing a search for a local plumber. One company has a claimed business, a complete and updated profile, and a handful of reviews for you to see what kind of experience other customers have had with this business, and the other is…just there, unclaimed. More than likely, you are going to instantly be more trusting of, and likely to give business to, the claimed business. By simply claiming their business, they have established themselves as reputable. There are plenty of benefits that come along with claiming your business. If you’re ready to claim yours, check out Top Rated Local; it’s both simple, and free!

Responding to Reviews

We highly recommend responding to all reviews, positive and negative, because doing so shows your audience that you are present and that care about what they have to say. It is definitely a best practice to give the same care and attention in your responses to every kind of review you receive. Even a wordless four or five-star review should warrant a heartfelt ‘thank you’. Even a wordless three-star review should be responded to! You could write something along the lines of:

“Thank you for your business and for this feedback. We would love to know more about your experience and what we can do in the future to show you the kind of excellent service we strive to give here. Give us a call anytime at xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

Remember those potential customers who are searching for businesses online and reading through the reviews before making their decision about which product or service to go with? When they see you respond to a review like that, they will see that you are alert, conscientious, and tuned-in to your customers. You have demonstrated that you care about feedback and are willing to listen and make improvements. That means a lot to people, and it shows them that they can trust you to make things right, even if they don’t go exactly the way they expect them to.

It is important to be prompt and consistent when responding to your reviews. Imagine the case of a truly scathing review. For example:

“I called for a quote and didn’t hear back for a few days. When the employee came out, they were distracted and were on their phone half the time. The price was OK so I went with them. Boy was that a mistake! They were hours late for their appointment, didn’t clean up after themselves, and didn’t even totally fix the issue. I will never use their services again. I wish I had spent a little more and gone with a company that would actually take care of me. One-star only because I can’t give zero.”

Yikes. Do you have a system in place to take care of this kind of situation? If you are not regularly checking on your review sites, it may even take you days, weeks, or months to even realize a review like this has been left for you, and zero response to a review like this for any length of time kind of makes this irate reviewer’s story seem a bit more credible. No matter how or when you respond, people are going to read that review and make decisions based off of it. Wouldn’t you rather boost your chances of saving your reputation by being able to defend your business in the eyes of your potential future customers?

When it comes to responding to negative reviews, here’s a quick run-down on how to respond:

Breathe. This might feel like a personal attack, but know that this customer either did not feel heard, or valued, or satisfied. Take a step back and stop yourself from lashing out in defense. One of the worst things you could do right now is to call them out for being wrong, rude, or misinterpreting the experience. Let them be sad or angry, and take the time to respond in a way that highlights you as rational and compassionate.
Apologize without accepting or placing blame. Responding to a negative review is a great opportunity to show yourself the way you want to be seen. In this moment, it is crucial to empathize with your customer and apologize without placing or accepting blame. Even if you feel there has been a misunderstanding, it’s likely that you really are sorry that the customer did not leave your business on a happy note, and that’s a great way to start your apology! You don’t need to assume blame; you just need to showcase understanding and care.
Take the conversation offline. It is important to show your audience that you are timely and responsive, and that you care enough to reach out and right this situation, but the details of that conversation can happen in a private setting rather than on display in a public forum. You definitely want to avoid a public internet showdown. Give them an office phone number or email and ask them to get ahold of you to find out how you can offer them a better experience.
Learn, adapt, and change when necessary. If the negative feedback you receive actually does have a point, nothing will look better than you having the humility and wherewithal to listen to the needs of your customers and take their advice into account.

So, whose job is it to manage your reputation?

Your reputation isn’t just for your customers. Having a strong reputation also helps your employees to solidify their commitment to your business and gives them confidence in who you are and what you do. In fact, your online reputation doesn’t just affect potential sales and customer opinions, but it can also determine the quality of candidates you have to hire from. Nobody wants to associate themselves with a company that has a bad reputation, and if they do, are they really the kind of qualified employee you are hoping for? One recent survey showed that 69 percent of job seekers are likely to reject a job offer from a company with a bad reputation.

With all of this in mind, do you know who is managing your online reputation and how? Do you have a plan in place when it comes to responding to reviews? Do you have a schedule or alerts set up to help you see the reviews when they come in? When it comes to effectively managing and improving your online reputation, these things are kind of the bare minimum. You should also be alert to and share the good things happening with your business. Do you have a space on your website that features your best five-star reviews? Do you create and share social media posts about awards you’ve received? If any of this is starting to sound overwhelming for you to take on by yourself and a little bit too important for you to delegate to one of your employees, there are a few options for you. You could hire a full-time employee whose job it is to monitor your online presence and overall reputation. This person could manage your social media profiles, send out emails asking customers for reviews, and respond to all reviews in a decided on tone.

Another option is to hire a company that specializes in reputation management. With social media and online reviews as important as they are to the success of your business, it could be the most beneficial to bring in an expert to manage, maintain, and improve your business’ online reputation. Your business may best benefit from having an outside vendor or consultant rather than a full-time in-house employee. When you hire a professional reputation manager, you are getting someone who will be adept at reputation management services far beyond crisis control and responding to negative reviews. Their whole job is to establish and promote your business’ reputation through a variety of strategies.

You might be fully capable of handling some reputation management strategies without any assistance, but how much time and energy are you willing to devote to the endeavor? Depending on your response, it could be worth looking into the services of a reputation management company. If you are interested in learning more about hiring a professional reputation manager to work with your business, reach out today!

When you consider the lasting and significant damage a negative reputation can have on your business, it is more important than ever to develop a strategy when it comes to protecting and promoting your business’ online reputation. Whether it’s to promote your business, build trust in your brand, or increase employee buy-in and loyalty, get started on your reputation management journey today.

If you’re ready to take your reputation into your own hands, you can claim your business listing for free today on Top Rated Local®. Top Rated Local is an invaluable tool that any business looking to strengthen their online reputation can use! Top Rated Local offers a powerful platform that makes it easy for you to capture and monitor reviews across multiple trusted review sites relevant to your business. The Top Rated Local stats dashboard is a powerful tool for tracking the progress of your online reputation overall, or by an individual review site. Now, you can track the number of reviews your business gets, your overall star ratings, your listing clicks, and even your Rating Score™ compared to your competitors. Not only that, but your clients or customers can leave your business reviews directly on the Top Rated Local site. Think of Top Rated Local as a one-stop-shop for all of your reputation management needs.

The Importance of Online Reputation for Locksmiths

Why Your Online Reputation Matters

Word of mouth and online reputation are vital to the success and growth of many small businesses, and that is especially true for locksmiths. The world of online reputation management may seem a bit much for your local, family-owned locksmith business, but it should not be overlooked or brushed off as being only helpful or important for younger generations. Let us fill you in on why your online reputation matters so much in the locksmithing industry and what you can accomplish by taking control of it!

People want to know that they can rely on a locksmith to offer prompt service at a reasonable price. For many, contacting a locksmith is something that is done in a moment of panic or necessity, so it is crucial to make a good first impression that reassures your customer and shows them that you are someone who is worth placing their trust in. Imagine the average person deciding they need a locksmithing service: perhaps the sun is setting, it’s getting cold, and they can’t get into their house! Or maybe they are on their way to a friend’s birthday party. They get in the car, turn it on, and start backing out the driveway, only to remember that they’ve left the gift on the dining room table. After retrieving the gift, they discover that they have locked their keys in their car. How are these people going to find a reliable locksmith? Most likely, they are going to start a frantic Google search! That is why it is so important for any reputable locksmith to make sure their company shows up on top and has some stellar reviews.

Unfortunately, there are many scammers and frauds out there looking to take advantage of people who are stuck and in need of quick locksmithing services. That has resulted in more and more people being wary or distrusting of locksmiths in general. These scammers generally work by flooding an area with fake phone numbers and business names, all of which sneakily link back to one operation. The person who shows up to perform the service will overcharge for lackluster work, often demanding cash, and will then vanish, becoming completely unreachable. Sometimes this kind of scam will even result in damaging the reputations of legitimate locksmiths, who may get flooded with angry calls because their name looks similar to the scam business.

One way you can help to stop people from getting scammed and boost your own business is to focus on having a strong online presence. Customers are more likely to trust you or see you as reliable when you pay attention to your online reputation. Think of Google, your website, and your social media pages as a more wide-reaching version of word of mouth. Here are some simple ways to take control of your online reputation today.

Claim Your Listings

Having verified listings helps to establish trust with your audience. Simply claiming the listings is enough to show your customers that yours is a valid business and that there really is someone on the other side of the screen. Claiming your listing also allows you to make edits or changes when it comes to important information, like your business name, address, and phone number. Especially in a market like the locksmithing industry that is so flooded with scammers, if a client tries to call you, but the listed number is disconnected, they are probably going to assume that your business is not a legitimate one. Claiming your business makes it easier for your clients to find you across multiple review platforms where they can leave you a review. It can also provide you an easy way to interact with your clients by compiling your reviews and allowing you to respond to them quickly. Locksmiths that have been in business for a while may have a long list of clients who could have left reviews across many different platforms, like Yelp, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Google — Top Rated Local can help you keep track of where your reputation stands right now by bringing all of your reviews to one place!

Ask For Reviews

For locksmiths, customer reviews are incredibly important. When you consider the number of scams out there, you can understand why seeing real people leave their feedback about a business gives that business some credibility. Ninety-three percent of people say that online reviews impact their buying decisions, and 85 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Long story short, reviews matter. If you are feeling weird about asking your customers for a review, you can say something as simple as, “It would mean a lot to us if you could go online to provide us your feedback.” This helps show your customers that you care about their experience and gives you either glowing reviews or crucial feedback, as well as credibility and a stronger online presence. Online or off, there’s no doubt that communication is valued in the service industry. Online reviews give you a unique platform where you can communicate with your customer base quickly and publically. While positive reviews will help drive business your way, there is also the chance someone will have something negative to say about your business. This isn’t the end of the world, and, when handled correctly, even a negative review can be positive for you and your image. In the chance that a negative review comes in, you can quickly address the issue, showing potential customers that you are not only communicative, but that you also value customer feedback. In some cases, you can even turn around a bad review by addressing the customer’s concerns and showing them that you care about their experience.

Post Often

At the end of the day, familiarity forms trust. One simple way to show potential customers that your business is legitimate is to update your website and social media pages regularly. People generally tend to enjoy engaging with small businesses, so whatever you can do to interact with your customers will make you stand out in their minds. Post photos of your truck, give a shoutout to a loyal employee, post a blog about how you decided to be a locksmith, or host a giveaway on Facebook! If you can add this human element to your online presence, people are going to be more likely to trust you and remember you when they are in need of the service you offer. Your social media pages can give potential customers some great insight into who you are and how you run your business. If you post a new photo every Monday at 4 pm sharp, you may be seen as consistent. Maybe you post useful tips about home safety, showing clients that you are thoughtful, or maybe you share touching stories, showing your audience how much you care about the work you do. In any case, you have the power to take control of your reputation and image.

Make managing your reputation easy with Top Rated Local

Claim your businesses and start taking control of your online reputation today with the help of Top Rated Local. It’s never been easier to get started, and best of all, it’s free!