Have you ever done a smartphone search that doesn’t quite close the deal? You know, you’re shopping for a donut or a diamond, but when you see that one-star rating, what do you do? You make a mental note and keep looking.
That’s what your customers do too. Life’s too short to deal with one-star service, right? That’s what goes through your mind, so imagine the rapid-fire conclusions that your franchisee candidates reach when they come across a sub-par rating. Because your candidates are looking at reviews and ratings too.
Reviews matter, maybe more than any other marketing and advertising you do, because they come from your customers’ peers, people they trust. And reviews are only going to become more important to your reputation in the future. Assuming your product or service is A-1, here are three strategic steps you can take now to improve the quality of your reviews.
1. Optimize your social presences. Make sure you have properly branded images, descriptions and physical addresses, as well as ‘About us’ information at the leading social channels that have reviews. Depending on the industry you are in, these may include:
- Angle’s List
- And others
2. Optimize your local SEO. This means publishing localized content two to four times per week on your franchisees’ social channels, particularly Facebook and Google+. We recommend a 50/50 mix between branded national content, and focused local content – and this will vary by social channel.
Note that you cannot just blurt advertising slogans and expect that approach to drive foot traffic. Younger people especially are distrustful of advertising now. For best results, produce and publish content that educates, engages and entertains.
Also, make sure that your website is responsively designed to look good on mobile devices, as well as the desktop.
3. Work the point of sale. Use counter cards and business cards to direct customers to your social sites and urge them to leave reviews. You can set up customized landing pages that are optimized for mobile devices and make it easier to engage with your customers.
To summarize, people who are looking for your products and services are making purchase decisions based on reviews. They trust other consumers more than they trust your brand. This affects the perception of your brand among franchisee candidates too.
If you have not already, you must set up processes and structures to engage with your happy customers, and encourage them to leave positive reviews. You must also develop a strategy for handling the nay-sayers. We’ll address that in another post.