Say It To My Screen: The Impact Testimonials Have On Small Businesses

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You’re sitting there, starving for something to eat but you definitely won’t be making it. You click open a new tab and start searching for delivery, clicking anything over four…ok, settle for three stars. You start skimming through reviews to see who actually has the most authentic street tacos and if there’s a photo; even better, you’re going there.


You’re driving down the long winding road you take to get home every day, singing every word to that song you just can’t stand and DA-DUNK you’ve hit a pothole and hear the dreaded rumbling of a flat tire that (of course) had to bend your frame and throw off the alignment.

Time to look for a trusted shop who will accept your insurance, replace the broken pieces without overcharging you and get it all done in a timely manner. Bonuses include filling your tank or washing up. How do you know what to expect?

By reading client reviews!


lyneda testimonial


If there’s anything we’ve learned by living in a mega-connected world it’s that every person has the ability to speak their mind. Some welcome; some not so welcome.

The first place a client is likely to go after being overcharged for their manicure, a shotty job on their plumbing or an expensive wedding earring that broke like a twig on the big day (…….) is to the vendor’s social media page. Here you can leave an in-depth review on your experience: the good, the bad, the ugly.

 

Why are businesses so eager to ask if your pet had a great time at their vet appointment if they know it could potentially lead to a nasty, exposing comment?

 

Because word-of-mouth is the number one referral. What you’ve turned out to subconsciously view before taking any considerable purchasing action is to hear from others like you.

People who also had the same combo skin and were looking for a great facewash.

People who also went to that movie theatre and found gum under their seat.

People who are on the same path to a similar fitness goal and worked with that trainer.

There is comfort in numbers and there is comfort in knowing what to expect.


rogge testimonial


So how do you, as a business owner, provide your customers with an experience they’ll want to rave about?

 

The more ‘stars’ and/or higher ratings you have will bump your business to the top of a potential customer’s Google search. The higher up you appear, the more click-throughs you receive, the more business you close, the more sales you make. The more attention others can draw to your business, the better.

  1. Provide an experience they’ll want to talk about. A meal, a service or a simple exchange is all about the experience. People are craving connection and experiencing something shareable. What stickers, backdrop or colors can you use that are photo-friendly? What fun hash tag can they include on that photo? What is a unique way to bring the check to the table? Can you provide a surprise to the service that you don’t advertise? (A car wash, a gas fill, an air freshener, items to hang the photo, a welcome home sign, a journal with a thank you note, etc.) If you need help brainstorming some creative ideas, let’s talk.
  2. Provide the social proof. Get legit! Every business is out for a certain purpose; usually to help, to entertain or to please in some way. Even if you have ONE review it’s proof that you’re in business and someone actually went there. Instant trust and often a deciding factor. Photos and videos you provide are meant to be aesthetically pleasing but coming from the smartphone of a client is the raw, real image of what to expect. ALWAYS respond and thank someone for leaving a review.
  3. The gift that keeps on giving. When asking someone how their experience was, thank them for coming and ask them to share their experience online. Some people offer a giveaway or another small gift as a way to say thank you. DO NOT BUY the review but incentivize. For example, if someone gives you a kind review, interact with them in public and automate a thank you email with a 10% off coupon for their next visit. They will keep spreading the word about you and you’ll reap the benefits of repeat and new business.
  4. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Similar to #3, people need to be told what to do. If you don’t ask for referrals, if you don’t ask for a review, if you don’t make it clear what you want then they’re probably indifferent to leaving a review, regardless of the great time they had. Every bit of feedback you receive, positive or negative, is feedback you can use to improve your business. Once you ask is it easy for them to find and use? I’ve started leaving great reviews for companies but they wanted me to keep going and going and copy/paste my review on multiple platforms…it’s too much. Have them review you on Facebook and you can copy/paste it to your website.
  5. Get the employees in on it. Like a bonus structure but without the pushy perfume lady. Make it easy for customers to see your employee’s name and be able to shout them out online. It brings a personal touch to your company, makes the client feel like they can come back to see a friend and praises the employee for a job well done which will add fuel to the fantastic customer service fire. Encourage employees to leave a review online. You can add a light-hearted competition, a day off or another perk for every milestone of reviews.

Do you know how to respond to negative reviews? Not many people do.

Ask me how.


Donze testimonial


How, can we as customers, leave a constructive review?

Whether good or bad you might still want to talk about it. Unless there was a glaring issue, I usually avoid leaving a poor review. In many cases that is someone’s job or how they’re paying for their daughter’s dance lessons. There’s no reason for me to ruin their dream because it wasn’t the best food I have ever had.

How can we help these businesses out?

  1. Leave a review. Sounds simple but even just sliding the stars to the right without copy is better than nothing at all!
  2. Be specific. Can you include a name of someone who helped you? Did they have ‘good beer’ or did they have ‘the best IPA I’ve ever had! Try the Piggyback Peach when you visit this brewery.’ These keywords help the business’s SEO by pulling up the most relevant keywords. The more matches of closely related search and content pairs up to provide the best result. If someone is looking for the “Best restaurant for girls night out” and you wrote a review saying “Best spot in town for a girls night out” it’s like the internet angels are singing.
  3. It’s a visual world. Include photos and videos of what makes this place unique or what you most like to look at. If you order drinks based on their cool-factor, post a photo with the type of drink you’re enjoying. A beautifully plated meal. A well-lit back patio with live music. The menu. The ambience or the outside of the building. Help patrons get an idea of what to expect and what to look for.

Is your business taking advantage of this branding opportunity? Do you know what your highest performing SEO keywords are? I can help.


ashleylayton testimonial.PNG


Having said that, if you’re still leaving a ‘negative’ review make sure it’s filled with constructive criticism. Businesses then have a chance to respond, apologize or compensate. Pay attention to how they respond.

  1. Did you talk to the business? Things happen. People have off days. If possible, talk to the business before you go public. The service experience doesn’t end once the transaction goes through. If you’ve given them a fair chance to reply and correct the problem then give credit for their attention to fixing the problem.
  2. Keep to the facts. What happened, not what you interpreted. Did you just not like the shade of white she painted your walls or did she do it ‘because she was lazy’? Is she really bad at haircuts or just botched yours because ‘she thought you wouldn’t tip’?
  3. Keep the emotion out of it. If they were providing a personal service such as a lawyer, doctor, masseuse, wedding planner, etc. and acted in a blatantly unprofessional manner then this is important to report. Say what you need to say while realizing slander and libel are very real things.
  4. They’ve lost my business. So? If they lose the $20 you’d spend on the next visit would they really go in the red? If a stranger is reading your review and has no clue who you are is that helpful to them or is it just dramatic? A simple “I won’t be returning” or “I might go back here in the future but only as a last resort” is more helpful for patron’s to decide how they stack up against competition.

 

If you want some help on receiving or publishing reviews, remember a phone call is always free.

 

Cheers!

Marin

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Midwesterners: We Like To Work Hard

I’m a Kansas girl who grew up on a farm in a small town that has yet to get stoplights. Let’s start by getting this out of the way.

No, I’m not in Kansas anymore!

Feel better?

 

People who weren’t from my home state usually said how boring it was but they weren’t able to appreciate barn parties and bonfires every weekend.

They would inevitably say how flat it was but, unfortunately, they didn’t stay long enough to watch the most amazing, colorful sunset sink into a clear, wide open view of the stars.

They think it’s funny when I say pop instead of soda.

Guys…I married a man who doesn’t like ranch.

I don't own the rights to this photo

 

Growing up in a town where my teachers taught my parents before me (and taught my siblings and cousins after me) had every challenge you imagine it would. But it also came with generations of built-in close friends and a community I loved calling home.

Like any high schooler, I was ready to leave home and get away to college but I never had dreams of living in a big city. I always appreciated and loved the simplicity of what was around me. It was familiar, it was humbling and it rooted something in me I could instantly recognize in myself and other Midwesterners no matter where I was.

Many stayed behind to start families, careers or take over their parents business. A few moved out to bigger, larger cities. A handful moved to other states or out of the country.

As one of those kids who (continues) to move around, venturing back home maybe once a year I felt the urge to share something with that high school girl who just started her senior year or that almost-college graduate wondering what the *!?#@% to do with his life. You’ve already been built up with one of the most admired work ethics in the country. You need to acknowledge everything you already are. It revolves around some basic things you probably heard in your household. The values and ethics you were raised on are something to hold close, be proud of and live by every day. Here are just a few…

You Get What You Earn, Not What You Want.

Work Hard. Stay Humble. It’ll Pay Off.

Help Someone Out. You Are No Better Than Them.

 


Big 12 Championship

Big 12 Championship Photo by Flickr. B Willard

You Get What You Earn, Not What You Want.

The biggest part of my childhood was 4-H. Every day, week, month and year was filled with leadership positions, livestock I was accountable for, kids I was a role model for, responsibilities and WORK before play.

While some friends spent summers going to the pool or movies, I was walking my sheep, selling corn or delivering eggs. While kids would come to the fair for the carnival, I was showing my animals, caring for them, working concession stands and representing 4-H at appearances.

I was rewarded with ribbons, trophies and sashes (which were fun and all) but the real prize was the money earned that would put me through school.

I was surrounded by others who would pay for their future education through baseball, football, volleyball or another sport/art. Being surrounded by people who were busy working two or more jobs, practicing constantly and choring daily instilled a work ethic that made you aware you got what you earned, not always what you wanted.

You didn’t get to harvest crops by not tilling, planting, watering or caring for them. You have to put in the work.

You didn’t get to win a state championship or competition by showing up never having practiced and wishing for the best. You lift the weights, you repeat your routine, you put your ego aside to work as a team and you go earn the title. You have to put in the work.

You don’t get the job just because you interviewed. You prepare, you might get it and then you prove yourself every day. You have to put in the work.

There’s a reason people in every industry love to recruit from the Midwest…

 


A man's glove should show what he has done not what he hasn't.

A man’s glove should show what he has done not what he hasn’t. (I do not own the rights to this photo)

Work Hard. Stay Humble. It’ll Pay Off.

This is a blessing and a curse I’ve heard about from many professionals. Because Midwesterners are raised to be humble and their work is usually done outside of the public eye, it’s difficult to ‘brag’ on yourself in a job interview when listing your accomplishments feels too showy.

I had turned down job opportunities in Kansas and Nebraska to follow the love of my life, who of course is totally worth it, around the world in pursuit of his demanding career. I felt like I had worked and won and worked and won…but I was faced with the greatest transition to date when I moved.

I need to throw in a very candid note for the military wives I have reading this…This still proves to be the hardest challenge of our marriage. Watching him get promotions while I struggle to find even a decent-paying job, only to move again is something MILSOs experience daily. It can be hard to get accustomed to a new area, make new friends, leave your family, turn down opportunities, lose control of your schedule and even your identity when you ‘always thought you’d live up to be more.’ I am beyond proud of my husband’s accomplishments but I crave to do something/be someone that he is proud of. I get it.

You will sacrifice most every privilege and ownership you’ve known. You will leave every comfort, place your belongings in the hands of strangers multiple times in your life, go months without speaking to your spouse and it might seem no one will understand.

I do. That’s the #1 reason I started Local Collaborative so I could have something I could control and provide a tele-working opportunity for other spouses and market businesses they own. If we’re not personally connected, please reach out here and connect to the socials below. You’re doing so much better than you think you are!

 

My first big-kid job was 100% commission selling insurance. Absolutely not what I ever set out to do but the drive to make a living and do something was making me stubborn. I immediately recognized the work ethic of those around me and what I was drawn to or what set me apart.

That showed with weekly stats, numbers and accounts and you don’t have to say a thing. People are attracted to doing business with someone who was transparent, ethical, honest. Be the first one in and the last one out. Your drive to figure out how to make something work far exceeded my humility from being told no 200 times a day (literally). Once you’ve learned the value of happiness then you don’t put a prize on things.

I’ve admired my friends who have also moved to new locations and picked up jobs they didn’t think they would have. I admire my friends who were brave enough to start their own venture and those who kept doing what they loved and knew to be right even if others didn’t agree. Just like at the dinner table, eat what you’re given and make the most of it. Be aware enough to walk away if a seat at the table is no longer being offered.

 


blue collar and white collar

Help Someone Out. You Are No Better Than Them.

 

“People here are so rude.” False. I believe that if you’re a good person, doing good things then good things will happen to you. Now is the time to use those church manners, bless their heart!

No matter what is said or done around you, you can never go wrong by being polite. Not because that person was a condescending A-Hole but because YOU are not the type of person to react by being a condescending A-Hole.

Throw a smile out there, be kind to an unkind person, hold a door or pull that shopping cart out of the parking spot even.if.you.didn’t.put.it.there.

A while back I heard a comment that ‘people who settled to be a bartender or waiter were just being lazy’ and ironically they also thought people in our area were rude. Being surrounded by family, friends and a REGION of blue collar workers, they’re willing to do a lot more and a lot harder work than most of us. You never, ever know what someone is going through and I would hope you would treat people as though they’re your own.

They could be a single parent, a student or someone who dreamed of owning their own bar someday so they’re loving your business!

They could be working this as a side job or something until they get back on their feet. TIP WELL!

If you don’t want to be around rude people then don’t be a rude person.

And don’t tell me you’re bored. Only boring people are bored.

 


 

In a small town when you win, you win together. When you lose, you lose together.

The compassion that farmers show to other farmers in times of a drought, fire or other disaster is astounding. That is a way of life, a paycheck and what keeps a family going. When we’ve seen one go down, there are ten more willing to help out.

farm to table

Some of my favorite memories are driving down the main street to see every sign that could possibly be covered filled with Good Luck messages. When our boys competed hard at state and just barely fell short of the win, the town still showed up late that night to cheer for them getting off the bus. When we were putting on a spring show that same team came in right after practice to watch and support us. When you lift others up you will also be lifted up. If that’s something you want then go put it out there.

baseball

One of my favorite things about going back home is the community that continues to stand for the same things we always have. Moving around will always provide you with growth and unique opportunities you wouldn’t get back home but there’s that familiarity you can always return to.

Where you likely spent 20 years of your life. Where you drove down main street with your friends, that road you learned to drive on, that field you snuck into, the playground you had your first kiss at or the swingset you had your first heartbreak at.

 

No matter where you end up, how high you climb or whatever title you receive, take your roots with you and remember where you came from.

Bring what you learned back to your town to help out. Thank someone who built you up and let them celebrate your achievements. Then go back out there and work even harder for what’s important to you. That yellow brick road will always lead you back home.

I know I just had to.

 

 

Cheers!
Marin

I do not own the rights to this photo