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50 Quick Online Reputation Management Tips | Local Marketing Insider #004

A $1,000 ad will never impress your prospects as much as an overwhelmingly positive 5-star review.

Think differently about how to connect with customers, generate feedback, and make an impact.

Let’s get to it.

  1. Ask every customer for a review. Every… single… one.
  2. Make it easy. Ask via text/SMS.
  3. Stick out your neck. This is no time to be self-conscious. Negative reviews are assured. Positive reviews have to be requested.
  4. Consider the context. If it’s a product review, give them a week to use it. If it’s a haircut, ask them while they’re cashing out.
  5. Define a process. Train employees to consistently capture contact info.
  6. Be patient. It may take as long as 30 days for customers to leave a review. Don’t abuse your list.
  7. Respect repeat customers. We recommend at least 60 days between requests.
  8. Automate, always. Make it as easy as looking up how many reviews came in that day.
  9. Avoid human error. Automate to avoid burnout or distraction.
  10. Create convenience. Use direct links that will land customers in the right place to leave reviews, quickly.
  11. Customize everything. Use personalize messaging in SMS and leverage industry-specific review platforms (if relevant).
  12. Embrace the ancillary. Generating more reviews will also raise star ratings and reduce the percentage of negative feedback.
  13. Don’t overthink. There’s no such thing as an ideal number of reviews. Just focus on getting more and responding to all customers.
  14. Keep it current. Prospects (and Google) want to see recent review activity.
  15. Think short-term. Set monthly goals for getting new reviews.
  16. Think long-term. For new businesses – start with getting to 100 reviews. Then 1000.
  17. Think big picture. Regular review management should be part of an overall customer service strategy.
  18. Stay timely. Review frequency improves local organic search visibility. Start with 20/month.
  19. Control the narrative. Daily attention to customer reviews eliminates highly visible, festering negative feedback for prospects to see and use as proof to look elsewhere.
  20. Encourage happy voices. More happy customers exist. Otherwise, you’d be out of business. Harness their influence.
  21. Be an authority. Ratings/reviews translate to trustworthiness, consumer perception and should be a focus of any online reputation management strategy.
  22. Mind the store. Volume and frequency display a strong customer service focus.
  23. Respond to every review. No response is a response – and never a good look.
  24. Think about the next customer. Your reviews have two audiences, prospects and customers.
  25. Widen your net. Reviews are more important than proximity for local competitive SEO in 2021. (source: Moz)
  26. (S)eize (E)very (O)pportunity. For SEO, volume, frequency, star rating, and response are review metrics that influence ranking.
  27. Hand over the keys. The average local marketer spends 17% of their time managing reviews. Do the math. (source: Brightlocal)
  28. Shoot for the stars. World-class local businesses achieve <10% negative reviews (3-stars or less).
  29. Don’t get filtered out. Google will hide your listing for “best of” searches if your rating is <4.0.
  30. Be speedy. Turn review responses around fast. Set a goal of 24 hours.
  31. Spread the love. Responding to only negative reviews risks elevating their visibility on your reviews page.
  32. Consider it a conversation. Reviews are often a near-real-time feedback tool. Don’t leave them hanging.
  33. Take it offline. When responding to negative reviews, empathize – but don’t accept responsibility publicly. Request further discussion over phone or email.
  34. Look for patterns. While one complaint shouldn’t cause an overreaction, a trend of similar feedback requires a deeper review.
  35. Stay composed. It’s human nature that unhappy customers are more motivated to leave reviews than happy ones. Keep personal reactions out of public view.
  36. Pick your battles. Take a break before responding to a review that hits below the belt, or bounce the situation off a colleague.
  37. Consider the consequences. Review responses are forever.
  38. Turn it around. Every negative review is an opportunity to show the world how seriously your business takes good customer service.
  39. Call in a ringer. Third-party vendors won’t take anything personally and will ensure your responses are always measured and on-brand.
  40. Be gracious. Your customers aren’t obliged to take the time to leave a review. When they do, especially when positive, acknowledge that effort.
  41. Pay it forward. Thoughtful responses to positive feedback are more likely to encourage the voice of other satisfied customers. Positive voices are influential.
  42. Define a brand language. If there are catchphrases or selling points you deliberately work into marketing, put them in responses, too.
  43. Be the brand. Mention your business name and products in review responses whenever possible. But be tasteful.
  44. Use names. When available, always personalize responses with the customer’s first name.
  45. Avoid screen names. Don’t include internet screen names or first initials in responses. If you don’t have their first name, work around it.
  46. Show them you’re listening. If a review includes mention of a specific experience, good or bad, mention it in the response.
  47. Route appropriately. If your business has multiple GMB listings by department (i.e. automotive service vs. sales), have a system to route reviews to the correct page.
  48. Know your platforms. Because Yelp does not allow review solicitation, the scores are usually lower. Facebook calls their reviews “recommendations”. Be aware of fundamental differences between popular hotspots.
  49. Gain the inside track. An active review management strategy is still not adopted by most local businesses. Be the early adopter and leader in your space.
  50. 2021 is a great year to get started.

Phew. That was a long one. But admittedly a lot of fun to write. Thanks for reading. If you’d like to receive these articles directly to your phone in an easy-to-read mobile version, sign up here.


I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus ...