Online Reviews: Beware
I'd like to think that most consumers are wise enough to be able to sift through your online reviews to know which are fake, sincere, or just some pissy customer who didn't want to pay their bill or something. I'll remain optimistic, but I thought it was worth writing a little bit about.
I have some really great clients. They're good at what they do. Good people. Good employees. But once in a while you'll see a review that doesn't fit. So, I ask them about it. I've heard some explanations that just go to show that sometimes you can't please people. At all. Ever. Some people don't like to pay full price for anything. Even if it's the service they asked for. Or they are whiny and mommy and daddy gave them everything, and they're not used to not being treated like princes and princesses. Some people just like to complain no matter what. It's in their nature. And they'll always have a crappy life.
Here are a few examples of why people leave a bad review that's not warranted:
Didn't pay their bill. Now, they're getting calls from the business trying to collect and they feel they're being harassed. Hey... wake up... and pay your bill! Pay for what you received in product or service!
Disgruntled employee. Sometimes you have to let people go. That's business. Not doing your job... you'll probably get asked to go find another place to not do your job. So, then, they'll put a bad review up and usually make up or exaggerate something about the company or owners. Grow up. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. : )
Complainers. You can't satisfy these people. Nobody can. It's not your fault. It's what they do for a living. Too bad for them, it doesn't pay well.
They didn't understand what they were paying for. These people had something in their mind about what they were getting before they purchased a product or service from a business. So, when the job was finished, they say, "No, that's not what we agreed to." But they just weren't listening. They didn't read the estimate. They assumed they were getting something that wasn't agreed upon. The variables are all over the place here, but there was a miscommunication. I would just advise business owners to be very clear in describing what the customer will receive. Put things in writing. Go over it with them and say, "Do you understand?" "Do you approve of this?" Something to that effect. Consumers shouldn't assume things and neither should business owners. Just go over things a second time to make sure. Measure twice, cut once.
Family Members and Friends of the ticked off reviewer. It really sucks when you get a bad review that's not a truthful picture of how the transaction went down. But sometimes, they'll get their family members and friends to post bad reviews on your behalf, basically making up their own bad stories so Google or Facebook "thinks" it's real. Now, instead of one bad review, you get 8 of them within a week. Boo. Again... grow up, people.
A Competitor. Your competitors aren't all about appreciating good competition. They're out for blood. And sometimes they go down the darker paths of spreading false rumors or giving a bad review as if they were a customer. These people have a special place reserved for them in heaven where they don't get to ever have ice cream again or something. I'd say "Hell"... but that's a bit harsh I suppose. But needless to say, I really don't like these people. If you want to increase sales and take a bigger slice of your market, then how about just running a good business that treats their customers well? Try that.
I suppose there are many more reasons, but I'll stop there. You get the picture.
So, how do you fix a bad review? Sometimes, you can inquire with the Goog and FB people about getting a bogus review taken down. But don't bet on it. Hard to prove. Here's what you do. Give your customers the opportunity to give you good reviews. People are more apt to search you out when they're pissed off. The happy customers are satisfied with everything, and the thought of giving you a good review doesn't even cross their mind. So, you have to remind them. You give them an easy way to give you a review. Whether it's an after sale email with a survey on it and a button to click that takes them to a review spot, or just asking them if they'd mind giving you one as soon as the transaction is complete.
Yes, you'll also be asking for some bad feedback... but if it IS warranted... that gives you great information on where you need to improve service. On the flip side, if you're a GOOD business who does good work... then you're going to have about 99% happy customers. Even if just a small portion of those give you a review... those good reviews will far outweigh the bad ones.
And this brings me back to hoping that consumers are smart enough to sift through the good and the bad. If they see a heck of a lot more good reviews, you're going to be just fine, even if there are a few weirdly bad ones mixed in there. Just drown out the bad with good.
But that also takes effort on your part as the business owner who gets a bad review here and there. You need to be proactive in harvesting / asking for reviews. It's the world we live in. And bad reviews and bad word of mouth travels faster than ever now.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Because you want more business? More customers?
You call up some place to advertise then. You say, "I'd like to run some ads." And a lot of times, you have no idea how the whole process works. Maybe you place a few ads in a shopping news publication, or put some coupons in some mailing pack, or in a local magazine, or on the radio, etc. Your choices are overly abundant, which is confusing as hell. Everyone seems to have the answer for you. But they really don't have the answer, do they? They want your money. You want results. They get what they want... but you don't. Happens all the time. Then, whatever place you decided to advertise with, you say, "I doesn't work." But they didn't know how to make it work. They just knew how to place your ad and take your money.
Let's go back to the original business problem you have. You want or need more customers. Maybe sales are down. Maybe you have more competition in the area and it seems to be affecting your number of new leads coming in. Let's break this down about
When you don't have as many customers as you'd like, it means your business is not anchored in enough MINDS of the people that could be your customers. So, then you should ask, "How do I get in more MINDS?"
This is what true branding accomplishes. And branding isn't about buying "awareness" ads that you may have already tried. It's about having "bonding" ads created and put in front of people on the proper advertising medium.
In my experience, radio is one of the best platforms to do this. But how do you create "bonding" ads? How do you get people to bond with your company so they think of you first when they need what you sell?
You get them to like and trust you.
And that's not by telling them that you're dependable, quality, and you have a knowledgeable staff to serve their needs. These are the crappy "awareness ads" that don't work. You have to PROVE those things to people - not cram those cliche words down their throat. You have to tell stories, give PROOF that your product is great or service is superior, play to their emotions, and be sincere as possible. As if you're chatting with your best friend.
These kinds of ads are harder to create. Which is why they work better. Doesn't it make sense that if we put more thought and time and research into your marketing message that it will actually work better? Of course it does!
Don't just buy some advertising. Buy the means to help you reach your goals. WHAT YOU SAY in your ads matters 10x more (or is it 100x more?) than where you decide to put some advertising.
If you decide to advertise in the Sioux Falls or surrounding areas, first, set an annual advertising budget. You have to. This is a process. You'll get far better ROI if you do it consistently with a great message. No more of this "shooting from the hip" and hoping you hit something. When you do it right, you'll love it, and you'll do it forever because of the new customers you consistently attract.
Want more help? Just let me know. I'd be happy to.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Cookie Cutter Websites: Good Idea or Bad?
What's a cookie cutter website? It's when your website looks exactly like thousands and thousands of others out there. It's when someone offers you a super cheap website. It's super cheap because they're not putting much effort into it.
You're usually not getting many web pages. And that hurts your potential to rank well on page 1 of Google (SEO) when people type in the services that you and many other businesses provide.
What other things does a cookie cutter website hurt?
Plus I add unique elements, such as video, audio, custom graphics, etc. It all helps you get more return on your website investment.
Let's discuss your situation. I have options for you. We can customize a plan just for you. Plus, it's affordable. There are a lot of places out there charging a huge chunk of change just to have a website built. And then you're on your own. Plus, there are a lot of places out there overcharging monthly fees for doing just a few things for you each month that takes them nothing to do - and you don't even understand what they're doing because they try to use big words to make it seem important. Then, there are the cookie cutter sites who will have your website built literally in about 30 minutes. That doesn't seem like much of a great deal to me.
Hope to talk to you soon! I love to help good, local businesses get the biggest bang for their online and offline marketing buck.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
Don't settle for an average website. And by average, I mean, one that doesn't do what it's supposed to do.
Example: You used to put an ad in the Yellow Pages. But just because you were in the book, didn't mean that it would automatically work. No. You needed an ad that "sold" people. An ad that motivated people to give you a try before they moved on to your competitor's ad and gave them a try. It's the same with a website. Just because you have one, doesn't mean you automatically get a "slice of the pie".
Your website needs to be easy on the eyes, be easy to navigate, be visible to search engines like Google, and it has to communicate easily how you'll solve a visitor's problem. It has to illustrate competence in your abilities to solve people's problems. Just because you have some flashy graphics doesn't mean people will become your customer. It takes way more than that.
You need to talk to people on your website like you're in front of them face to face. Don't robotically write what you think you should write on your website. Don't fill your website full of cliches and empty promises. Be sincere and helpful. That's what will help your site convert more lookers into customers. Of course, it should be designed well, but don't just stop there. The content on your site needs to persuade people to do business with you. You never want to give them the chance to "back out" and search for a different business' website.
So, it's more than just looks and SEO... you also need to be mindful of what kinds of things that your website viewers will be seeing, reading, and feeling. Because it doesn't matter if you get everyone in the world to go to your website first... if they don't get what they need once they're there.
Which brings us to "analytics". If you're getting viewers to your site... but they're not buying... what's the point? Don't obsess with digital data. You'll drive yourself insane. Just find someone who knows how to put it all together for you and explain it all in simple terms along the way. Like me. I'll be happy to give you your web building options up front with nothing hiding in the fine print.
I just like to help good, small businesses have a great-looking website that gives you ROYWI. Return On Your Website Investment!
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
A Different Perspective on Website Building
This would be stupid and crazy to most website builders:
But that's what I do. That's why the websites I build for small business tend to perform pretty darn well.
We'll call it "Roywi". Return On Your Website Investment. Because if it's not attracting AND converting people into customers, then it's not doing it's job.
Too many times you'll see a "pretty" website that doesn't help convert a looker into a customer. Then, what's the point of it being pretty, right?
I build websites through "marketing eyes". I think about what it's going to take to make an impact with a prospect of yours. And usually, it's all about the words we use and the manner in which we arrange those words. You want a great picture? You can paint a masterpiece with only a few words.
So, let's build you a website that looks great, is easy to navigate for the online lookers, and moves them closer to being one of YOUR customers instead of one of your competitor's.
Let's discuss your situation and I can share some options with you.
I build affordable websites for small businesses.
Local Marketing Cafe
How Much Money Are You Wasting On Your Marketing Efforts?
Of course, there's a saying, "I know half of my advertising works, I just don't know which half." I'd like to help you fix that.
Most of the problem usually, is because there's no solid game plan. There's no strategy behind the money you throw into the wind hoping that new customers will come back in replace of it.
The cause of that "waste" is because you've been taught that WHERE YOU ADVERTISE matters the most. But the cold, hard, truth is... the people who believe that are naive and under-educated in the world of marketing.
Oh, sure... there are better places to advertise than others... but the "degree of better" won't be very large if the ideas you're communicating to the public in your advertising isn't hitting any hot buttons. When you advertise, you have to ask yourself if your "target" is going to give a crap about what you're saying to them.
I'd like to help you do 2 things.
1) Help you create a smart strategy that gives your advertising at least twice the traction it currently has.
2) Help you spend less on advertising and get more back.
The first one has a lot to do with your strengths, weaknesses, your competition's strengths and weaknesses, and why your current happy customers truly do business with you right now. If you don't have a lot of happy customers, you're in trouble.
The second one can be accomplished through a smarter online marketing plan. I'd like to evaluate your online presence. There are so many things you can do to your website, your online listings, and any online advertising you're doing to trim the fat and make everything a heck of a lot more efficient.
In the end, your marketing simply needs to communicate things that will persuade people to buy from you. Or at least move them closer to buying from you. But what most business owners think is "persuading"... is usually "pushing" or saying things in their marketing and advertising that nobody really cares about. A good marketing person will help modify your marketing to help it say the things that people will react positively to.
When all you do is say Who you are, where you are, what you sell, and Buy Now... you're going to be very disappointed. It means you're WASTING A LOT OF MONEY ON YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS. Let's change that. And move the needle.
It's amazing how many places you could waste advertising and marketing money in Sioux Falls. A thousand? Out of all of those people selling all of that marketing stuff, how many of them do you think really know what it takes for advertising to work? Or are they just a salesperson? Do they care about making it work? Or just getting the sale?
There's a strategy that needs to be uncovered before you decide to spend any marketing money. Who are you targeting? (and I don't mean demographics) What is your competition doing? What are your main profit centers? What are your best customers thinking about you?
You don't have to try to "do marketing" all at once. You start somewhere, then learn from it, and grow.
But I have a shortcut for you. Instead of learning all the bad ways to advertise and market your business yourself, why not let me share with you some of the things to avoid? It starts with a conversation. We'll talk about your goals, and how I think you can get there.
Maybe you're just tired of doing all of the marketing stuff by yourself and need someone to take a big load off of your shoulders. Of course, advertising agencies do a lot of that... but they like to handle pretty huge accounts. But I don't. I want the small to medium-sized businesses who can't justify paying big bucks to an ad agency for what you need handled.
I've talked to business owners who went the ad agency route for about a year and then pulled the plug. Why? Because they were expecting it to be just a big green "Go" button to push and all of their marketing woes would be dissolved. After all... the ad agencies are the pros, right? Usually, you're shocked when you see what they charge for creative and handling your marketing. It's not that they're charging too much... it's just that they're better suited for the bigger companies who have over a half-million in their advertising budget.
You don't need that. You need to run a good business and have smart and strategic local marketing.
I've been in the trenches for almost a dozen years now. Meaning, I talk to business owners every day about their business, about their customers, about their troubles, about their frustrations, and about their marketing and advertising. I've been there. I've heard it. I know how difficult running a business can be. I understand.
All you need to do is have one meeting with me. If you want to continue... great. If you feel we're not a good fit... we'll both move on. All I want to do is help good local businesses succeed in a highly competitive business landscape.
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
My wife is fairly new to real estate. But she's already sold a few homes. She's so passionate about it! She sold the last one in about 6 hours. Which brings me to my point. Speed.
She gives a lot of attention to her clients... and she's fast. Well, maybe it's not that she's fast... but that she's a hard worker. She's focused and dedicated.
And that's how I feel I am when it comes to getting you the new WEBSITE you want. Is 6 hours possible? Well, if the stars are aligned, and I can have your attention whenever I called, then maybe. But let's be a little more realistic.
In the past before I did this kind of thing, I referred a few business owners to some website builders / designers. People who I trusted. Well, after following up with the people and asking if their new website was almost done, I never got a good response. They were usually far from a finished product. Nothing ever would get done in a timely manner. Communication was horrible between the web builder and the business owner.
Now, I understand that you're busy if you own and run a business. But I think because I've worked with business owners for over a decade, one-on-one, that I can keep the communication flowing a bit better. I have to let you know what is expected. I have to let you know what I need in order to do my job for you in the most efficient and fruitful manner.
After we meet, and I get the first deluge of basic information from you... I'm confident that I can have a website for you within 48 hours. I don't think you'll need one that fast... but if you did... I'd love the challenge. Stay up 24 hours, sleep 8, back to work for another 18? Yikes. Maybe some naps in there.
Ok, maybe that's not ideal, but my point is that I'm not afraid to get in there and get after it. I grew up on a farm and hard work is imprinted on my soul. And I take pride in my work. It's important that YOU are happy with the website you get. And it's also important that I build a website for you that I'd be happy to have myself.
I think every local business in Sioux Falls needs a website. It's a source for so many new customers to find you. It's a source for those people to LEARN more about what you do and how you help people.
And who does the writing of the content for your website? I do. I don't just ask you for some copy points, so I can cut and paste into your website. No. I'm a writer too. And a marketing guy. So, I have the know-how to write a better selling / converting website. Because what's the sense of having a website and getting people to visit your website... if they don't end up being impressed and buying from you? Rhetorical. There is no sense in that!
I'm one of the very few in Sioux Falls who focuses a major amount of time on the content, words, stories, sales aspect, etc. of your website. The others are just graphic designers whose only concern is "pretty-ness". There's more to building a website than that. Much more.
So, let's get this started. Give me a call. I can be there soon. Have you visited my Website page? Click here. And if you're interested, here's a link to another blog I wrote... Gathering Info for Website Content.
And if you need a real estate agent, I know someone really good. : )
Local Marketing Cafe
Sioux Falls, SD
So you need a new website?
There are basically three different kinds of website building options that most business owners know about.
1) A pro web builder. Cost: Thousands and thousands of dollars upfront... and then some. And when you want to make any changes... that costs more money. Want to change the look and feel of your website in a few years? That's a complete new re-build and huge cost... again.
2) Your neighbor kid. He kind of dabbles in this kind of stuff. He'll start on your website... and it will be half-finished in about 6 months. Hey... he's a kid. He doesn't quite understand that you might kind of NEED this sooner than 18 months. Also in this category is doing it yourself through GoDaddy or some other platform. I think these can be really good...as long as you put the time in to learn all about it and do it right. And then you have to learn about SEO, keywords, webmaster tools (maybe even Google Analytics), etc. Most of the business owners who do it themselves are trying to save a buck. I understand. But the finished product they build usually ends up looking like it's missing some things. A bit too skinny, like it needs to eat a burger or two. Now, back to the saving a buck part. That's why I'm here...
3) I build websites for the small business owner who wants a great website that can attract a lot of new local customers... for a lot less than that pro web builder who specializes in $10,000 websites. You're probably looking at around $700 for me to build you a website. That includes me setting up the SEO and making sure that Google and other search engines can find it.
Another option is to waive the upfront fee and be put on a monthly plan. That monthly plan includes Social Media setup and postings every week, create videos for your YouTube channel at least once a month, add a blog to your site (and write it for you), and maintain your website (add things, make edits, improve upon it consistently, etc.). And when you want to to a major overhaul of your website (different look or style) ... it's all done at no extra charge.
A plan like that will give you peace of mind, knowing that everything is all taken care of. You won't ever have to wonder if you're doing the "online thing" correctly. It's something that I love to do. And I love meeting new people and forming new, positive relationships.
Oh... and one other thing. I do all of the website content writing. Most places that build websites ask you what you'd like to say in your website and then just cut and paste from the email you send them. Yuck. They don't understand that how a website is written is not only important for SEO purposes... but more importantly it needs to convert more visitors to your website into CUSTOMERS. Into SALES. Into $$$. I have a technique for getting the content for your website that nobody else does (not that I know of).
And I've been dealing with local Sioux Falls and surrounding area business owners for over a decade on their marketing. I know that it's tough. I know change is hard. I know that your time is valuable.
Let me know if you'd like to discuss your options for having a brand spankin' new website built!
Thanks! Have a great day!
I've been taught the finer points of persuasion and creativity in regards to marketing. 13+ years of writing, sales, and marketing experience - clashing beautifully together into helping you with advertising & marketing. Extraordinary radio advertising, website, digital advertising, social media set-up, etc. I love helping good, local businesses get noticed and attract more good customers. Contact the Local Marketing Cafe today to discuss a smart plan for your business.