Local Directory Listings like Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local, or Bing Local are the number one way for your local business to get discovered. It is of the utmost importance for your business to have listings on each of the 50 major local directory websites. Regardless of where a customer is searching for you – you need to be there. After your local listings are set up and properly optimized (I’m not talking just a picture and general info), then the next and most important step should be reviews from customers.

Why? Let’s say you’re searching for a foot doctor because you have pain in your toe. If you search online and find a list of 25 podiatrists in your area, how will you decide? If you don’t know of a doctor already, then most likely you’ll ask yourself these questions: a) “Which doctor is closest to where I am?” And b) “Who recommends this doctor?” The podiatrist with the most positive reviews within the area you’re searching in will get the most leads. The same is true for most local businesses in terms of new customers.

So how do you go about getting these reviews? It’s important to utilize as many resources as you possibly can to request reviews from your customers, both online and face-to-face. Here are ways to increase your amount of customer reviews:

1) Email marketing – A short email message never hurt anyone! After a customer either makes a purchase on your online store or leaves your physical office, send them a follow-up email asking for a quick review. Link to a couple of locations to review you – it could be Google+, Yelp, Yahoo, etc. We especially recommend requesting Google+ reviews, because top reviews will show up on the first page of a Google search for your type of business.

(Tip: be careful with Yelp! They have strict spam filters, so too many reviews at once might cause them to delete the majority of your reviews.)

2) On your website – If you’d rather not send out emails, another virtually direct way to invite customers to review you is by creating a separate page on your website dedicated to reviewing your site. It could be a button on the top of your homepage or a link placed in your menu bar. This link could send your customers to a page with links to past reviews, links to review you, and/or even instructions on how to review you online or register to do so. Why not take advantage of free space on your menu bar?

3) Face-to-Face – There’s nothing wrong with asking a happy customer to review you after providing them with a positive experience. A good idea is to create a handout to give to your customers when they leave your office with instructions on how to review you. Another idea is referring them to using the Google Maps app: most people don’t know that anyone can leave reviews from their iPhone or Android app without having a Google+ account! It’s as simple as locating the place on the Google Maps app and scrolling down to where it has the “rate and review” section.

4) Just Ask Boo – What’s better than online reviews or personal recommendations? Combining the two! Just Ask Boo is an online resource for residents of South Florida to give and browse through personal recommendations, household help, classified ads, and almost anything you can think of! Registration takes one minute and is free! If you’re a business owner in South Florida, this website is an excellent resource for recommendations and connections. Get JABbing at JustAskBoo.com!

Need help putting these in place? We’ve got you covered! Set up a time to discuss these ideas with one of our marketing experts and let the reviews and leads start rolling in.