During his Spring Market presentation: Stand Out in the Crowd: How Online Reviews Can Give Your Local SEO a Boost, Ryan Condie, Regional Sales Director for Podium, noted, “If you don't control your brand presence online – someone else will. Unfortunately, the people who are most motivated are the ones who had a bad experience. Your happiest customers don't always voice their opinions online.” To build your reputation, improve local SEO (search engine optimization), attract more customers, and drive purchase decisions, you have to actively solicit and manage customer reviews.
“Today’s customer is more informed than ever before and they’re here to stay,” says Condie. “They have endless access to information such as online reviews and can make decisions about your business before you even engage with them.”
Brian Morgan, Owner of Austin’s Couch Potatoes in Austin, Texas, has first-hand experience with the value of soliciting and managing customer reviews. “We have seen a major boost in our website traffic – this is forcing us to improve our website daily,” says Morgan, a Podium client.
At third-generation family-owned Star Furniture in West Virginia, targeting customer reviews has led to dramatic results in less than a year. “Our online website traffic has increased over 38 percent and in-store traffic is up 8 percent,” says owner Billy Spurlock, also a Podium client. “In the five previous years, we had a total of 15 Google reviews for one location, with an average of 3.8 out of 5 stars. Since February of this year, that same location has 79 reviews and an average of 4.8 stars out of 5. Our goal is 4.9 stars which we will have this year.”