Blog: The Spin
Hi, I’m Mitchell Holt, President of Infinite Laundry.
I've dedicated my career to perfecting the process of connecting commercial laundry businesses to customers through analytics-driven marketing, while also passionately advocating customer-centricity by following the simple idea that customers are people, not just data. This creates a beautiful relationship of satisfied consumers and profitable businesses.
Here’s a scenario. A business owner is looking for a new linen and uniform service company to partner with. They jump on Yelp and search “linen and uniform laundry companies near me” and your company name and phone number pop up with great reviews.
This is great. You have a quality inbound lead calling you, but wait… when they try to call the phone number listed in Yelp, it is incorrect, so the call will not connect. Not only are you not getting the lead, but their confidence in your business is gone and they will never contact you again.
The first step to understanding and optimizing your online directory presence and reviews is understanding how your business appears online. Instead of spending countless hours tracking down how your business appears online, you can simply go online to linen.solutions/laundry-scanner, enter in your information, and run a scan. It will find your business across the web’s largest publishers and show you how your business appears online in seconds.
Now that you have a comprehensive review of how your business appears online you can begin taking the necessary steps to fix any directory errors or clean up any negative reviews your company has received. Next, let’s discuss the best way to update and optimize your company’s directory listings.
Having a baseline of how you appear online is a good place to start. If you have any errors you should fix them immediately, so you don’t frustrate customers and leads with incorrect information. Once you correct all of this information, then make sure to check back regularly to make sure nothing has been changed without your knowledge. You may need to correct this information multiple times, since the directories pull information from the public database, which may or may not be accurate. Be sure to stay on top of your directories. Scanning and updating once a month is ideal to ensure your business is always up to date and accurate.
Once you have completed these updates, then it’s time to start building out how your business appears on these directories. The goal is not just to have correct information online, but also to appear in as many searches as possible. A directory listing with every possible field filled out will show in 346% more searches and have 416% more listing views. Don’t just fill out the required fields on each listing. Instead, spend the extra time to fill out every field such as company descriptions, hours of operation, and about us. This extra information will make it so your business stands out from the rest and appears higher in the directory search results.
The second half of online directory optimization is review management. We all know how frustrating it is to go online and search our business only to find out it has a 1.5-star rating. This is not only embarrassing, but it chases away potential customers from your business. Say you were looking for a great restaurant to eat at tonight. One a has a 2-star rating and the other has a 4.5-star rating. Which would you choose to visit?
Reviews are powerful, and their importance is growing as they are key factors in how millennials make purchasing decisions.
When people are happy they don’t normally think about writing positive reviews. However, when someone feels they have been unfairly treated, they immediately go online to write a nasty review. This is unfair. A few unhappy customers will represent your business as a whole. To make matters worse, most online directories will not take down any negative reviews. Online reviews may seem like a lost cause, but there are a few proven tricks to improve your ratings over time.
The first thing you should be doing is monitoring your reviews in real time so you can quickly react to any negative reviews. For example, if someone does not receive their linen on time and leaves a negative review, but you immediately call and correct the issue, they are very likely to turn that negative review into a positive one. People generally leave negative reviews because they want to be heard. Giving them 5 minutes of your time should satisfy their need to be heard and hopefully ensure they change the review. This method does not always work, since sometimes a problem cannot be fixed. Hopefully this does not happen often to your business, but when it does then the best strategy is to bury them in positive reviews. If you receive one negative review, but then solicit five positive reviews from happy customers, then the negative review will no longer be relevant. Thus, driving the negative review down and out of sight. Simply asking or incentivizing your drivers to ask for positive reviews from every happy client on their stops should generate these positive reviews within a few days.
The online directory and review ecosystem is ever changing and a constant battle, but it is a battle you must wage. It is time consuming, frustrating and sometimes unfair, but you must stay on top of this or your business will suffer. Do not let negative reviews and incorrect information define the way the world views your business!