Four Fantastic Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Have An Online Customer Review Monitoring Strategy

For small business owners, a great, cost effective way to understand how people appreciate your establishment is to monitor customer reviews. These reviews are honest, sometimes brutal, assessments of how people feel about doing business with you and your staff. Whether positive or negative, they give you a great opportunity to learn about what is working and what isn’t inside your business. More importantly, though, they drive perceptions about your locations to potential customers who are just waiting to make a decision on where to shop, eat or benefit from services like the ones you offer.

Benefits of Monitoring Reviews

Let’s elaborate on the different reasons to monitor reviews of your store, restaurant, spa, salon, or professional services business.

  1. Perceptions are impacted

    We hear it all the time. People don’t trust companies, they trust people. More precisely, they trust people like themselves. As a result, more and more people are looking towards online reviews to decide where to shop, eat or be pampered. 92% of consumers read online reviews. 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews. And 80% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. It’s up to you as a small business owner to monitor and respond to these reviews. Providing answers to problems and showing appreciation to those who praise you demonstrates that you’re hands on and interested in feedback. (Check out this great infographic that highlights the above statistics and many, many others.)

  1. SEO benefits

    Search engines value what others have to say about your business. This online feedback provides them with fresh content to crawl, new keywords to index and backlinks that provide your website with credibility you can’t generate elsewhere. The more reviews collected about your business, the greater the chance of being found online. It’s truly that simple.

  1. Look for patterns in sentiment and improve your operations

    When you monitor reviews, it’s important to look for patterns that will help you make business decisions. Are people complaining about your hours? A specific employee? Product availability? Are your customers more likely to complain about your business based on the season? Do they complain about one location more than others? Thinking of these questions alone, you can already see how you can make decisions that will shape how to go about developing an ever-evolving business strategy.

  1. Identify advocates

    There are people out there who really like your business and aren’t shy about sharing specifics with the world. Find these people, say thank you and activate them online! Identifying and activating your best advocates can have a great influence on those who are considering a purchase. Highlight their content on social networks and make it easily shareable for them to amplify on their own social media accounts. And, when you have a positive interaction on-site, don’t be shy to ask for a review. After all, encouraging positive reviews is a great way to sell others you haven’t even met yet.

The bottom line

While small businesses have challenges fitting all marketing imperatives into a budget, review monitoring doesn’t have to break the budget. In fact, solutions like the one offered by 10|20 Marketing make it easy to monitor these reviews, while leaving money left over for your other marketing initiatives. Ask how we can help you stay on top of this valuable market research!

A Real-Life Lesson On How To Avoid Customer Frustration, Confusion And Anger

We just heard a great story from one of our sales agents. He recently hosted a dinner for his family and ordered sushi for everyone. To ensure that his guests had what they wanted to eat, he sent them a link to the restaurant’s menu from their website. His brother sent him his order and our agent called everything in. When the food arrived, they were surprised to see that his brother’s selections were all wrong.

What happened? Our agent’s brother had used a menu from Yelp that turned out to be outdated. The restaurant had made changes to their menu, but wasn’t savvy enough to make sure it was consistently published across review sites and search engines.

This example shows just how important it is to be consistent beyond your website. While one customer went to the website for the menu, the other looked right past it and found the menu elsewhere. And it was unfortunately wrong, which creates deep customer frustration, confusion and anger.

As a business owner, you may understand this from a theoretical point of view, but when it counts, you may just update your business information, including your menu, at the one place online that matters most to you, your website. Why? Because that’s what you’ve invested in.

We suggest, however, that you invest more in thinking like your customers. Where are they online? What are their habits? Why make them click over to your website when search engines, review sites, or a social network can give them the information they need faster and more efficiently? If you’re not thinking like your customers do, that’s where the opportunities for frustration, confusion and anger arise.

If you’re looking to invest budget into solving these problems, because you only have so much time to go around, ensuring that your business is found where people are searching is a great place to start. Make changes to your menu? No problem. Through automated processes like ours, we’re able to get those changes applied at the push of a button and published online just as quickly.

In the case of this sushi restaurant, having the right menu in the right place at the right time will save the owner from having an unhappy client to deal with, a busy team scrambling to make things right and the very real possibility of a bad online review, which can create lasting damage.

There’s nothing worse than surprising your customers with the wrong things. Consider our solution as your insurance against that. Look into our services for restaurants to learn more.

BNI Networking Elevator Pitch

I really enjoyed meeting everyone at today’s BNI Networking breakfast in the West Island. For those who are looking for more information about 10|20 Marketing, we invite you to read some of the articles on our blog or our launch post on LinkedIn. Our new, complete website will be live in the next few weeks. If you’d like a notification when it launches, please sign up for our mailing list, our form is located along the sidebar on the right.
Our elevator pitch, which resonated with some of you this morning, is below.
Thank you for all the interest. Looking forward to connecting with you further!

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Five steps to intercepting shoppers looking to buy in store

Our Toronto-based sales agent made some interesting points about the average retailer’s state of mind in today’s market. His points were frightening, enlightening, validating and motivating all at the same time. Here’s why.
Our agent, Stuart, speaks with small retailers all over Ontario every day and, invariably, the discussion turns to the challenges that these traditional retailers face. This includes concerns about online retailers, discounters and off-price daily deals. And they’re right to be concerned. Because, as a brick and mortar retailer, there are things you just can’t control.

However, when it comes to selling to people in an increasingly digital world, what you can control is how you use digital approaches to intercept shoppers. If you start with the premise that a segment of the population will only buy online, your responsibility is to look for buyers who will visit your store to make a purchase. Your focus should be on those who will only shop in retail stores or use search engines and online reviews to make a purchase decision.

After all, why worry about the others when they are not your target? The fact is, 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores vs. online stores and 50% of local searches lead to a store visit within a day.

So there are people looking to spend money offline. They are looking for advice on where to go. Your role, in this case, is to intercept their search and prevent your competitors from converting this online search to store visits.
But how? Here are five steps to intercepting these consumers:

  1. Claim your listings so that you control the details search engines and review sights present about your business. Take control of what prospective clients see about you and your physical location.
  2. Research what the most “winnable” keywords are for your business and associate them to your listing. Make sure that these keywords are specific enough to separate you from the pack, but general enough to cast the widest net.
  3. Optimize for local search by tagging your listing with the proper geo-modifiers and ensuring that people searching for your product in specific areas can easily find you.
  4. Monitor your online reviews to respond to any detractors and highlight your promoters.
  5. Capture new customers’ emails and communicate with them on a regular basis so that you’re fresh in their minds and able to reward them for being loyal.

The low hanging fruit in the retail environment is not in trying to convert consumer behaviour away from the online world, it’s using the online ecosystem to your advantage. Get found by those who are searching for what you offer, direct them to your location and give them a great shopping experience. That is what will keep them coming back again and again.

Spas & Salons: Clients need to find you before you can help them find their style

If you own a spa or salon, you know that your clients have options. It’s up to them to decide on which looks, styles, and treatments – and any combination of the three – they want when they visit your business. Catering to their desires and helping them find their look is the best way for you to keep them coming back again and again.

However, if you want to help them find their look, the first thing you need to do is help them find you. Because when it comes to search, they also have many options. There are different search engines and review sites for them to discover your business and your price list. And, if they don’t discover yours, they’ll find your competitor down the street.

So it’s important to put your business details – think address, phone number, business hours, a detailed description and your price list – on the top sites and apps that people turn to when deciding on which salon or spa to visit. This includes big players like Google, Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare, as well as more regional and beauty-specific sites and apps.

Consider these statistics:

  • Google “near me” searches have increased by two times over the past year.
  • 49% of local searches occur without a specific business in mind
  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a location within five miles.
  • 87% of smartphone owners make a search engine inquiry at least once a day
  • 97% of smartphone users use a search engine on their mobile device at least once per week

Working with 10|20 Marketing, we’ll help you place your price list on these key sites and apps and give you one place to update your price list, specials, photos and announcements. And by placing your price list online as text, you’ll benefit from every item on it becoming a viable keyword that will help people discover your business. The more ways people can find you, the better.

With our help, we can ensure that your location is consistently presented, error-free and that reviews are aggregated and monitored, so your spa or salon can enjoy improved findability and better overall search results across a number of engines. Moving, adding photos or making a change to your business description? Easy too. Just send along the changes and the process to apply them across the web with the same consistency as your original information is as simple and efficient. You’ll never have to worry about making these changes yourself.

Not everyone is looking for your website. But they are looking for the service you provide. Our solution is an easy and cost-favourable way to market your business and get found. And if you’re already marketing your business online in some way, it works beautifully in conjunctions with those digital and social media marketing as well.

Getting found is foundational, though. And having people walk through your door, though, is always the number one priority.

LinkedIn Pulse: Why It’s Easy For Every Small Business In Canada To Become Found Online

This has been a great week for 10|20! We’ve officially announced to our networks that we’ve launched. Our post on LinkedIn Pulse, titled, “Why It’s Easy For Every Small Business In Canada To Become Found Online” has generated almost 700 views in just 36 hours and countless messages of congratulations.

We’ve reposted the article here for you, but would encourage you to share, comment and like over on LinkedIn. And if you’d like to connect with us there, feel free reach out as well.

Jamie on LinkedIn | Mark on LinkedIn

Why It’s Easy For Every Small Business In Canada To Become Found Online

There are a number of tactics you can apply to become found online. As a small business owner, you can invest in a website, social media marketing, digital advertising, take a myriad of SEO approaches, attempt content marketing, online press releases, video production, and the list goes on.

The common issue for small business owners who attempt any of these approaches is that they each take a real investment of time and money to enjoy sustained success. And if you’re a dry cleaner, pizza shop owner, or run a small import/export company, marketing isn’t what you do best. No, you’re the best at removing stains, making the tastiest pizzas, or dealing with getting containers of goods over from China to Canada.

What you all have in common, though, is that you need people to call your business, find your location or visit your website. In fact, your business depends on it.

Consider these statistics:

  • 97% of smartphone users use a search engine on their mobile device at least once per week
  • 87% of smartphone owners make a search engine inquiry at least once a day
  • 86% of people view a menu online before dining out
  • 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores vs. online stores
  • 50% of local searches lead to a store visit within a day
  • 49% of local searches occur without a specific business in mind

Modern consumers start their shopping experience on search engines and review sites. The results they get from these networks determine where they spend their money, with reviews on each location’s listing helping them determine if a business is the right fit for them. As a result, if a business doesn’t appear in these local search results, the consumer will simply spend their money elsewhere.

So if you’re a small business owner in Canada, what’s your first priority for marketing your business? How do you maximize the return on your marketing investment? And how do you ensure that you can increase traffic through your doors or get your phone to ring?

That’s where our business comes in. With 10|20 Marketing involved, the process to ensure that your local businesses turns up on these critical networks is easy, time saving and automated. We will ensure that your location is consistently presented and error-free, that menus are online and easily updated, and reviews aggregated and monitored, so your business can enjoy improved findability and better overall search results across a number of engines.

The best part? This is an easy and cost-favourable way to market your business and get found. And it works beautifully with other marketing tactics that you may be considering or already doing. Getting found and having people walk through your door, though, is always the number one priority. And we can help you achieve that without breaking the bank.

To learn more about how 10|20 Marketing can help your business take the first step to being found online, just ask us and we’ll be happy to explain.

Introducing 10|20 Marketing

Hello! Welcome to 10|20 Marketing. As you can see, we’re blogging. We love to write and publish content designed to help small businesses across Canada (and elsewhere!) learn how to become more effective with local SEO, location marketing and getting found online. We hope you come to love our blog, but also want you to know that a full website is being planned too. So while we will continue to write new posts for you to enjoy, comment on and share, we’re also building and writing the rest of this website for launch soon.

In the meanwhile, here are some highlights of what we can do for retailers, restaurants and professionals:

  • Claim all your location listings on key search engines, review sites and mapping technologies, ensuring that they are consistent from one network to another.
  • Take your menu and put it on the most important sites and apps across the web so that new customers are able to find your restaurant or price-list based business (spa, salons, pet grooming, gyms, etc…) quickly and easily.
  • Monitor customer reviews and access them all through one single point of contact.
  • Measure your customer ratings across networks.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, please reach out and connect. You can simply complete the form in the right-hand margin of our site, or email us directly:

  • Jamie@10-twenty.com
  • Mark@10-twenty.com

We also encourage you to read through our posts to date. Click through from here:

We look forward to helping you market your small business and hope to hear from you soon.

Are you paralyzed by having too many digital choices?

There are so many choices to consider when developing a digital presence. Small business owners throughout Canada are trying to figure it all out, trying to determine how to best leverage the digital ecosystem to capitalize on the extraordinary numbers of people that digital can drive to a business.

With so many options to choose from, we’ve actually seen business owners paralyzed by how overwhelming it all is. After all, the options available to promote a business are just one variable, other considerations include the type of business being promoted, the type of customer being sought, the radius the business is looking to draw from, the assigned budget, and the time devoted to executing a digital marketing plan.

While these seem like excuses for not doing anything, they’re not. They are legitimate reasons for being confused, hesitant or downright wary. And with so many decisions to make, the small business owner ends up making none. Decisions get put off for another day. After all, small business owners are often not marketers. They’re concerned with making the best pizza, or providing the best customer service, or building the best product.

That’s why we propose taking baby steps. Start small and build around your initial successes. The easiest of most cost effective first step? Ensuring that how you appear online is consistent across search engines, review sites and mapping technologies. Claim your listings, take control of your message and manage the information that is critical to driving people to your door or to pick up the phone and call you.

But with so little time and savvy, what’s the best way to get going?

Allow the experts at 10|20 Marketing to walk you through the process, take it off your hands and get you online and findable quickly, effectively and easily. Allow us to claim your location, manage your listings and publish your menu (or price list), at a monthly cost of a single sale or one day’s worth of an employee’s salary. By managing your location’s listings across the web, you’ll benefit from the information being accurate, consistent and easily updatable.

And once we have enough data streaming in, we’ll be able to tell you how many views your properly managed listings are generating. When the time comes, we can help you use this data to add the next piece into your digital mix.

So don’t be paralyzed by choice. Start small with a managed plan, become found online and promote your small business to a specific target in a specific area to increase your sales and profits.

The importance of being optimized for “Near Me” searches

So, what is a “near me” search? For the small business owner, it’s probably one of the fastest growing search techniques and, some would argue, the most important. A “near me” search basically consists of a web user, most often on their phone, searching for combinations of ideas that are “near me.” Think coffee shop near me. Or shoe stores near me. Pizza places near me. You get the idea. Using location services on the consumer’s phone, search engines are able to deliver results based on a searcher’s physical location in proximity to your brick and mortar location. The closer you are to the person looking for you, the more likely you are to turn up in their specific search results.

While the “near me” search technique is a relatively new way of searching, a Google case study from 2015 found that “near me” search had doubled since the prior year and 80% of those where on mobile devices. For a trend that didn’t really take off until 2013, we’re talking full out explosion of the “near me” search technique in 2015.
We dug up some statistics that show just how important it is to be optimized for local search. In the summer of 2015, Google surveyed mobile phone users about their mobile shopping and search habits. The results speak for themselves.

  • 91% said they turn to their phones for ideas when trying to figure something out
  • 90% said they are usually not certain about which brands they want to buy from
  • 87% of Millennials say they have their smartphone at their side, day and night.
  • 82% use their phones to check for potential in-store purchases
  • 71% of smartphone users say they’ve used a store locator to find a specific store location
  • 61% percent of smartphone users say they’re more likely to purchase an item from a business that takes the time to customize location information.
  • 51% said they discovered a new company or product through a mobile search

So, as a small business owner, what should you do?

  • Make sure the information about your business is consistent and error-free across search engines, review sites and mapping technologies so you are found when a consumer looks for something “near me”.
  • Ask for reviews from happy customers on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other must-have networks. Reviews are important to solicit, and positive reviews do even more to ensure that you’re indexed favourably.
  • Use the data from each platform to customize marketing campaigns and content development to ensure that people find you, click on options to call your location, ask for directions to your business or visit your website.

The evidence is all there, consumers are more and more phone-intensive. Brand loyalty to a retailer is up for grabs and if you can be there for them when they need what you have, your proximity to them and the value you offer are the key ingredients to driving them through your door. The bottom line? Be sure they can find you.

How much does your location matter today?

In this age of the Internet and the world getting smaller and smaller, there is a school of thought out there that contends that your business location does not have the same importance as it used to. That the old adage of the three things that matter most for any business – location, location, location – is no longer relevant. No longer valid.
It’s interesting then how some retailers are finding out very quickly that having a physical presence is kind of critical to selling your products. How else do you explain Amazon testing new brick and mortar concepts, Warby Parker famously launching as an online eyewear discounter then opening flagship stores in major cities?

Could it be that there are different types of consumers out there? Some who want the tactile experience of shopping in a mall or trying on a product, while a different subset prefer the ease and convenience of shopping from their sofas in the comfort of their own homes?

Well, the truth is, whether you are a bricks and mortar retailer or strictly an e-commerce business, you will sell more if you can be found online. Today’s consumers start the shopping experience on their computers or, even more frequently, on their mobile devices. Consider the following: 97% of smartphone users use a search engine on their mobile device at least once per week; 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores vs. online; and 50% of local searches lead to a store visit within a day. So all roads do lead to your brick and mortar location.

As a result, the best and most cost effective advertising approaches that a small retailer can employ are to:

  • Ensure that your location can be found on all of the search engines and maps that people are using when looking for small local businesses;
  • Optimize your keywords to ensure that they stay relevant by monitoring and tweaking them over time and;
  • Use the data from your keyword performance to direct marketing budget to search engine marketing, or pay-per-click advertising.

This is where we can help. Allow 10-20 Marketing to help claim your listings, post your menu or price list, monitor your comments online, monitor your keywords and geomodifiers, and recommend your best course of action.
In today’s day and age, your location is still critical. But it is your location on the search engines and maps that will ultimately help determine the longevity of your business. Allow us to put you on the map.