It doesn’t take too many good reviews to persuade a consumer. In fact, most consumers form an opinion about a company after reading fewer than 10 online reviews.
On the small screen of a mobile device, that number could be even lower. With limited space to present search results, a consumer may only see the star ratings and review snippets for the top three businesses that show up in Google’s local 3-pack.
This new reality has important implications for you business. If your locations fail to snag a top-three spot on search, many mobile users won’t even know about them. And, if your competitor shows up first, there goes your market share.
Mobile Search Takes Over
According to HubSpot, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan. Nearly half of all consumers begin their research on mobile devices, with another 26 percent conducting mobile research using a branded app.
Voice search is also gaining traction, with 43 percent saying they talk into their smartphones to conduct searches. Mobile users are busy, distracted and in a hurry to find a location to visit — you have a small window of opportunity to make a good impression in this mobile, on-demand environment.
Here’s How to Rise to the Top
Your locations’ ability to secure a top-three spot in search depends on several ranking factors — and to make matters worse — Google keeps changing its search algorithms. However, with a strong online reputation, your locations will rank higher, increasing their chances of capturing business from mobile search.
Here’s how you can use mobile technologies to your advantage:
1) Be Found on Smartphones
Making your website responsive for the small screen is a must — but that’s not all you should worry about. About 80 percent of business listing searches are completed on map apps such as Google Maps, or search engines like Google and Bing — and most people don’t even make it to your website before making a decision. They rely on information displayed in listings.
To that end, if your out-of-date, mistake-ridden business listing isn’t already filtered out by the search algorithms, it could send your would-be customer on a wild goose chase, resulting in a negative customer experience followed by the inevitable brand beating on review sites and social channels.
So start with your business listings — do an audit, fix any inaccuracies ensure they are as complete as possible.
2) Look Good at First Glance
Today’s smart search engines prominently display ratings review snippets. A large volume of fresh, representative online reviews will help boost ratings, and snippets will appear alongside your listing in results. They’ll also get you higher on the results page — review volume is a key ranking factor, as is the recency, length and quality of your reviews.
How do you get more reviews? Request them. Today’s leading ORM platforms offer innovative ways to capitalize on mobile trends. Today, employees can request reviews and feedback using mobile apps while a customer is still on-site. They can use text messaging to quickly send a quick survey or rating request and follow up to completion. A link routes the customer to a major review site, such as Google.
Our research shows review requests sent via SMS get 15X higher response rates. And, with more fresh reviews on file for your business, Google has more to work with when determining your page ranking.
3) Keep a Pulse on Customer Sentiment
It’s critical that you monitor social media and online reviews for all your locations. Given the vast number of available review sites and social media channels, doing so can be overwhelming without an Online Reputation Management (ORM) platform — one which can pull in and organize feedback from multiple sources onto a single dashboard.
Knowing how customers feel about your business and locations can help you head off potential problems that can lead to negative reviews that will impact your search rankings and ratings. For example, if you catch wind of a recurring problem at one of your locations, you can take action to address the problem, before more customers are affected.
As part of the monitoring process, respond to all comments and reviews. Thank people for positive comments. And when the review or comment is negative, chime into the conversation to let the customer — and your prospects — know you’re doing everything you can to resolve the issue.
A proactive approach to addressing complaints demonstrates your commitment to customer service — and could prevent customers from propagating negative feedback across the social web.
It All Comes Together
A solid ORM strategy must be on-going, integrated and adaptable to meet your unique and changing business needs. Find out more about what an integrated ORM solution can do for your business.