Online Reputation Checklist: How Multi-Location Businesses Can Drive More Leads

Pat Johnson

Local businesses are only as successful as their online reputations. 

It’s no secret that the standard buying process for local businesses everywhere no longer starts at the front door – it starts online. In fact, over 46% of all searches online have “local intent”, meaning potential buyers are searching for businesses like yours. And of those 75% of them end up visiting one of the businesses that they see in their search within 24 hours. 

Are you confident that potential leads find your business online today? And if they do, will they like what they see enough to learn more, visit your location, and convert? 

Use the following checklist to make sure your locations are all putting their best foot forward online. 

Optimize your Business Listings

It’s tempting to think that the your first step should be gathering more reviews, but you should first make sure that all of your locations’ listings are accurate, up-to-date, and include relevant information that a customer would want to know about your business. The goal is to make customers feel empowered with the information they need to make your business the obvious choice to get in contact with.

This can be challenging with a high volume of locations with listings to manage, because things are constantly changing (both internally and on Google’s side). Your business hours, FAQ’s, photos, and more are all small but meaningful examples of putting your best foot forward and making your business easy to learn about and contact – which search engines reward by ranking complete listings higher.

An effective Business Listings solution should give you the ability to add and edit listing information for one or several of your locations, and automatically audit the information on each of your listings to flag any potentially incorrect information. 

Want more reviews? Ask for them!

Think of reviews as the fuel that drives your business listings – one without the other won’t take you very far. Once you have your listings optimized, it’s time to start piling up those reviews.

This may sound elementary, but many businesses fail to devote attention to requesting reviews from their customers. They often assume that a sales rep asking them to do so is enough to have them do it, but study after study shows that very few customers will submit a review without being solicited for it (and the ones that do are proportionally more negative).

Think of your happy customers as a silent majority – they’ve all had wonderful experiences with you, but often aren’t going to take time out of their day to leave a review on your key listing sites. However, research shows that 77% of people are willing to leave a customer review when asked (Forbes).

That’s why it’s crucial to have a system and process in place that makes leaving a review simple and fast, no matter how many locations your business has.

Don’t Fear Negative Reviews

No business wants to get a negative review, but they’re an inevitable part of doing business today. However, they aren’t all bad: negative reviews reflect authenticity in your brand – nobody is perfect 100% of the time. 

They can also be a great opportunity for your business to show that you care when your service doesn’t meet consumer expectations. By responding to negative reviews and showing the steps you’re taking to remedy the situation, you accomplish two things: 

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