Posted by Matthew Loop | 0 Comments
Over the last several years, I’ve been educating small and large companies in regards to the power of customer reviews online. These reviews can either bring fast windfalls of foot-traffic / revenue your way or cause your business to dry-up like a seed.
The problem is, many business owners still do not understand the IMMENSE effect these posts have, especially if a 1 or 2 star review is garnered.
Let’s take a step back for a moment, though. If you have a business and don’t really know what’s being said about you online, then you need to do the following:
1) Google your business name to see your Google+ Local zagat reviews
2) Go to Yelp.com and search for your business name to see if reviews have been posted
3) Visit CitySearch, Angies List, HealthGrades, Judy’s Book, Bing Local, RateMDs, and Insider Pages
4) If you’re in the travel / hospitality business, go to Expedia and TripAdvisor
5) Research if there’s a popular local review site (here in Atlanta we have Kudzu)
Once you’ve done that, you should have a pretty good idea of what customers are saying about your brand. If you’re average is anything LESS than a 4/5 star review, you’re losing money (potentially tens of thousands or more each year).
Let me give you an example:
I had a VIP client last year who was doing fairly well as a chiropractor. Most of his practice was referral-based and he really didn’t invest much time in the internet since he was already doing well over $400k / year.
Well, he applied for my coaching since he wanted to add a new dimension to his marketing and create new possibilities for practice growth.
Once accepted, the first thing I did was go to the above sites I just mentioned to check for negative reviews and his reputation. We actually did this exercise together and he was SHOCKED by what he found.
First of all, he really didn’t have many reviews at all and most sites he had zero.
However, on Yelp and Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), we found that he had a 1 star review on both from the same client. The kicker was the review was two years old AND showed up prominently when you would search “chiropractor (his town).”
Now, this doc was very surprised so I told him to go to a few of his friends and family members and ask them what they thought of a business that has a 1 star review. I wanted him to observe their immediate perception.
Well, when this chiropractor client got back to me, he told me the people he asked associated a low review with bad quality obviously. But, they also threw-out terms like dirty, unprofessional, and unfriendly.
I had actually been to this doctors office so I know (as well as he did), that his office was a great environment. It was very modern with a friendly staff… and clean. The point is, it didn’t matter what he or I knew, it was all about how prospective patients were perceiving his brand online.
Now he started to understand how social proof was heavily working against him on the internet. But wait, there’s more! You’re going to flip-out when you see the dollars this translated to.
Back to the story. So, what we did after was implement an aggressive feedback-generating campaign from his past patients. I gave him my infamous Google review email scripts he could send to his patient list. I also taught him an in-office procedure that would basically turn his patients into disciples for his practice.
Fast-forward a bit… he got 27 Google reviews and 15 Yelp reviews from the email script I gave him. His in-office protocol netted him an extra 22 Google and 7 Yelp for the week.
The bottom line is NOW he had 49 positive 5 star Google reviews and 22 from Yelp, as opposed to the 1 star on each before.
How does that translate into DOLLARS and business growth?
Ever since he became the leader in his community with reviews (while burying the negative one), this doctor now gets an average of 12 new patients per month JUST FROM THE REVIEW SITES. He tracks these calls by separate phone numbers so he knows exactly where they’re coming from, too.
This chiropractor also knows the average life-time value per patient that walks through his door (and you should, too). He told me it’s right around $1,700 with almost $500 of that collected within the first month of care.
Let’s do the math.
Because of what we strategically implemented together, my client is bringing-in 12 MORE new patients per month than what he was doing before. That’s an extra $6,000 per month that gets collected directly because of the overwhelming positive social proof on the review sites.
Should this average hold true for a year, that amounts to an extra $72,000 he’ll add to the bottom line in the short-term. Over the long-haul (based on his lifetime value), the extra 144 patients he gets from the internet in a one year span will yield about $244,800 in new practice revenue!
So, how much did the 1 star review actually cost this chiropractor?
Well, the only way we could really tell was to become the top-dog like what we had done in his local market. As you can clearly see, he was MISSING-OUT on around $6,000 per month just from having this 2 year old negative review that he didn’t even know existed previously.
Why am I discussing this in a blog post?
As a business owner, you MUST know what’s being said about you online. Ignorance in no defense! The effects of a negative review can cripple your marketing efforts, new customer acquisition, and sales more than you could ever imagine.
Be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to reviews. Visit the websites mentioned previously to have a look at what’s being said about your brand. Also, set-up a Google Alert for the name of your business or practice.
It’s all about engineering social proof, public perception, and positive sentiment in your favor. If done correctly, you become the obvious choice in your market.
Need help with your protocols and online marketing systems? See the consulting services tab and success store drop-down menu on this blog.
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