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Google’s paying attention to your reviews. Are you?

By Justin Di Vilio

Do you know what shoppers are saying about your dealership online? You should! Today’s shoppers are taking to the internet to voice their opinions about their experiences with products and businesses, and your dealership is no exception. Harnessing the power of online customer reviews is an important part of your digital marketing strategy that can help you drive your local search rank as well as maintain customer relationships and inform potential customers.

The reviews shoppers leave about your business can greatly impact your local search rank. Google is placing more emphasis than ever on the experience you give your customers when determining where to place your website on the search results page. Having a number of reviews shows Google that you get a lot of customer traffic, and if the results are mainly positive, it shows the search engine that your customers like shopping with you.

So how do you go about getting shoppers to review you online? It’s not too complicated. First, set up a Google My Business profile. This platform sends positive signals to Google that help your search rank, and it can display a wealth of information about your dealership directly in search results when shoppers are looking for a marine dealer near them.

Once you’ve set up an account, let your customers know where they can go to review you. Post signs in high-traffic areas around your store (like by your store entrance, at your point of sale stations and in your waiting area) that tell shoppers where to go to tell you about their experience. You can also share a link on social media to help your followers easily find your review platform of choice and link to it on your website.

When reviews from your customers start rolling in, it’s time to create a strategy for responding to them. It might seem unnecessary to thank customers who leave a positive review for their kind words or to engage with a shopper who left a bad review, but this step can go a long way toward building and maintaining your customer relationships.

For customers who leave positive reviews, responding is easy. Take a moment to say “Thank you” and invite them to come back to your store in the future. This shows potential customers who are reading reviews that you’re paying attention to what your customers have to say and that you truly care about them.

If a customer leaves a negative review (it happens to everyone, no matter how amazing your dealership is), the key is to always be polite and professional. Don’t get tempted into responding with a rude or sarcastic comment. Instead, offer a sincere apology and try to find a solution for the customer’s problem. Take the conversation offline by giving the reviewer a phone number to call to speak to a member of your team in person. This helps prevent the situation from escalating online where other customers and potential customers can see.

After you’ve set your response strategy, you have one more thing to figure out: How are you going to use all of the awesome things your shoppers are saying about you to your advantage?

Consider adding a “Testimonials” page to your website that features the most glowing reviews you receive. Displaying this content on your website can help convince shoppers who are researching your dealership make the decision to shop with you when they’re ready to make a purchase. You can also share your favorite reviews on social media or even print them off and post them in your store!

Reviews are an important factor for your local search rank and your online reputation. Encouraging shoppers to review your dealership, having a strategy for responding to reviews and leveraging review content can help you maintain your customer relationships and reach new customers.

For more information about ARI and the products and services they offer to help dealers manage their digital marketing and online presence, reach out to Justin Di Vilio, business development manager for ARI’s marine division, at 414.973.4460 or by email at Justin.DiVilio@arinet.com.

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