Coudray describes how to strengthen your online marketing and improve your standing in search-engine results.
Second, fill out as many free local directory listings as you can. They aren’t hard to find. Make your profiles standard across all directory listings. Make sure all the information in the listing is accurate, spelled properly, and is consistent from directory to directory. You won’t be the only one in the directory, but you will be the most complete. Make certain you include a valid URL (http://www.yourcompany.com format) link in your directory summary.
Third, begin to ask your customers to put up a review of your performance on Yelp, Angie’s List, or whatever local review sites you can find. Get listed on BBBOnline. This can have a huge impact (positive or negative) on your business.
A word of caution, if you’re worried about what consumers will say about you, it would be a good idea to look carefully at how you do business and what causes your customers to be unhappy with you. If you’re late on delivery, or you don’t keep your promises, fix the problems before they start showing up on the review pages. You have no control over who posts reviews and consumers know they can punish you with a negative review if you don’t treat them right.
You may find there are already some unkind reviews about you out there. It’s not the end of the world. Consumers aren’t that obsessed with finding all positive reviews. They are more concerned with how you handle the situation when things don’t go right. What do you do to make the situation right? Do you have guarantees? How do you stand behind your work? That’s much more important than an angry customer ranting about you.
There’s another very interesting thing that happens when you ask for reviews. Your good customers will stand up for you when someone goes off the deep end. If the negative review is truly an abnormal situation, your supporters will rally on your behalf. I’ve seen it happen over and over.
It isn’t too often that we see market conditions shift away from us, and then return in our favor. That’s exactly what’s happening now. Consumers really do want to put a face with the order. They really do want to do business locally, but they want to do it on their terms and they want to do it with confidence. When you recognize these facts, it’s pretty easy for you to make a few small changes and experience a big advantage back in your direction.
Mark A. Coudray is president of Coudray Graphic Technologies, San Luis Obispo, CA. He has served as a director of (SGIA) and as chairman of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology. Coudray has authored more than 250 papers and articles over the last 20 years, and he received the SGIA’s Swormstedt Award in 1992 and 1994. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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