How Franchise Companies Can Increase Online Reviews for Their Brand
Sponsored content by Thrive Internet Marketing Agency.
From generating a buzz about your local business to gaining the trust of your target market, good reviews can take your franchise reputation management efforts to the next level. They can also be great at generating conversion and revenue when handled the right way.
In other words, online reviews can be the driving force your corporate office or franchise location needs to reach its growth goals. Here are some powerful ways customer feedback impacts your franchise company:
- Attract customers and build trust: Eighty-six percent of consumers read online reviews of local businesses. Most also say they trust these reviews as much as they do peer recommendations.
- Bolster online visibility: Search engine optimization (SEO) experts believe ratings and reviews are among Google's top search ranking factors. Therefore, strong review signals can amplify your online presence and elevate your franchise local SEO position. That's because businesses with more reviews usually appear higher in search results.
- Convert browsers into buyers: Online reviews play a tactical role in your franchise digital marketing strategy. Get this: Consumers are 68 percent more likely to patronize a local business if it has positive reviews. So if you consistently generate good reviews, you can boost your conversion and even revenue.
- Distinguish your brand in a crowded local market: Franchise reviews highlighting the best things about your product or service allow you to stand out in the eyes of prospects.
- Enhance your brand value: Positive reviews on your website and online review platforms affect people's perception of your brand, increasing their demand for it and your offerings.
How To Increase Online Reviews for Franchises
Now that you’re aware of the importance of online reviews for your business, it’s time to learn how to generate more for your growth. Here are proven ways to increase your franchise reviews:
Claim Your Listings and Reviews
Of the hundreds of online review platforms out there, you should choose the most appropriate ones for your brand and industry. You can start your selection with local directories, such as Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB), Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local and Yelp. Social media, online yellow pages and business review sites are other examples of spaces to check out.
You have to claim your listings on these digital properties because some users may already have created them for you in the process of writing reviews about your business. This step involves setting up your profile, making it official and correcting any misinformation on each platform. It also includes managing your franchise reviews from hereon.
Ask for Feedback
It doesn't get more direct than that. It may feel awkward at first, but rest assured that a review request can be done in a professional manner and targeted to the right people.
For example, you can ask for customers to leave feedback at your franchise location, through an email campaign or by having them scan a QR code on your flyer or business card. And only make the request when they already have used your product or service. In most cases, you can bring up the matter when the customers are at their peak happiness point – when the client or customer is at their happiest – like after they've eaten a satisfying meal and experienced excellent customer service in your restaurant.
Now, what should be the content of your review request? The answer is: It depends on who is talking and who you're talking to. For instance, you want to use different tones and styles with first-time and longtime customers. The corporate office can also create various templates to be adopted or adjusted by franchisees according to their geographic requirements.
Request at the Right Time
When it comes to asking for feedback, your timing should be perfect.
We’ve mentioned sending your request when your customers are at their happiest. But that will only work if you know your customers have used your product and service and are so glad about it.
What if you don't know that? Then look for other metrics or triggers. Try asking for a review after they've made a referral or a repeat order. Or after they've followed or tagged your brand or specific franchise location on social media.
Respond to Reviews
Whether positive or negative, responding to a review signals to your customers that you care and value their feelings and opinions. This practice is even more critical if you're dealing with a bad review. Consider the following:
- More than half (53 percent) of customers expect a response to negative feedback within a week; and
- Forty-five percent are more likely to visit a business that responds to bad reviews.
Further, replying to unfavorable reviews clarifies to potential customers that you’re serious about dealing with unhappy customers. So make sure to do right by your customers even if you’re being attacked with harsh comments. Start by responding within 24 hours if possible, personalizing your response, apologizing and addressing the issue at hand.
Taking the Next Step
Online reviews are a crucial element of a cohesive franchise reputation management strategy. So it is essential that you prioritize them as you expand your business. However, the key to keeping them coming is to ensure you’re doing everything we’ve outlined above. And it all entails time and commitment.
Review generation, monitoring and response can be challenging, with or without negative reviews entering the picture. You want a team that is capable of handling these delicate tasks. If you want to get it right, your best bet is to partner with a professional service provider with significant experience in franchise reputation management.
Not only is your reputation at risk; your goals are also on the line. So take the next step with someone who understands how to harness this driving force – and leverage online reviews for the growth of your franchise.