We serve a lot of customers, across the Hudson Valley. And at the end of every project, I always personally train the client on how to use their new website(s), app, social media sites, or otherwise web-based properties.
At some point, we discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO). No matter what phase of growth that the business is at - Startup, SMB, or Large Organization, we always encourage each to use Google My Business to gather qualified reviews from their customers, in order to start off with a great first impression for people that use search as their primary method for finding...anything.
92% of searches (at the time of this writing) are conducted on Google, with the rest conducted at Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, YANDEX...and DuckDuckGo. (The latter of which is actually quite a good search engine, with minimal ads. But, of course, we spend most of our time on Google)
Two years ago, we began gathering Google Reviews by sending out requests to our current clients. Proof positive of practicing what we preach is located on our own Google search results for Rockland Web Design:
Of those many clients that we serve and we have trained and advised, I would estimate that 10% of them actually do what I advise them to do. I'm not upset, butthurt, or angry about it. =) But those are the approximate stats. It is what it is.
One of our more recent clients, Hauser Bros., Inc. in Orangeburg NY, completed their web project in the summer of 2018. Since 1953, Hauser Bros. Inc has been providing the Hudson Valley and Northern New Jersey regions with Plumbing, HVAC, Boilers, Power Piping and Welding services. They are third generation, and from my experiences thus far - are continually building on a history of excellence, service and quality worksmanship. I really like working with them, as does the entire Rockland Web Design team.
In a subsequent marketing strategy meeting, I again conveyed the importance of using Google My Business. The reaction I got was somewhat lukewarm, so upon leaving the meeting I guessed that they would discard my advice.
I was wrong. And boy, was I happy to be wrong in this case.
Within days, the owners and staff of Hauser Bros. jumped immediately began a campaign to gain real Google Business reviews from their existing clients. They devoted a marketing-savvy staff member to the task of reaching out many of their clients, and ask if each would be willing to write a review, and for the staff member to send a suitable hyperlink to the person(s) for easy writing of the review, from either phone or laptop/desktop.
Here's the results they showed me after less than one month from that marketing meeting:
I almost cried tears of joy in the meeting, in front of the boss. Which, by the way - is not something I would recommend you do when you do work for an HVAC company.
Now, mind you - Hauser Bros. devoted a staff member to making this happen in a short period of time. Perhaps you do not have the resources to dedicate a person to handling this. But no matter what level your business is at, I highly recommend you either jump on the phone yourself, get a staff member to do it, or let us help you. These Google Reviews are the first thing that your prospective customer may see, in a highly prominent location.
According to statcounter at the time of this writing, Google dominates for search with a 92.74% market share (at the time of this writing). Assuming your business is found with (minimum) 1/3 Google searches, 1/3 social media/newsletters/blogs, and 1/3 direct referrals, this means you could potentially be losing out on close to 30% of your target customer, if you don't pay close attention to your search engine rankings.
SEO is expensive, either in time, money, or both. It's not rocket science, but it's definitely time consuming and labor-intensive. And I'm not talking about the BS firms that contact you and say "We'll get you to #1 on Google". I'm talking about the real SEO work that takes consistent effort, and a lot of research and planning, along with accuracy in the work performed.
However, using Google My Business is easy, free and not labor or money intensive. You can easily get 10 reviews from your current client base, in a matter of just a few hours. Just this alone will help you gain more customers, who see positive reviews (If you did good work ;-) and are more likely to click through to your website, learn more about you, and ultimately call, use the contact form, or buy something.
Special thanks to Hauser Bros., Inc. for allowing us to post this little case study. We love working with them. They are a fine organization, with great leadership.