THE POWER OF ONLINE REVIEWS

Did you know that 88% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, AND 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision? Talk about a staggering number! In today’s social world, people are 10 times more inclined to voice their opinions than they were in previous years. As a business, we’ve been thankful that marketing has transformed from a one-way street to a two-way street of communication. We’re able to connect sooner, resolve issues quicker and take actionable steps to improve your business at an increased speed. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. But at the end of the day, all feedback is valuable.

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If you haven’t been paying attention to your reviews, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow. Here’s the scoop on why reviews are incredibly powerful, and how you should capitalize on them.

It provides authenticity and trust.

The natural instinct of a business owner is to delete a bad review that comes in. It’s hard not to take it personally, and you’d rather not have negative opinions surrounding your business. But you know that saying, “it’s too good to be true?” Keep that in mind. Like humans, not every business is 100% perfect. Things happen, we learn, and we move on. Having a few bad reviews shows you’re vulnerability and ability to grow from your mistakes. When receiving a bad review, we recommend responding within 24 hours. You can’t go wrong with accepting responsibility and being genuine.

You can make quick, actionable moves.

Decades ago, the most businesses could do for feedback was send out mail surveys, engage in telemarketing or air a television commercial. The problem is, most people never want to take that time and effort to to provide feedback. And by the time it was received, it might’ve been too little too late. Now, it’s instant. You can connect with your customers in a way you never have before. Gaining quick feedback is invaluable when it comes to making quick, effective business moves. Who doesn’t love staying ahead of the curve? 

It improves your SEO.

Did you know having great ratings (and lots of them) can actually improve your SEO? Most people don’t know that Google actually rewards you for having good reviews. It will recognize you as a credible and trusted source, and will improve your rankings over time. Add a review page on your website for some bonus points!

It increases revenue.

When you get down to it, the ultimate goal for any business in any industry is to increase revenue. Because nearly everyone is relying on reviews to make purchasing decisions, it’s absolutely crucial to have them. Gain the great reviews, and the revenue will follow.

How have reviews influenced your purchase decisions? 

6 SMALL BUSINESS APPS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT

Being a small business owner requires wearing a lot of hats. Whether it’s finance, communication or time management, it never hurts to have a helpful tool along the way. And these apps will do just that! Here are our favorite app discoveries for running your small business:

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  1. Quickbooks. Once you download this app, you’ll never go back. Quickbooks is your go-to for seamless financing, from simplifying business taxes to profit and loss reports. It can also be used to help pay your employees, and it’s accessible on every device. It’s also intuitive, which is great a small business owner (one less tedious thing to do)!
     
  2. Wrike. This tool is fantastic for communication, project management and operations. You can customize it to your company, and it’s easy to track tasks you’ve created, tasks assigned to you, and documents and files within a project. The only downside is the lack of a chat box tool; for this we recommend Slack!
     
  3. Rescuetime. Time management is huge in a small business, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to overlook how much time you’re spending on each task, and then wondering at the end of the day why you might not feel accomplished. This app tracks how much time you’re spending on each task, providing a detailed report based on your daily activity. And bonus; it’s free! Well the lite version is; upgrade to premium to add features like alerts, blocking of irrelevant time consuming websites and reports with more filters. Need something like this for your personal finances and non-work related activities? Try Mint, works just the same!
     
  4. Square Register. This app has been around for awhile, and continues to be one of the most popular apps for taking payment. It’s perfect for small businesses like pop up shops, independent hair stylists, etc. It’s a small square that gets plugged into your headphone port, and it swipes the customer’s card. Easy as that! It’s perfect for on the go business.
     
  5. Asana. Another great tool for project management, Asana is able to track and view all tasks and follow the progress on the Asana board. You can upload files, share notes and communicate while avoiding the back and forth of email. Great thing is it also integrates with our well known favorites, Google Drive, Dropbox and Slack. It’s free for up to 15 team members so if you’re starting out small, this is your best bet!
     
  6. Expensify. Business trips require a hefty expense, and Expensify helps simplify the process. By linking your debit or credit card to your Expensify account, the app will place charges directly on the Expensify account, or you can take a picture of the receipt and it will relay the information. And it’s at a low cost of $5 per month per team member.

What are some of your favorite small business apps you’ve discovered? Share with me!

THE DO'S AND DONT'S OF REBRANDING

In the marketing world, everything is always changing. We often find ourselves trying to keep up, and do everything we can to allow our business to grow with our customers. And in some cases, rebranding might be the road you go down. Most feel it’s a daunting task, but don’t be scared! As always there will be growing pains, but we like to think of it as an adventure. To get you feeling more confident, excited and motivated, we’ve come up with the ultimate list of do’s and dont’s for your re-branding strategy. 

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DO’S:

Do plan a roadmap (research). With a big project like this, it’s easy to get impatient, and take action before you think. It’s important to do a deep dive into industry trends, the wants and needs of your customers. What are you trying to achieve with this re-branding? Once you’ve got that down, plan a road map. Set timelines, deadlines and short milestones. Take baby steps!

Do be authentic, and be unique. It’s no secret that consumers love vulnerability. So be you! Show your personality by creating unforgettable taglines, outstanding logos, and emphasizing your new identity without being overbearing.

Do focus on more than your aesthetic. That being said, there’s so much more to re-branding than it’s logos and taglines. It’s about creating a compelling message, and finding ways to make that message resonate with your consumers. Make people feel something, and the visuals will follow.

Do value the customer feedback. Remember, it’s easier (and cheaper) to retain customers than to get new ones! Chances are, you’re re-branding because there was something the customer needs that you weren’t giving them. Take the reviews, comments, analytics, etc. and use them to your advantage.

Do manage your customer expectations. Brand relationships with consumers are all based on trust. So if you roll out something completely different in a quick and unexpected way, they’ll be taken aback. Give a little fair warning if you can, whether that’s through field reps, PR, etc. Make sure you explain why you’re doing this, as everyone always looks for an explanation for change.

DONT’S:

Don’t use your competition as your rebranding focus. You know how that saying goes … “If your friend jumped off a bridge would you do it too”? Just because everybody is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. You want to do it for the right reasons.

Don’t wait to think about the rollout last. Often times with a big change like this, it’s easy to overlook the small details. Remember that roadmap we were talking about? Include your rollout plan with it, including all social media campaigns, brand collateral, etc.

Don’t hold on to the old. If you’re going to make a big move like this, you’ve gotta go all in. This should be a complete change, not a slow transition. Everything has to be consistent. 

Don’t forget about trademarks and copyright. Again, one of those little things that’s often overlooked, but is incredibly important! Make sure you’ve got the logistics covered, or you’ll receive some unwanted backlash.

Don’t forget about your employees. One of the worst things you can do as a business owner is neglect the opinions and thoughts of your employees. So get your team together! After all, two heads are better than one right? And once the re-branding is in full swing, everyone will have a clear path and understanding to drive the business forward.

Do you have any tips for re-branding? Share with me, I'd love to chat with you!