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Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts Kim Beer and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:41
Hey there business animals. It’s Kim with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 0:45
and Cara with Fast Horse Photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:47
Welcome to The Business Animal. I’m going to apologize right off the bat that I sound a little funky. I was out partying too hard over this last weekend at Art of the Cowgirl I was a little bit too much in the dust in Arizona, I believe all my COVID tests are negative thus far. So I’m gonna just attribute it to staying up too late and having too much fun with our participants at that event. So shout out to Art of the Cowgirl. We’re gonna work on getting those gals on this podcast at some point in the future. But Cara was there and our friend Phyllis and we had some great participants that joined us. So please excuse I sound a little bit froggy today.
Cara Taylor Swift 1:25
Well, and we’re coming down off of our travel wild, crazy weekend high as well. So here we are back in the studio back in the offices back to the show.
Kimberly Beer 1:34
back to the show. And we have a wonderful show for you this week. So back in season one, we did a episode around social proof. And it, it has turned out to be the one of the more popular episodes that we’ve done and for a good reason. And it’s even spawned several classes that I’m teaching for, for SCORE and Square One around it. And so it’s a very popular topic. And I know it’s something that you guys are interested in. And we did some deep diving in season two, around testimonials. So here we are in season three. And we’re going to take another little deep dive today into getting reviews. So reviews are an extremely important part of your social proof. They are different from testimonials. So let’s kind of solidify that right from the beginning. It’s kind of still a testimonial. But these are testimonials you can gather from your customers, and you can approach them and you can record them and you can kind of edit them and rewrite them and those kinds of things. And you can publish them in different places. Reviews, on the other hand are those star ratings, and then the comments that come with the star ratings that the consumer has to enter themselves into various platforms. So we’re going to talk about those things in today’s show. And to give you some pointers on how you can get more and better reviews that convert for your business. Cara, you want to run us through the big three?
Cara Taylor Swift 3:00
Yes. So I always love when we talk about this topic, because I feel like this is one of those things that small business owners can do that isn’t extremely challenging. But for the amount of time and energy you put into it, you reap some huge rewards on the back end. So I love that we’re talking about reviews today and that we are revisiting those episodes five and Episode 28, that you mentioned before, that those folks that listen to the show have really gotten a lot out of so we’re talking about reviews today, big three, number one is make a home in the places you want to get reviews. So we’re going to talk about that more deeply. But basically put a little effort into thinking about where your client or consumers that are interested in your product or service are going to be going to look at reviews, where they’re most likely going to be looking at reviews number two make asking for reviews, part of the customer experience. So we’ve talked a lot about customer experience on here, creating customer experience, that sort of thing. So the next big step in that is making sure that you’re doing the process of asking for reviews as part of that experience. And then the last of the big three is actually use your reviews. So be strategic about how you’re using them.
Kimberly Beer 3:00
Exactly, exactly. Because if you don’t use them, you’re only getting a small amount of the mileage out of your reviews that you could be getting out of them. So number one is make a home for your reviews, right? So Google is the obvious one that you should should look at because Google reviews are some of the most popular or it’s probably the most popular place for people to see reviews about your business. But in order to get reviews on Google, you as the business owner have to take a couple of steps. And you have to set up what is called a Google My Business Profile. And you’re going to go to the website and I’m going to just type it in here real quick google.com forward slash business and that website. If you if you have not claimed your listing, you’re going to be able to claim your listing here. Now you’re going to need a couple of things you’re going to need have a Google login in order to be able to do that, if you have a Gmail address that automatically gives you that Google login, and then you’re going to click on the Manage now part of or get started part depending on if you have a listing or don’t have a listing, it’s a really obvious train, Google has made it very easy how to get your listing up, and then how to manage it. So start with that if you have not taken this step in the past, you’re going to have to go through a registration or claiming process depending on if if somebody else has put your business into a search engine at some point, and it’s showing up, then you can come in and claim that listing. So you’re going to do that, first, you’re going to have to answer some questions about your business. And I’m going to hit on a couple of ones that I know people generally have and resistances around to this one is let’s say I’m a mobile dog groomer. And I don’t want people having my home address, because that’s where my business is based out of don’t worry about that, you are going to have to give an address to Google because they may ask to send you a postcard to verify you are legitimately that business which we want to thank them for, because that keeps people from spamming this process and makes it really legitimate, which is a big favor from them to us. But you don’t have to put your address in for public consumption, you can say I work with my clients at their location. So you can put in a region or a area that you do your mobile dog grooming in, and then people will be able to find you if they Google within that area. So just know that you don’t have to give out your location publicly. Now it’s going to have spaces in there for business hours. Some of us don’t have necessarily set business hours, don’t let that be a resistance for you. You can go ahead and set up these listings to fill out the blanks that work for your business and leave blank the ones that do not. So just go ahead and do it. That’s all I can say. Just do it.
Cara Taylor Swift 7:03
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Yeah, and take those extra steps to add in. You know, if you’ve got a logo for your business, put your logo in there, add images, make sure your website informations, correct your contact information, put a description in there about the product and services you provide all of that stuff is going to help your potential consumers find you a lot faster.
Kimberly Beer 8:24
Absolutely. And the thing that it does that we’re talking about today is it opens up the ability for you to get a review on Google
Cara Taylor Swift 8:33
and to be notified
Kimberly Beer 8:34
and to be notified when you have a review and to be able to respond to them. Right, which are all equally important, right? Because another thing, another resistance I see people have is what if I get a bad review, that’s okay, bad reviews are going to happen. If you can’t make everybody happy. Not everybody is your customer. And there are going to be times when people do leave bad reviews. But this gives you a platform to respond to those bad reviews. And honestly, it’s your response that matters more to the consumer than the bad review. If you’re on it and you’re able to respond to it, then you can rectify that situation. Even if it’s not your fault, or even if it is your fault, you can get that cleaned up. If you don’t have this set up, and you haven’t claimed your listing, and people are leaving bad reviews and you can’t respond to them, then you’re really boxed into a corner. So this is a good business decision all of the way around. But once you get verified so Google again is going to verify it. Sometimes they do it through a phone call. Sometimes they do it through a postcard but once you’re verified, then you’ll be able to get a link that you can give to your customers to be able to leave a review, whether that be STARS or STARS and a comment on your Google My Business listing. So it’s a smart decision all of the way around for you to claim this listing. And I’m going to say the website one more time google.com forward slash business will get you to the page that you need to get to, to claim or start your listing.
Cara Taylor Swift 10:03
And Kim, you, you know, you’ve spoken a lot about Google. And we do know through our research that Google is the number one site for reviews right now. But the truth is, is there are so many places that your potential clients, you know, are going to be going to potentially to look for businesses like yours, but also that your existing clients might be tempted to leave a review about your business at. So when I was doing some research for the show that the top places that come up are Google, your website, you can have reviews left on your website, Bing, Yahoo, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp and Facebook, actually. So those are some of the top places that you might want to consider just looking at as potential places to collect reviews, I personally have chosen to focus only on a couple of those places, I wanted to have control over the places where I felt like people who are looking for the type of animal based business that I provide, would be going out and actively seeking information. So you know, as a business owner, you really have to be the one to decide where you want to collect reviews. So you’re kind of taking some control over where you’re directing people, and then you want to lead your clients there. So we know that reviews are going to help generate more leads for your business. So think about it from that perspective is where are your clients, potential clients going to be going to look for a business like yours, and then where can you easily lead your existing clients to in order to leave a review. So think about that a little bit, just like some of those places, there’s even niche sites out there. So if you have a niche business that is really geared towards your industry, you want to make sure that even though it’s not one of those top sites, but if it’s a site that someone’s looking for your type of business might go search that you’re making sure that you’re using that as one of your potential platforms an example in the equine industry that I found was gohorse.com. I don’t know really a whole lot about the site. So I’m not giving them an endorsement. But what I am saying is that if you go to that site, you’ll see that they have lots of different equine type industries and services. And there are a lot of reviews on that page. So that’s a great example of like a niche site. If you are in the restaurant industry, or you’re in a you’re a contractor or something, those are some places that you probably more commonly hear of niche sites. But those are things that you want to be aware of in your industry. So if you’re a farrier, and there’s a you know, some kind of nationwide farrier database so that clients can go in and leave reviews on then that might be a site that you want to be sending your clients to as well to leave reviews. The biggest thing though, is you want to understand how each of those rating systems work, because each one’s going to be a little different. Some might have four stars, some might have five stars, some might have a numbering system, some might have the ability to leave some kind of commentary written, most of them will have some kind of written review option. And you want to make sure that you know how those works so that you can guide your clients correctly as well. And then you also want to be able to go there and look at those the reviews that may potentially be there already about your business. Do you have a you know, do you have one of those platforms that doesn’t have any reviews on it at all? Do you have a platform that maybe has a couple reviews, and they’re not that great, so you want to be sure that you’re driving clients there to get your number rating up, definitely think about that. You might also have like, for me, I have a lot of reviews on Facebook, like tons of reviews on Facebook, but I’ve only got maybe seven or eight on Google. So what I decided to do for a time was stop sending my existing clients to Facebook, and I started instead directing them directly to Google and really spending all of my energy and focus on getting my clients to that space. So I had it looking really good, a lot faster.
Kimberly Beer 13:35
That was really smart Cara, that’s very smart. Because when we ask our clients to give a review, it’s best to just give them one link, they’re much more likely to follow a link, then a hodgepodge of links, one place is usually a much better option to send them to the more choices that you eliminate. And the one choice that you really want them to do is the one you highlight, the more likely you are to actually get them to follow through with the review process. I also want to mention one other place that you want to consider reviews. And they’re actually not called reviews. They’re called recommendations. And that’s on LinkedIn. So for some of you and your business are so tied together that you are you are the business and the business is you. And in that case, LinkedIn is actually a really good place for you to collect recommendations. And that’s the process. It’s called in LinkedIn. And you can actively request recommendations inside your LinkedIn profile. We may do an episode on LinkedIn in the near future because LinkedIn is a really interesting platform in social and business building, but don’t leave it behind in this equation, because it’s a place that people do go to feel good and build that trust factor in your business and let’s face it, that’s what these reviews are all about. It’s about that consumer that comes to your business however they find it whether it be on Facebook or Google or LinkedIn or Wherever even through the niche sites, and they recognize that your business has good ratings, good reviews and a good response time, even if there’s a negative review, and that builds their trust factor in coming back into your business, and the social proof that your business is legitimate, that you are keeping up with your brand, and you’re worth their time and attention and money to work with you.
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Cara Taylor Swift 15:58
I think we’re ready to move on to make asking for reviews, part of the customer experience, this was a game changer for me and my business, Kim, when I got the courage to finally say, Okay, I’m going to start asking for this, I saw my reviews go from four or five reviews to 60, 70, 80 reviews. So this makes a big difference. And your clients are happy to do this for you, they are happy to do it for you, if they had a good experience, oftentimes, what it comes down to is they’re busy, and it’s not in the forefront of their mind. If you ask them and make it easy for them by sending them a quick link. A lot of times they’ll do it just like that for you. And a lot of times they’ll say, oh, I have so meant to do this for you, or I’m so glad you reminded me I would love to do this for you. So I think that’s the biggest thing is if you have any worry about asking or any concern about asking, like just start practicing it a little bit. And I think it you’ll get past it real fast when you see how happy your clients are to do it for you.
Kimberly Beer 16:55
Absolutely. And a couple of ways that you can can facilitate this process a little easier is one, write it into an email, follow up emails are really important, you know, me and my email marketing bandwagon, this is another place that email becomes really important in not just being a communication tool, but being a sales tool. So every time a customer makes a purchase, or works with you pre write that review email, drop the link of the place that you most want that review to land, and make sure it’s set up hopefully on an automation so that it takes it off of your decision platter. So you know, all you have to do is say the sale is complete, and then the review automatically goes out, it makes a huge difference. Because then you don’t feel like you’re asking for a review, the system does it for you. So let that system support you. If you have a business where it’s not always easy to facilitate like getting an email from people or let’s say you have a tack store or you have a doggie bakery, we’ve had a lovely guest who had a doggy bakery on here, then maybe you want to hand out review cards, where maybe you just don’t always have that opportunity to get that email. So you can print up business cards, business cards are dirt cheap, they’re they’re not expensive, you can grab them from Vistaprint, you can grab them from 100 different sources, I actually recommend you use your local printer. To be honest, your local printer is probably really interested in the work and they’ll do it for roughly the same price and maybe even design them for you. But put the review link on put a QR code on there a QR code, people can scan with her phone or get a short link for your Google reviews or your Facebook review page. Whatever it is, and maybe a cute little saying or a photo or something to go along with it that makes people want to pick it up and hand it out or hole, punch it and tie it to every product you have. It’s really really important to ask for that and and make it not like you’re begging for reviews. But you know, help us get the people that are your consumers to get on board with helping you in your business. People want to be helpful, particularly if they’ve had a good experience with your brand. They want to spread the word and reviews are one of the best ways they can do that. And I think just simply saying reviews help us build our business so we can be more here for you and expand our business. So very good ways to do that.
Cara Taylor Swift 19:24
If You’re out and you’re out in the field and you’re working, there is no reason why you also couldn’t end your client experience by pulling up that link and letting them do it right there at the end of your experience too have them scan that QR code. I mean, can we just came from Arizona and we were signing people up for our mailing list right there on site for the VIP list. And it’s a very easy process to set up that link and have people go there at the end of their experience with you. I mean think about it. Now I can’t go into we have kangaroo gas stations here. I don’t know if you guys have those in other parts of the world but we go into the kangaroo gas and never heard you haven’t. It’s like a it’s like a gett n go if you’re from Missouri, I guess. So you go in, though, and you get your items from the cashier. And there’s a screen right there that says, how was your experience and you have like a one through five star rating, and you just click it with your finger and walk out. And there, it’s very easy to get reviews that way. So try to make that part of your process. If you have a card that folks can scan with their phone right there, you’re done, you know, shoeing a horse, and you feel like you had a good experience with them and just show them the QR code, let them give you a quick rating, that would be something you could do right on site, collecting it, you know, just right there on site. So you don’t have to rely on them to do it later. And like I said, you’ve got good rapport with these people, there’s no reason why most of them won’t just hop on and do it for you real quick. So just something to think about. I also include asking for reviews, as part of my loyalty program that I have with Fast Horse Photography, it’s one of the options that people can choose to help support Fast Horse Photography, it’s listed on there as an option for them. And it’s just another way to remind them that that’s something that I’m always looking for.
Kimberly Beer 21:01
Absolutely. And when you’re you know, the you were talking about the conversation, let’s say you’re a farrier, and you’re at a barn and you just finished shoeing a horse. And that customer goes to raving about how wonderful you did and how good the horse’s feet look. And and maybe you corrected a little bit of a problem, at that point in time is the point to say, you know, the, one of the best ways that you could help me is to be able to offer what you just said in a review. And when we check out, I’m going to have this really, really awesome place, or I’m going to send you an email, or here’s a card, if you could do that, for me, that will really help me be able to reach other people and help other horses. So it really, like I said, really pull up on that this is helping me in my business. And people will always want to dig in and do that the final piece of this equation, and our number three here is to use those reviews. So I’m sitting here and I’m thinking about a client of mine who has some great email nurture series is so the clients business is based around a service, and bout 60% of the time they convert the service during a kind of pre call sort of thing that they have with their client. But then there’s 40% of the time that that service is not converted there for one reason or another. So it’s a pretty expensive service. So what you know, people say, well, I need to talk to my spouse, or I need to check on my bank account, or I need to look at other options, or whatever the case may be. So I wrote a series of emails that go out to those 40% of the people who didn’t convert right at the beginning. And the goal is to convert them into becoming clients. And the way that we use the Google reviews for that is they have some great Google reviews for this business. I mean, awesome Google reviews, and we take the Google review and screenshot it and put it at the bottom of the email so that when those nurture emails go out, the email has the content that helps sell. And then right at the bottom of the email, there’s the Google review that has a glowing review for the company, it is hugely beneficial to the person who’s considering and maybe they’ve been a little on the fence, or they’re like, Wow, this is a little expensive, I’m not sure I want to invest that that then they’re seeing the social proof of other people investing. And they’re seeing those five star reviews. And they’re seeing that they were provided on Google, which is somewhere where you can’t choose the reviews on Google easily at least to be able to get one. So it really does work. And there we’re seeing a year into this project that it really is it’s moving the bottom line where those 40% of people would not have converted before they’re now converting. And I do believe the reviews are a big chunk of the reason why people are converting because when they have the service call, they get the experience, they get the understanding, but they need the social proof and something to shore up their opinion that this is something that they want to do. So it’s really important that you use those reviews. And that’s just one way what way do you use your reviews, Cara,
Cara Taylor Swift 24:06
I use them all over the place. So I use them on my website, on my social media, I use them if I’m submitting a bid for something reviews go in the bid. I use them on my marketing materials that I print. So anything that’s like going to be printed usually has a review on it. I’ve used them in email marketing, I’ve used them on my art site. I mean, I use them I put them to work. And I still think there’s other ways that I could be putting my reviews to work. But I’m a big believer that you do all this work to collect them. Right. And they’re they can’t just sit out there. They’re just sitting out there. So put them to work. And I think that the more people that see them, the better it is for your business, just like you said with your campaign. So put them to work and I’d love to hear how other people are using them too because I have a feeling there’s just an endless number of ways that people are using their reviews.
Kimberly Beer 24:53
Absolutely. And one thing I want to mention before we kind of close this episode up, there’s another way that I get reviews. So I find myself giving a lot back to because I’m a consultant and it is my time, I will sometimes give my time to someone I know that maybe can’t afford to pay my full hourly fee for consulting. And I will, I will just simply donate my time. And I have learned over the years that working for free is not good. And we’ve we’ve had an episode around to that. But here’s what I do. I asked him for a review, if the information they got is good, I don’t want pressure. If it’s not, then they don’t need to leave a review. But the cost of me being able to offer that consulting information is is a Google review. And that works out really, really well. Those reviews have been a big deal in me building up my reviews. So if you’re brand new to business, and you just have a few customers that are paying customers, and you have some maybe that you’re working for free for reviews are a great payment system. So let me just plant that little bug in your ear.
Cara Taylor Swift 26:00
What do you think? Is that the end? Do you think we’ve reached a good point at the end of this topic that maybe we’ve motivated some people out there, Kim to spend some time being strategic about navigating through the review process?
Kimberly Beer 26:11
Absolutely. And you knew what I would love, I’m going to I’m going to practice our own medicine here. And I’m going to ask if you got something out of this episode, or you got something out of any of the episodes of The Business Animal, help us build this network for the industry of animal based businesses that are out there. And I mean, share, leave us a review, leave us a review on particularly on Apple, podcasting is a great place to leave a review, let us know what you’re thinking. And let us know what more you would like to know about this and other topics so that we can really serve this community because that’s why Cara and I are in this, we want to make a difference in your business. It’s a big value. I think for both of us. I know for me it is. And those reviews count towards that because they help us be able to fulfill our mission of reaching more animal based businesses and hopefully giving people some good solid business advice that they can use to uplevel what they’re doing.
Cara Taylor Swift 27:08
That’s right. And I’m going to be honest with you I have been known to highlight when we get reviews from other animal based business owners out there just throwing them out there and giving everybody just a thank you public Thank you. So something to consider as well as I like to reward and say thank you for folks that go out there and take the time to leave reviews both for fat stores, but also for The Business Animal. So we would really love your reviews, please consider letting us know what you think
Kimberly Beer 27:35
we’ll give the love back by publishing it out into the world and hopefully getting you some more traffic. That’s again, that’s our goal is to help raise everybody up in this process. Thank you guys all for tuning in. Today. We’re always here to be able to answer we’re on Facebook and on Instagram and of course on anywhere where you listen to podcasts.
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