reviews
Local Search

Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing Tactics

When we discuss local SEO, most conversations revolve around online marketing strategies and recommendations – fix title tags, include keywords, claim g+ locations, citations, link signals, and reviews. This obviously makes sense since these are the ranking factors that drive local SEO visibility. However, in most cases we fail to incorporate the offline marketing component to the overall strategy.

82 percent of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit (comscore/TMP), which means we also need to incorporate the offline visit as part of our integrated marketing strategy.

Reviews are ranked as one of the top five most important ranking factors for local SEO coupled with the fact that 88 percent of users are influenced by a customer review when making a buying decision. However, reviews are also one of the toughest to acquire according to BrightLocal with only 12 percent users recommending a local business on G+ and 8 percent on an online directorySo it’s definitely a tough nut to crack and that’s where the offline piece kicks in.

Integrated Marketing Local Review Examples

In this post I’m going to use FedEx as example of how one can integrate cross-functional marketing initiatives. I recently visited FedEx in Mountain View, California. At the end of my visit I was handed a customer feedback flyer with a QR code:

fedex flyer 637x242 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing TacticsImage Credit: AdLift Internal Research

Scanning the QR code will take you to their internal feedback system where you rate your experience. At the end of the review you’ll receive 10-25 percent off your next order. This was awesome except for one little detail – nobody gets to see the review!

Adding a link to Google+ Local page or a QR code to other local review sites (Yelp, Yahoo, YP) would help catapult the reviews and content that each business center would generate.  It’s important to incorporate this strategy promptly and swiftly since reviews solicited at the time of service can see completion rates of 80-90 percent, according to Ted Paff, CEO of CustomerLobby.

It’s also worth noting that Google+ only shows the reviews and stars that are generated on G+ business pages. The reviews on other local sites do not count towards the stars and number of reviews.

google local 637x218 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing TacticsScreenshot taken 02/04/2014 of https://plus.google.com/local‎ & Google.com

As of the moment, you can’t write a G+ review on a business page using your mobile device but this is bound to change soon. So if you are including a link to your G+ local business page, make sure have the QR code pointing to other review sites (Yelp, Yahoo, etc).

You could use this opportunity to drive social signals – G+ authority, Tweets, and likes.  Again, using the FedEx customer feedback initiative as an example. After filling out the feedback form, the customer might have wanted to tweet the fact that apart from the great service they got an additional 15 percent off.

fedex survey 637x1114 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing TacticsPhoto Credit: AdLift Internal Research

Lastly, businesses need to make it extremely easy for their customer to review them! Here are a couple of tips to help make it easier for customer to review your business:

1. Link directly to your business review page.  Whether you link from your website or you add a link on your offline marketing material (QR code), I’d recommend linking to write a review page – https://www.yelp.com/writeareview/biz/P1XZeSdImfB6Pqqt4JHhcQ vs. the main business page – http://www.yelp.com/biz/los-compadres-taco-truck-san-francisco-2

yelp reviews 637x253 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing TacticsScreenshot taken 02/04/2014 of Yelp.com

2. Include easy instructions – this is something you could include at the back of your comment card or in store marketing material.

ask a review yelp 637x343 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing TacticsScreenshot taken 02/04/2014 of Yelp.com

3. Customers directed towards a positive review have a higher probability of leaving a positive review.
Customize receipts – Be creative. Your transaction receipts can be customized to drive review. Adding a link or a QR code to every receipt can help drive the number of reviews.

custom receipts QR code  Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing TacticsPhoto Credit: AdLift Internal Research

Overall, there’s huge opportunity in working towards boosting your local presence by integrating your online efforts with offline initiatives. This is something that can be scaled across multiple verticals – restaurants, local services, or home services. With tax season around the corner I’d love to see tax service companies like H&R Block and  Liberty use this opportunity to drive reviews and visibility specially for clients that they’ve helped get a refund!

Disclosure: I do not have any relationship with the websites linked to from this post.

 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing Tactics

Prashant Puri

CEO & Co-Founder at AdLift
Prashant Puri is the Co-Founder at AdLift.com – a niche SEO agency based in Palo Alto, CA. AdLift specialized in ROI driven SEO for both small/medium and fortune 500 companies. Previously, Prashant ran display advertising at Yahoo and search marketing at Shopping.com (eBay). You can follow him on twitter @puriprashant
 Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing Tactics

Comments are closed.

20 thoughts on “Increasing Local Reviews: Integrating Offline Marketing Tactics

  1. Prashant great post Google places in particular is often overlooked – in your experience how long do reviews in the Google plus business page take to populate the serps, some of the sites I manage have yet to show reviews in the serps but they are visible on the review section of Google plus. Also in your experience how does a Google places listing move up the ranks it appears to work on a 1st come 1st served basis with some of the sites I have on Google places they have more content and more reviews and the site mentioned lists higher in organic search – the only difference is the competitors had there listing up first :/

    1. Thanks Dean. Review ratings can take anywhere between 4-20 weeks to show up on Google SERPs. In my view the time period required is dependent on other factor such as – authority, inbound links, views, searches. Newer Google places listings would take longer to refresh than older ones.
      Regarding competitor rankings – have you had a chance of looking at their citations, link profile ?

      Cheers!

      1. @Prashant I didnt realise Google local pages had a link profile lol – by this do.you mean put the local pages listing.url into majestic seo? Not sure about citations do you mean how often there brand is mentioned online? Very little.compared to our own.example.if thats the case – thanks for your reply

  2. Even if I do agree with all the concepts and the ideas you have presented of linking the offline with the online review I don’t consider QR codes being the best idea. It doesn’t seam to me that people enjoy them or use them that much. None the less a very good article with lots of useful ideas for business to bust their online review and rating.

    1. With the advent of mobile apps, QR code usage has decreased – I would agree ! However, when we’re talking about integrating offline & online marketing technologies – this is probably a good way to start. Thanks for your insight !

  3. Hey Prashant,

    thanks for those great suggestions and ideas about offline review incentivation! I do, however, have some objections about your tip for FedEx. Incentivizing reviewers to leave comments on G+, Yelp and the likes with a 15% discount might count as a violation of their terms of services. So I’d be rather careful with that.

    Greetings from Berlin!

    Alexander

    1. Hey Alexander – Great call out ! Yes, incentivising reviewers to review on yelp, g+ is against policy. However, in the example above Fedex is incentivising reviewer on their own internal survey which isn’t in violation. Having said that, if marketers do decide to provide 10 or 20% off for providing reviews on yelp, g+ – it should be done after the review and not prior – more like a “thank you” for your time. This is similar to advertisers giving freebies on Facebook to drive engagement – however, if they were to provide freebies in exchange for a like or comment – its against FB policy. Thanks for your insight !

      1. Interesting topic. We often implement a direct mail follow up strategy for our clients, where we ask kindly ask for review. We clearly state, it doesn’t matter if its good or bad review. Obviously the only ones we send it out to, are the ones that had a positive experience with the clients services. Would you classify this as against the TOS?

  4. Great post I totally agree with your points. review makes the site ratings and show up in Google Local Search result. Thanks for nice information sharing with us!

  5. Very interesting read, thanks for sharing! Reviews are such an important part of the consumer buying process nowadays so these tips on marketing offline is great. Just one bad review could turn away 30 potential customers! That is a scary statistic. Although it may be important to receive reviews, make sure you don’t resort to writing your own or buying reviews, One New York Company was fined $300,00 for fake reviews! (http://www.chatmeter.com/top-10-ways-to-get-and-profit-from-customer-reviews/)

  6. Local SEO is the wave of the future and it is happening now. I stress to my clients that they must get more reviews and encourage customers to rate them online in order to improve their local reach.

    I know where I will be sending the reluctant clients, to this article!

    Thanks for the backup!

  7. Thanks for the article. Was a nice read. I agree with you that most effective way to get a client to leave a review is by asking him personally. Would be great to install a PC or laptop in the office specifically for that purpose, people to go into the website and leave reviews… and after that to be allowed to get out :)). Unfortunately, for many people their login and password is a mystery

  8. For local search, reviews are definitely a heavily influencing factor. High mobile serps, means that visitors are just a click away from calling, visiting a website, or getting directions to a business address. Qr codes and any other channels like apps will facilitate (and elevate when used well) cross-marketing campaigns….Developers are quickly catching up. Thanks for the insight.