Online reviews are no longer simply something that trendy millennials look at before going out on the town.
Online reviews are everywhere – from Angie’s List to Yelp and beyond.
They have literally transformed how individuals and organizations evaluate goods and services providers – your MSP business, included.
Recently, I received an email from one of our clients.
It received a negative review on Glassdoor.com from a past, disgruntled employee.
It got me wondering: Do all MSPs take stock of their online reviews and take a close look at what the public is saying about them?
More to the point, what about you?
Have you considered this?
The reason you may not be getting an abundance of new business is because no one’s sharing their positive experiences about you.
People will make decisions whether to work with your managed services business based on your online reviews.
I recently became a “Local Guide” on Google Business and Google Maps.
I’m not sure about all the benefits of doing this, however.
When I visit a business, I can leave a rating and review, and even upload photos that will appear on their Google Business page.
I taught MSPs in marketing sessions around the world that companies will often check out your website before contacting you.
However, now, they also check out your reviews.
And get this: While negative reviews are certainly bad, so is a paucity of reviews.
A strategy for generating online reviews
If you don’t have a strategy, now’s the time to make one.
Why? Because your future leads are checking you out on Glassdoor, Google Business, Yelp and even Reddit.com.
(I’m not a fan of Reddit because it allows people to hide behind an identity and spew their poison anonymously. That said, some speak highly about their experiences on the site.)
Gary Vaynerchuk, one of my “self-appointed advisors,” has a great video about fake reviews. Guess what? They happen.
But you can’t let this slow you down.
You need to be on the ball and avoid getting negative reviews whenever possible.
Here’s how to begin building some highly effective positive reviews about your business.
- Start with your current clients and customers. You must deliver an awesome service to them. No one is going to leave a positive review about your business without this. I’m sure almost all of you have great clients and customers. To get a good review from them, just nudge them in the right direction.
- Build a site that makes it easy for them to leave high-quality reviews, and steers them in the right direction if they’re not having a positive experience. Tim Richter, owner of RCOR, a Raleigh Managed IT Services Provider built an “experience” page for his clients to leave reviews. Currently, it only works with Google Business (which is super important in terms of SEO). When people leave positive reviews, it automatically generates a Five-Star Review. Check it out here.
- Pick some of your best clients and ask them to leave reviews first. Be careful to only select a few (two-three per week). Ensure the ratings look natural. Now, here’s the important if not controversial part: You – yes, you – should write their review for them. Why? Because you’ll want to inject some specific SEO keywords and phrases into the review. Remember, these reviews are indexed by search engines.
- Send the review over to your client, and have them check it out via your “experience page.” Make sure you tell them why it’s written as it is. (See Tim Richter’s example above.)
After this is complete, have a couple of more clients leave their own reviews. Again, they must look natural.
- Continue this process forever. Never stop.
In my opinion, Google is the most important review site.
Focus on it first but don’t forget about Yelp and even Facebook.
Facebook reviews are showing up in Google business pages for all sorts of companies.
Glassdoor is another review site I would focus on, especially if you’re looking to hire the best talent.
Job candidates are now turning to Glassdoor to research a company before they agree to any interview.
Pro Tip: Ask your current employees (start with the loyal ones) to leave reviews about their experience working with you.
I would even reach out to past employees who left on good terms.
When you get positive reviews from your services like Facebook, Google or others, use them in your marketing materials.
The opportunities are endless.
For example, use them in:
- The Testimonial Page of your website
- Sales quotes and proposals
- Direct-mail pieces
- Email marketing
- Text call-outs in your blog posts
You have many options when it comes to promoting your business.
But trust me, reviews work.
I learned this very early on in my career when attending a marketing session at SMB Nation in Redmond, Washington.
An upstart marketing professional from Nashville spoke about marketing tips and tricks.
I used his tip on how to use testimonials in all my marketing materials.
Over the next few years, we grew our MSP organization into a $5.5 million business.
That’s worth “yelping” about, I say.