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March 27, 2019

Ask an Expert: How Can Property Managers Best Utilize Reputation Management Strategies?

By: Robert Guider

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about reputation management. In this post, Account Executive Robert Guider tackles questions related to getting started for multifamily property managers. How do I get started with reputation management for my multifamily property? Step one is really awareness: get the information about your…

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multifamily reputation management strategiesIn this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about reputation management.

In this post, Account Executive Robert Guider tackles questions related to getting started for multifamily property managers.

How do I get started with reputation management for my multifamily property?

Step one is really awareness: get the information about your online reputation collected in one place so you can actually see what is going on.

Step two is to start generating reviews and trying to make an impact on positive reviews.

Step three is starting to analyze reviews and resident feedback – both in the form of reviews and from survey results. You can do that by using online reputation management services or you can do it yourself, but it is important that it is all collected and analyzed together.

From there, it really depends on the business and whether you want to use a tool or do the work manually. Some reputation management solutions let you go into areas like business listings management, and others let you into some social media posting.

Beyond that, you can dive into more of the technical SEO-oriented strategies. Really, online reputation management strategies circle back to one thing, and that is this: How do you make an impact on your online reputation in a way that gets more residents to your properties and helps you keep the residents that are already there?

What is the single biggest challenge property managers face when they begin using online reputation management strategies?

Reputation management is a process, meaning a general “one size fits all” solution will not work. You have to start with the basics, and how fast you adopt those really determines how fast you move onto the next stage. The speed at which your organization is able to change is not the same for everyone.

Gradually take next steps as you can. Remember that, at the end of the day, your online reputation is a reflection of your resident satisfaction and your customer service.

You can do everything right–request reviews, manage your listings, post great content for social media–but at the end of the day, if you are not making your residents happy, that will not translate.

What should you focus on when it comes to reputation management?

Understand who your residents and customers are and focus on the things that are going to resonate with them. Give them the information they need to make decisions about your communities.

Go about it that way and you avoid getting sucked into things that are a waste of your time – not because they are not worth doing, but because there are other things that are more valuable for you to be doing.

Your reputation, your star ratings, your listings, your pictures, your social media–all of those work together to really determine where you show up in searches.

Those are what moves communities up search rankings. You are not doing it just for its own sake. There is a measurable and intentional impact.

What resonates with potential residents the most?

The two most important things when people are looking for an apartment are price and location. Everything else comes after that, so there is no point in trying to measure yourself against somebody in a different city or somebody on the opposite side of your city than you or even somebody down the street that is twice as expensive as you are.

It does not matter. Reputation is relative.

Your reputation management needs to be thought of like a competition between the community that you are managing and the communities that you are competing with for residents.

So, yes, you want to have awareness about yourself, but you also want to have awareness about the competition and focus on not just being great at one thing but being better at all these different things.

How can you track or measure the results of reputation management strategies?

The best way to get started with multifamily reputation management is using a tool like Binary Fountain because you should be able to track how you are doing in metrics around reviews and the different categories that you are scoring for over time.

Online reputation management services make it pretty easy to see if things are going in the right direction. Otherwise, you have to manually track, compile data and calculate the success of campaigns.

Ultimately, you want to know:

  • How many dollars does it take to convert a resident?
  • What is the lifetime value of an average resident?
  • Are you converting at an industry-standard rate?

How does Binary Fountain differ from other multifamily reputation management tools?

We have a heavy focus on multifamily, and that is an area we have been working in for more than five years. We have put a lot of thought into it, whereas other companies are very industry agnostic in a lot of ways.

Now, they probably have some multifamily specific analytics and packages, but they are more broadly focused. We have two major areas of focus – first, the level of insight that we provide about resident satisfaction.

We are breaking down feedback into 55 categories, which is more specific than any other tool I am aware of today. And the way we set up our analytics engine, and because of its categories, it is more accurate than other types of natural language processors. So really, we are providing more useful information than a lot of other companies.

The other thing is our customer service. The account advisors that work with our multifamily clients only work with our multifamily clients. They dedicate their days to dealing with multifamily issues and multifamily users, which I think translates into us being thought leaders in the industry and really speaks to the higher retention rate that we have on a year to year basis.

What are some benefits that property managers feel once they begin using the tool?

One of the most common things, especially if someone did not have a strategy in place before, is less pressure. You do not have to seek out reviews, and you do not have to chase people down to respond to reviews.

We are bringing this all together in one place and making it easy to deal with, and there is a lot of time savings involved. When people are getting started, they shoulder a lot of work because they have to do everything manually, and when that is all brought together in an easy-to-use dashboard, it gives them an efficient workflow and actionable insights.

About the Author

Robert Guider
Account Executive

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March 26, 2019

How Does Natural Language Processing (NLP) Help Multifamily Properties Improve Services?

By: Kayla Zamary

To retain current tenants and attract new ones, owners of multifamily properties must focus on continuous improvement. But it is not always easy to know which areas of service need improvement, or whether recent changes have made a positive or negative impact on residents’ experiences. You simply cannot gather the necessary data quickly enough on…

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multifamily propertiesTo retain current tenants and attract new ones, owners of multifamily properties must focus on continuous improvement. But it is not always easy to know which areas of service need improvement, or whether recent changes have made a positive or negative impact on residents’ experiences. You simply cannot gather the necessary data quickly enough on your own.

Fortunately, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence technology are taking much of this burden off property managers. Natural Language Processing (NLP) in particular is making it easier to gather data from residents and analyze relevant information regarding a property’s overall success and reputation. Here we will look at some of the key ways NLP helps you improve your properties’ offerings and services.

Deep Resident Analytics and Online Reviews

Little is more valuable to your business than honest feedback. Knowing what residents think about your property and services is vital in understanding what changes should be made and why.

Of course, your properties may receive several reviews each day from multiple sources, making it difficult to manually read each one. NLP technology analyzes text forms online by detecting relevant words and phrases that help multifamily properties hone in on patterns and areas of improvement.

In other words, NLP takes much of the preliminary work out of reviewing resident feedback. This algorithm is not a replacement for reading and responding to negative and positive online reviews, though. Rather, it is a powerful tool for quickly analyzing data that can be used to drive operational changes.

Engagement Monitoring

As a multifamily property manager, you must also keep your residents and employees engaged in knowing when operational changes are necessary. For example, if residents are not leaving reviews, the path to improvement cannot be seen.

The same goes if employees are also neglecting to give feedback to their supervisors. But most importantly, you must actively engage with your workers and residents by responding to any feedback you receive, and not only to improve brand reputation.

Replying to online reviews allows you as a property owner or manager to maintain a steady line of communication with your audience while also addressing common concerns. NLP technology can help in these engagement efforts by notifying property managers when and where a new review is posted. This allows you to respond more quickly to all feedback.

Competitive Benchmarking

A business should always compete with itself by learning from its mistakes and improving from them. But in a competitive market, you must also look outward at your direct competition. You should not just look at your own resident metrics, but also those related to other properties in your market.

NLP helps you stay ahead of the competition with competitive benchmarking analysis tools. Just as NLP analyzes internal resident feedback, it can also analyze external feedback from local and national competitors.

With this industry information in hand, multifamily properties like yours can make operational changes that reflect the market, or get ahead of other properties by learning from their mistakes and achievements.

The more information you have as a multifamily property owner or manager, the easier it is for you to improve your operation. NLP technology helps multifamily properties improve services by analyzing resident data from online reviews, notifying property managers of opportunities for increased tenant and employee engagement, and helping properties maintain a competitive edge in the market.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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March 21, 2019

3 Valuable Insights to Learn From Bad Reviews

By: Alex Hay

For many product managers, marketers, brand managers and business owners, bad reviews can feel emotionally crushing. You’ve put a ton of effort into providing a great experience, only for someone to turn their nose up at your hard work. It’s probably tempting to bury your head in the sand or lash out at the “fake”…

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bad reviewsFor many product managers, marketers, brand managers and business owners, bad reviews can feel emotionally crushing. You’ve put a ton of effort into providing a great experience, only for someone to turn their nose up at your hard work.

It’s probably tempting to bury your head in the sand or lash out at the “fake” reviewer to make the problem go away.

The reality, however, is that bad reviews can offer critical insights into where the gaps are in providing your consumer with a truly excellent experience. These actionable insights can turn a good product or service into a great one.

Here are just some of the ways a strong feedback loop can help you address concerning issues with your business and help you get more positive reviews to overcome the negative ones.

Better Understand What’s Important to Your Customers

Do you ever wish you could read your customers’ minds to better know what matters to them?

Reading reviews allows you to do that, especially the negative ones.

Chances are, if they were motivated enough to go online and post a review, whatever happened during their experience was something they deeply cared about. Critically read the review as a whole and list the things they mention as being important.

The key here is looking for patterns of behavior where your customer experience is not meeting consumer expectations. Once you find those threads, it’s up to you to address the issues that matter the most to your customers.

Weed Out Troublesome Employees/Product

Before we give this advice, it’s important to note we aren’t recommending you fire an employee the first time you see them mentioned in a negative review. As with any situation where emotions run high, there are two sides to every story.

Always give your employees the benefit of the doubt before taking any specific actions. Ask them questions about the review and for details around the customer in question to better understand how events unfolded. There’s a good chance they handled the situation the same way you or a superior would’ve handled it.

What does become a problem, however, is when the same employee is constantly showing up in negative reviews about their customer service or performance. This gives you the opportunity to have a crucial conversation with them about improving their performance or reevaluating how they fit on the team.

Similarly, frequent complaints about a product can lead to actionable insights for improvements to the product.

For example, if you run a cell phone manufacturing company and all of your negative reviews say the new phone won’t hold its charge, something must be wrong with the design of the battery. This gives you the opportunity to fix the problem with the battery and get the improved battery to market as quickly as possible.

Again, make sure you aren’t making decisions based on one or two reviews or using reviews as a singular indicator when making decisions that will impact your employees’ lives. Difficult staffing decisions should never be made in a vacuum.

A Chance to Improve Customer Relationships

As long as you reply to bad reviews the right way, negative reviews can be an opportunity to nurture a relationship with a customer.

In most situations, customers are willing to forgive a business for bad service as long as what caused them to post the negative review is resolved. Just because a relationship got off to a rocky start doesn’t mean it isn’t salvageable.

Remember, they chose your business for a reason. It’s up to you to provide great customer service by responding to their negative review with an apology and a promise that their next experience will be better because you have taken their feedback to heart.

If you do this the right way (and do what you say you are going to do) they may even change their initial review to a positive one. Potential customers take that kind of interaction seriously and it will attract even more business.

By properly repairing broken trust, you greatly improve the number of positive reviews you will receive. Remember, most consumers treat online reviews the same as personal referrals.

If you aren’t already rebuilding those relationships, now is a great time to start.

Making a Negative a Positive

Bad reviews aren’t the final judgment of your business or product. Rather, they should be viewed as opportunities for improvement. If you view them as such, you will start to see a dramatic change in your organization’s reviews and performance.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to build customer loyalty because you are afraid of tackling online reviews head on. Embracing customer feedback will only help you build long-term loyalty.

Interested in Learning More? Check out these related topics:

 

 

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 19, 2019

3 Essential Things Brand Managers Need to Know

By: Alex Hay

Brand managers are the guardians of a company’s image. They work hard to preserve the internal and external identity of an organization. If you are a brand manager, you know just how complex your role can be within an organization, especially when it comes to managing your enterprise’s reputation. We’ve put together three tips that…

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brand managersBrand managers are the guardians of a company’s image. They work hard to preserve the internal and external identity of an organization.

If you are a brand manager, you know just how complex your role can be within an organization, especially when it comes to managing your enterprise’s reputation.

We’ve put together three tips that all brand managers need to do to improve their organization’s external image.

Typically, brand managers will handle multiple marketing and public relations responsibilities within an organization including:

  • Online reputation management
  • Ensuring marketing messaging is right for the product/business
  • Drawstrings marketing activities
  • Planning sponsorships and other events
  • Driving market growth
  • Coordinating with public relations department

With these basic responsibilities in mind, what essential skills and strategies do brand managers need to know in order to be successful in 2019?

Design A Comprehensive Brand Guide

The most important function of brand managers is to ensure communications about a product or service follow established brand guidelines. Whether you’re bringing on new designers within your organization or outsourcing to vendors, the designs your brand uses and the voice of your brand should be consistent across all platforms and collateral.

To become a better influencer within your organization and create an efficient workflow process that is going to ensure consistent messaging, you should create a brand guide and deputize other people within the organization to be holders of that knowledge.

Make sure you are working with other members of marketing, designers, PR and other areas and not just writing the branding guide on your own. Remember, you need their buy-in to convince them to follow your guidelines.

If you haven’t worked hard to build bridges with other departments, look for opportunities for cross-company collaboration before starting a rebranding project. Buy-in from these key stakeholders ensures consistency internally, which will lead to a strong external brand identity.

Understand Your Customers

This one seems simple, but it’s actually one of the hardest elements of being in marketing. Oftentimes it’s easy for marketing professionals to “know” what is right without asking or listening to their customers. You would be surprised how many hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent each year marketing products the marketplace doesn’t want or need.

In order to be an effective brand manager, you have to know your customer and think more like a product manager. Why do people need this product or service? What fears or worries do they have and how do you provide a solution? How can you set them up to be the hero of the story with your product or service as the guide?

All of these questions are things a good brand manager should be asking. As a brand manager, your role is to make sure you don’t have a product no one knows about or a great product no one uses because it doesn’t deliver on the promise of helping your customer.

This means you need to be heavily involved in your industry and engaging with your audience at all times. Carefully study the different products your customers consume and use them yourself on a daily basis to better understand their mindset. The only way to see if your messaging is going to work is walking a mile in your customers’ shoes.

For example, if there is an important influencer in your industry, follow them and see what they are doing to connect with your customers. Another way to do this is through thorough surveying of your customer base to better understand their goals and intents.

To be a great brand manager, you should be the ultimate fan of your fans.

Watch and Reply to Customer Reviews Online

In addition to studying your audience’s tendencies, you also need to be plugged into what they are saying online about your company or product.

First, you want to make sure your brand is generating the stellar reviews and trusted reputation you are striving to build. There’s nothing better than seeing people leave great reviews and use the same terms you wanted to be associated with your brand. This positive feedback can help affirm your plan or even add inspiration for new marketing plans in the future.

Conversely, if you are getting bad reviews, you need to be on the front lines to provide direction for communication efforts to make sure any responses your team sends out match your guidelines.

For example, if your brand messaging promises an exceptional experience and customers are experiencing a below average result, you need to communicate with the product or service side of your business to figure out where expectations aren’t being met.

Paying attention to online reviews will help you better understand how people see your brand in the marketplace and the action steps your organization needs to take to fulfill your brand’s promises to consumers.

Interested in learning more? Here are some similar topics:

 

 

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 14, 2019

Customer Review Campaigns: What You Need to Know

By: Kayla Zamary

Is your business running customer review campaigns? If not, you should be. Your customers are your biggest fans and your biggest opportunity to make significant improvements to your business. Listening to their feedback can help you improve your local search result rankings and even attract new customers. Running a customer feedback campaign is not easy,…

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customer review campaignIs your business running customer review campaigns? If not, you should be.

Your customers are your biggest fans and your biggest opportunity to make significant improvements to your business. Listening to their feedback can help you improve your local search result rankings and even attract new customers.

Running a customer feedback campaign is not easy, however, as many review platforms don’t allow you to directly solicit customer reviews on their platforms. Instead, you have to be intentional with how you ask for feedback and promote your profiles on review sites.

We are going to explore the ins and outs of how to ask for customer reviews in a marketing campaign setting and what you can do to earn the highest quality reviews for your business.

Getting Reviews is Easy, But Getting Positive Reviews is Hard

It can be hard to earn positive reviews, even if you are known for great customer service. Sometimes businesses struggle to even generate reviews at all.

A lot of this has to do with the consumer mindset. People expect everything at their doctor’s office or their local gym to go well and don’t feel the same need to point out great customer service like they do when they go to a new restaurant. The bar for success is set much lower for restaurants than it is for a cardiologist.

Instead, maybe people decide to leave a review only when things go catastrophically wrong. This can often lead to businesses that are actually providing great customer service having more negative reviews than positive ones. That’s demoralizing for any business owner.

So what can you do to improve your online reviews?

The answer isn’t revolutionary, but it is effective: focus on getting happy customers to take the time to leave reviews.

Asking for Reviews in Person

If you have happy customers in your store or practice, it’s ok to ask them to leave a review on their review directory of choice. What isn’t OK is to offer to pay them for a good review. That will erode their trust in you and also violates many ethics rules for online directories.

We recommend having the person who has the most contact with the customer ask for the review. They usually are the people on the front lines who have had the easiest time having the deepest relationship with your customer.

At a medical practice, for example, this may be the nurse practitioner or the doctor themselves.

You can also post signs in your establishment reminding customers that their opinions matter and that you’d love to get their feedback in an online review.

Try to figure out all the customer touch points in your company and where it makes sense to ask for a review. Chances are, if you really do have outstanding customer service, you will get that valuable review.

Asking for a Review via Email

E-mail is a great way to ask for customer reviews. Chances are, if they are a patient or a paying customer, they provided their email during their visit. This means you probably have all the information you need to ask them about how your customer service was.

Having a contact database of former customers is a great way to generate quality reviews, but it can also be a bit more complicated to pull off than just asking in person.

Here are some guidelines for asking for customer reviews via email:

  • Have a clear call to action button (link to your Facebook page) so users can easily see where you want them to leave the review. Remove as many steps as possible.
  • Do not promise them anything for leaving a review!
  • Test multiple variations of an email to see which one customers respond to best.
  • Segment your email list to target only recent customers. Unengaged customers are less likely to respond to emails and may not even be customers anymore. We recommend editing your list down to people who have visited your establishment within the last 3 months.
  • Make the reviews about them and not about your online reputation. Don’t say “Leave a review so we can improve our online reputation.” Instead say “Leave a review so people like you can enjoy the benefits of working out at our gym,” or whatever your service may be.

Asking for a Review via Text Message

Did you know that text messages have an average open rate of 82 percent? That’s nearly 8 times the total of email response rates.

Imagine what your business could do if your messaging was read consistently by almost your entire audience?

Companies can now use automated text messages to expand their influence directly to their audiences’ mobile devices. Within hours or minutes of an interaction with a customer, a business can send out a customized request asking for a review of the experience. This is not only timely messaging, but it helps your brand stay top of mind while the customer replies.

Text messages have an open rate of 98 percent, all but ensuring that someone will see your review request pop up on their phone.

Prioritize the Customer Experience  

Getting quality reviews shouldn’t be the focus of only your marketing and brand management teams–it should an organizational priority. From the “front of house” to your c-suite executives, your organization should prioritize the customer experience as a KPI for the health of your business.

How people talk about your business online is how others will perceive your business. Remember, when it comes to online reviews, perception is reality.

Interested in Learning More? Here are some Related Topics:

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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March 13, 2019

How to Develop Local SEO Strategies for Multiple Business Locations

By: Alex Hay

Local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can be complicated for any business to implement. From owning your business listing on Google My Business to paying close attention to your online reviews, you’ve taken painstaking efforts to improve search results for your local area. But how do you optimize local SEO for multiple locations? Whether you’re…

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SEO-GraphicLocal search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can be complicated for any business to implement.

From owning your business listing on Google My Business to paying close attention to your online reviews, you’ve taken painstaking efforts to improve search results for your local area.

But how do you optimize local SEO for multiple locations?

Whether you’re a local food chain with a few locations across a state or an enterprise business with locations spanning the entire country, you will want to ensure each individual business location gets the attention it needs to be successful in a local search.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of utilizing techniques that will help your website rank when people are searching for your product or service within a specific locality. The ultimate goal of local SEO strategies is to rank better for a local audience rather than a national one.

Using these strategies will improve your online rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs) and increase the likelihood that your intended audience will find your location.

Why Does Local SEO Matter?

According to Hubspot, half of consumers who search for a local store via their smartphone visit that store within a day. That’s a fact that can have an immediate impact on any business, regardless of the industry.

For brick and mortar locations, local SEO really isn’t optional in today’s digital world if you are interested in customers finding you online.

How Does Local Search Work?

There are a lot of factors in how Google determines local search results. While it is almost impossible to know for sure how the algorithm works, one thing you can bet on is Google is getting smarter and faster at serving up the best possible results for their users.

You will want to put your best foot forward and make sure you are following Google’s guidelines and playing by the rules.

Another thing to consider is that Google is using the searcher’s geolocation to return useful results. For example, you wouldn’t see results in Dallas for “bakery” if you were searching on your phone from Washington, D.C. That would be a poor user experience.

How to Optimize for Local Search

If you are interested in optimizing for local search, here are seven basic things you can do to get started:

  1. Claim your Google My Business account if you haven’t already
  2. Optimize your website with the right geographical keywords that best describe the location of your business
  3. Make sure you have a contact page with location name, address and phone number (NAP)
  4. Generate the right Schema for a local business
  5. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and is meeting Google’s page speed standards
  6. Optimize your metadata to include enticing title tags and descriptions that users will want to click on
  7. Get a ton of quality reviews on your listings (Facebook, Google etc.)

How to Optimize Local SEO if You Have Multiple Locations

Optimizing for local search results is no different than any of the above, but there are a few distinct nuances.

Build Unique Location Landing Pages

First, you will want to make sure that you have a specific landing page on your site for each of your locations. Search Engine Optimization experts have a saying that “one page, one purpose” always works better.

By creating specific pages for each location, you can optimize each for local search in those areas rather than trying to get one page to rank for everything.

One important thing to remember, however, is that every page has to be unique and can’t just contain the same content with a different geographical location. When creating these pages think about what makes them unique, like:

  • Location name, address and phone number (NAP)
  • Descriptive content that’s specific to that exact location, like the staff, the neighborhood, how long it has existed, etc.
  • A Google map with the exact location
  • Current images of the location
  • Special events unique to that location (if you have them)
  • Unique testimonials for each location from real customers

Make Sure Site Navigation Matches

When you build these unique location pages, you will want to make sure your URL naming makes sense for each location.

For example, your URL structuring may look something like this:

  • www.companyname.com/location_name_1
  • www.companyname.com/location_name_2
  • www.companyname.com/location_name_3

Or a more realistic example:

  • www.bestrestuarentever.com/Denver
  • www.bestrestuarentever.com/Boulder
  • www.bestrestuarentever.com/Fort-Collins

All of these pages should be accessible through your main website navigation, or if you have a ton of locations, through a store or location finder.

Additionally, if you operate only a handful of locations, we recommend including a link to the contact page (or location page) for each one from the footer of each page of your website. Again, if you have more than five or more locations, you probably want to go with a location locator page and include it in your primary navigation menu.

Further Optimize Each Location for Local SEO

After you create these individual pages, you will need to create meta descriptions, tags, and other content with location-specific keywords just like you would if you had a singular location.

You will also want to leverage SEO best practices on the page like:

  • Having the location in the title (h1 header) of the page
  • H2 headers with relevant keywords
  • Avoid keyword stuffing by speaking like a user would rather than what you think a search engine wants to see
  • Keeping load times minimal
  • Adding ALT text to images
  • Making sure the content is unique to each page
  • Use unique local business schema for each page

Create unique Google My Business Accounts for Each Location

Much like if you had one business location, you will want to claim/create a Google My Business listing for each of your locations to show up on Google Maps. Claiming multiple locations on Google My Business is a relatively easy process because the program enables you to add any new locations you may have or use bulk verification to verify all sites at once.

You should use the individual URLs (or pages) you have created so customers can quickly get to the information they want about a specific location.

Here’s a quick recap about Google’s verification process:

  • Verify each location using the code Google emails you (will take around a week)
  • Post the unique hours for each location (if they vary)
  • Choose the same category for each location (assuming they are all the same)
  • Add unique images for each location

Generate Quality (and Quantity) Citations 

One of the many ranking factors for local business is having quality links going to your website from trusted sources. This has been an important ranking factor since as early as 2005, with some key changes.

First, Google now penalizes websites that purposely spam links. If you ever get a call from an “SEO expert” that wants to sell you 10,000 links for websites to improve your rankings, hang up the phone and block their number. They aren’t selling you a valid solution for your SEO needs.

Instead, focus your efforts on making sure your business listings online are accurate across all the major citation networks.

Here are a few places you’ll want to check:

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Bing
  • Google
  • Mantra
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Angie’s List
  • Yahoo Local
  • Foursquare
  • Yellow Pages

Each of these locations needs to have the correct name, address, hours and website for each of your locations. Do not, however, add the location to its name if it’s part of a larger franchise (for example, “Optometrists of Nashville,” located in Brentwood, should not be listed as “Optometrists of Nashville of Brentwood”). This would be seen as an inconsistency if that isn’t the actual name of the business and could hurt your local SEO efforts.

If you find any inconsistencies on these listings, you will want to correct them to make sure search engines and customers aren’t confused. This can be extremely tedious and uninteresting, but it could be disastrous if your business is not paying attention to them, especially across multiple locations.

There’s nothing worse than a customer trying to shop at one of your locations only to find out the location they went to is closed, but the one across town is open.

Find New Places to Add Citations

Additionally, you will want to find new opportunities for creating citations across the web, especially within your industry.

Some examples may be HomeAdvisor for contractors or Avvo for lawyers. Chances are, if you think about it, you probably already know what these sites are for your specific industry.

Don’t think this is worth your time? Think again.

Because quality links help build your website’s authority and gives Google a better idea of the types of keywords are relevant to a given business, businesses with an industry optimized footprint on specific industry directories stand a better chance of ranking in Google for industry terms than businesses that don’t.

Build Quality Links to Each Location Page

We briefly mentioned buying links is bad for SEO (and it most certainly is) but that doesn’t mean links aren’t important.

Links remain a major ranking factor and finding ones that make sense for your business is one of the best things you can do to increase your odds of appearing in local search results. In particular, local directories also add credibility, especially if each of your location pages has their own unique backlink profile.

You may want to partner with local resources like Chambers of Commerce, local charities, or host events at your businesses that give you a chance to attract links to your specific location pages.

You could also reach out to local bloggers in the area and see if they are interested in sharing your content or let you promote your business on their site.

Take comfort in knowing you don’t have to become an SEO expert to improve your business’s organic search. It just takes a little time and creativity to find the right places for your business to be listed.

Get Quality Reviews

The last step for using local SEO strategies for multiple locations is maybe one of the most important ones: generate online reviews.

Online reviews are crucial to local SEO because they show search engines and directories the overall quality of a business. Users are less likely to trust search engines if they provide poor recommendations, which means the search engines don’t make money from advertising because users will stop using their service.

This means search engines like Google are more likely to show businesses that have earned positive customer reviews. This doesn’t just mean reviews on Google either. You want to have quality reviews across all consumer feedback platforms like Facebook and Bing as well.

Getting quality reviews (and a lot of reviews) is important for any business, but it’s particularly important for businesses with multiple locations because every location needs to be generating location-specific reviews to improve their individual SEO.

This can make keeping track of your online reviews difficult because you need to have a pulse on how each of your locations is performing in online reviews and making sure you are prepared to respond to negative reviews when they crop up.

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 11, 2019

Putting Your Customers at the Center of Your Brand Proposition Leads to a Happy Union

By: Zargham Ghani

Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Clifford was featured in a piece by Strategic Health Care Marketing about how the competitive landscape in healthcare marketing has evolved recently to focus on a more patient-centric brand proposition. This means that marketers are more conscious of the “digital patient journey” and are developing strategies with the…

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Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Clifford was featured in a piece by Strategic Health Care Marketing about how the competitive landscape in healthcare marketing has evolved recently to focus on a more patient-centric brand proposition.

This means that marketers are more conscious of the “digital patient journey” and are developing strategies with the patient experience in mind.

Clifford framed this journey within the context of patient reviews and how marketing analysts need to read between the lines of what the data is telling them:

“…it’s important for health systems and physicians to understand what is really being said. For instance, physicians may have gotten a one-star rating, but it could have nothing to do with the quality of care provided or the physician’s bedside manner.”

brand proposition

 

He also notes how reputation management impacts healthcare professionals:

“We know physician burnout is a big issue. When you have a way to share kudos, it makes a difference,” Clifford says. “We have clients who receive positive first-party and third-party reviews from patients that mention names of nurses and doctors. It’s good for people to see they are mentioned, and they care.”

Read the full article at Strategic Health Care Marketing.

About the Author

Zargham Ghani
Engagement Manager

Zargham help healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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March 06, 2019

How to Optimize for Voice Search

By: Kayla Zamary

With the arrival of Google’s new voice search tool on mobile, optimizing your web presence for voice searchers has never been more important. If you missed the announcement, Google launched a new microphone icon on Android phones within the Google Search bar, allowing users to use the voice search feature a lot easier. It’s certainly…

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With the arrival of Google’s new voice search tool on mobile, optimizing your web presence for voice searchers has never been more important. If you missed the announcement, Google launched a new microphone icon on Android phones within the Google Search bar, allowing users to use the voice search feature a lot easier. It’s certainly a signal that Google is trying to encourage users to perform voice searches across their multiple platforms.

They certainly have reason to.

In 2016, Google released a statement saying 1 in 5 searches were made by using the voice search functionality on its mobile app and on Android devices. While they haven’t released an updated figure since then, many experts agree voice search has only increased since then with the growth of virtual assistants.

So, what can you be doing to optimize for voice search?  

We’ll dive into how you can get more search traffic to your site and take advantage of tools like Amazon’s Search Skills that will further enhance your voice search results.

What is Voice Search?

Voice search is the ability to deliver search results using speech recognition instead of through typed words.  

While voice recognition software has a long (and very complex) history, voice search really didn’t have mass market appeal until the late 2000’s when Google created ‘Google Voice Search’ for iPhones. With the release of Apple’s own voice search program “Siri,” this started the race to build the best “personal assistant.”

Since then, voice search has swelled in popularity, becoming one of the most important ways to connect potential customers with businesses around the world. With 60% of searches originating on mobile devices, this medium is only going to grow in the coming years.

How to Optimize for Voice Search: Starting the Conversion

So how can you start optimizing your business for people searching for your products or services?

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is take everything you know about conventional SEO and apply a real-life conversation filter to it. This means logically thinking through what people are actually saying out loud compared to what they type on a day to day basis.  

Think about it this way: people communicate very differently via text than they do over a phone call. Why? Because it makes more sense to abbreviate words like “ppl, ttyl or cya” than it is to actually type out those words or phrases.

Voice search is all about conversions. Using speech recognition software, users are able to interact in a more conversational way with their machines, making longer keyword phrases and commands more important than singular or shorthand phrases.

This means that Voice Searches are going to be longer tailed keywords than text ones. This is an important distinguisher because it shifts the paradigm of what constitutes a longtail keyword between the two mediums.  

Typically, a text-based search is only two to three words while a voiced search keyword phrase is six to seven words. That’s double the amount of words!

If you aren’t looking into longer tail keywords as an SEO strategy, you should invest the time and resources to focus on targeting questions in a more conversational setting. Remember, the goal here is to mimic how real people talk and ask questions verbally rather than in written word. You would be surprised at how different that can be.

A great place to start is to interview your sales department to see what kind of questions they get in the call center. This should give you a better idea about the words your customers are using around your product and the questions they have that you need to address.

A Quick Word on Text Search

Just because voice search is increasing in popularity doesn’t mean you should entirely discount text-based searches.

As it stands today almost 80% of who, where, when, what and how questions are Google seem to be delivered from the rich snippet of a search result. This means that if you are winning snippets, you are probably winning in the voice search space as well.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

voice search

One last word of warning: when you are writing content, you aren’t writing for “search engines” or for “assistants.” You are writing for an end user, regardless of how they access this information. This means making sure that your content is always matching user intent to best answer their question and not keyword stuffing to try to game the system.

Remember, you are writing for people not for robots.  

A Change in User Intent

Perhaps the most important change from traditional search to voice search is the intent behind that search. SEO’s talk a lot about finding keywords that don’t just drive traffic, but words that marry user intent (why they are searching for something) with business intent (what product, service or content do we possess that helps addresses their question) and the same holds true for voice search.

Structuring your website and your content to answer specific questions rather than general information gathering is a huge difference between voice and traditional search. Because longer tail keywords are used more often in voice search, leveraging these phrases in a way that makes sense will give users the answers they are looking for quickly.

So remember:

Voice = quick, accurate answers. Traditional search = answers in detail with optimization towards research.  

What are People Searching For?

Great question!

Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant and other digital assistants have undoubtedly changed the search landscape forever. These products are designed to make an owner’s life better by organizing their lives and fact-finding queries.

Some examples of these include:

  • Directions
  • Call someone
  • Play music
  • Ask a factual question
  • Check the weather

You are probably looking at these thinking “none of these are relevant or matter to my business, so why should I care?”

Don’t worry, there are plenty of reasons why paying attention to vocal searches are so important to local businesses.

Voice Search: The Future of Local Search

Have you ever visited a city and needed to find the closest convenience store or mall because TSA confiscated your cologne or perfume you forgot was in your carry on?  

Chances are, in your dire time of need, you used your phone to find the “nearest X” to your location to figure out where you could buy it. You aren’t alone – lots of people are doing this.

voice search

This chart is taken from Google Trends, which helps map out the popularity of certain search terms over time. The exact term in question is searches containing the phrase “near me.” That’s five years of intense accelerated growth.

While Google hasn’t released specific mobile vs desktop statistics, you can safely bet the majority of these kinds of searches are happening on mobile devices. This also means they are more likely to be searched orally rather than through text.

This means voice search is a huge opportunity for local businesses to gain visibility with mobile users.

If you haven’t started to utilize basic search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, now is the time. Here are some basic strategies you can take to improve the chances of appearing in voice search beyond using long tail keywords.

Build FAQ Pages

One way you can start implementing your findings is by building FAQ pages that address the specific questions you are hearing from your customers about a product or service. The goal here is to group similar questions so you can optimize the page for similar SEO keyword phrases.

Your answers should be short and specific so your page can be pulled into rich snippets centered around the question that someone is asking.

Build Pages with Schema Markup

If you aren’t leveraging schema, you are possibly missing out on rich snippets and other enhanced search results that could help your visibility online and in voice search. Schema markup improves the way search engines are able to represent your page online.

Essentially, it helps search understand what your data means rather than just what it says, giving search engines a much clearer picture of what is on the page. Think about it like watching HD TV vs normal definition. The difference couldn’t be more black and white.

For a comprehensive look at schema and why it is so important, check out Schema.org

Alexa Skills: Enhanced Voice Search

If you aren’t familiar with Amazon Alexa Skills, you should get familiar. Skills are essentially apps or plugins for your Echo devices. These add-ons allow Alexa to perform everyday tasks for a user including everything from tuning a guitar to reserving an Uber that gets you to the airport for your flight.

There are tens of thousands of companies that have built Skills thanks to Amazon’s tools.  

Before you dismiss this idea, think about it this way: these programs are essentially automating everyday life for people and meeting them where they are at any given moment. Building a skill allows you to reach your customers in their own homes.

If you’re in the consumer space, you should consider leveraging this tool. Organizations that operate in the business to business space probably don’t need to invest a lot of time into skill development (at least for now).

For example, if you are a healthcare provider, you can create a skill to give everyday medical advice to a user with hands-free answers. While you wouldn’t want to diagnose a brain tumor, you could create a skill to help people know how to treat a fever and when to seek professional treatment.   

Another example of a useful skill could be applied to the commercial real estate market. Consumers could ask Alexa about local apartment availabilities or multifamily developments with specific amenities, like pools or covered parking.

Alexa Skills is as infinite as your imagination.

Have Correct Information on Listings

This one seems basic, but it’s always surprising how many businesses have incorrect or outdated information online. In order to rank well in local searches, make sure all of these details are correct on your Google My Business listing and other listing services:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation

If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing, we recommend starting there! It’s a powerful tool that will help you not only appear in search results but also see what customers are saying about your business in online reviews.

Online reviews are important for not just ranking purposes, but also for attracting new customers.

Reputation Management: The Tool You Need for Local Search

If you’re interested in boosting your organic search traffic, you should look at a scalable reputation management solution for your organization.

Focusing on improving consumer reviews helps you find new customers as well as get real-time feedback from people using your services. This is invaluable when you consider the potential to take actionable insights from what your customers are saying about you. Showing your customers that you care about the consumer experience means you are more likely to retain them long term.  

Binary Fountain allows you to better manage your online reputation with scalable technology that puts your online reviews all in one place.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how to improve your online reputation.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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March 01, 2019

How to Implement Reputation Management Strategies at the Enterprise-level

By: Kayla Zamary

Managing online reputation is easy enough to envision for a single healthcare location–the practice manager responds to reviews, seeks out ways to improve the patient experience, and makes adjustments based on feedback.   But how does this process work for enterprise-healthcare organizations with hundreds of locations or thousands of doctors? In Thursday’s webinar, “How to…

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reputation management strategiesManaging online reputation is easy enough to envision for a single healthcare location–the practice manager responds to reviews, seeks out ways to improve the patient experience, and makes adjustments based on feedback.  

But how does this process work for enterprise-healthcare organizations with hundreds of locations or thousands of doctors?

In Thursday’s webinar, “How to Implement Reputation Management Strategies at the Enterprise-level”, we covered ways that enterprise-healthcare organizations could implement reputation management strategies and make operational improvements based on the new initiatives.

We were honored to be joined by Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (TPMG), a large multi-specialty group in Southern Virginia, to learn how its team found success in implementing these strategies. We were also joined by Rio SEO, a local listings partner that helped provide a comprehensive brand management solution to TPMG.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the presentation:

The conversation with patients now begins online—optimizing your website and listings helps to facilitate this conversation

Before getting started with a reputation management strategy, it’s important to highlight the magnitude of online reviews and how it relates to the consumer journey.

In a study done by Forbes, 90% of respondents said positive online comments influence whether or not they decide to engage with a brand or service

Now, in a study by Bright Local, only 40% of respondents said they were influenced by negative reviews. This is an important distinction between the weight positive reviews hold in the eyes on the consumer compared to negative reviews.

As an organization that is considering a reputation management strategy, it also tells us that negative reviews are not the end of the world. Potential customers are reading these with the understanding that negative experiences are bound to happen and users are more vocal about those compared to mediocre or even positive experiences.

And finally, once consumers have qualified you or your practice, they want to visit you and quickly.

Patient reviews are an unfiltered look into the health of your organization’s operations—utilize reviews for change and growth.

Taking a look at listings and making sure they are complete is a crucial first step to improving ranking scores. Here’s a simple checklist we like to provide to help clients get their listings up to date:

  1. Google your business name
  2. Create a list of all review sites in search results
  3. Visit each website and claim your profile
  4. Keep your login info stored somewhere safe
  5. Assign ownership to company

Likewise, keeping information consistent and complete across all locations is also important. In fact, NAP (name/address/phone number) consistency across all business profiles is the #2 most important factor in organic rankings

With that in mind, make sure to update URLs, locations, hours of operation, areas of specialization wherever possible and on all platforms you are ranking.

Once you have listings accurately established you can begin generating more reviews and gather feedback and data on areas of improvement.

Planning early and having an organization-wide commitment to reputation management is crucial for success—the work you put in pays off quickly.

TPMG utilized these strategies to develop a comprehensive reputation management solution.

By getting the full organization committed to change and improvement, they began seeing fantastic results:

  • Insights from reviews and patient analytics led to new marketing campaigns for targeted audience demographics
  • Patients reported more engagement with specialists
  • Patient feedback influenced hiring decisions and bonuses

Want to learn more?

Watch the on-demand webinar or contact us for a demonstration.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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February 27, 2019

How to Handle a Brand Reputation Crisis

By: Kayla Zamary

Don’t think you need to have a crisis management plan in place? In today’s world, it’s not a matter of if something goes wrong, but when. From terrible online reviews to data breaches and beyond, how you manage a potential crisis can make the difference between potential customers giving your brand another chance and moving…

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crisis managementDon’t think you need to have a crisis management plan in place? In today’s world, it’s not a matter of if something goes wrong, but when.

From terrible online reviews to data breaches and beyond, how you manage a potential crisis can make the difference between potential customers giving your brand another chance and moving on to a competitor.

Just look at some of the high-profile PR nightmares that have happened this year:

While these are extreme cases of brands in crisis management mode, it’s important for brands to maintain strong brand management at all times in order to appropriately deal with situations when they arise. It’s very easy for what could’ve been a simple response to spiral into a true crisis.

Take a look at Amy’s Baking Company for proof.

We’ll explore how not to handle negative reviews and what you can do to prevent a public relations nightmare through online reputation management.

A Quick Word on True Crisis Management

Before we dive into specifics, it is worth noting that there are times when negative sentiments about your organization or brand extend far beyond the confines of online reviews.  

Some of these can include:  

  • Sexual harassment allegations
  • Claims of fraud or criminal wrongdoing
  • Malpractice
  • Product recalls

These kinds of situations are best handled by a professional team of public relations professionals who will have a crisis management plan ready for such a situation.  

In these highly volatile circumstances, among others, the cloud of negativity can attract a ton of attention from others, making an already bad situation worse. Trust that your public relations team knows what they are doing and don’t take it upon yourself to directly respond.  

Make sure that whatever statement is made comes off as genuine and concerned. We’ve all seen those apology ads or carefully manicured press releases after yet another scandal. These can end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

No matter what, avoid being confrontational or making excuses. Any kind of hostility will only increase the backlash on your organization.

While not every situation can be avoided, paying attention to what people are saying about your organization online and taking proactive measures to address issues can actually help prevent things from boiling over.

Negative Reviews aren’t a Crisis

If you are a marketing professional, chances are every negative review feels like a major blow to your organization.  

You and your staff have invested a ton of time and effort to ensure your organization always focuses on delivering excellent customer experiences. How could anyone possibly say something negative about your organization?  

When someone leaves a negative review about something you care so deeply about, it’s easy to take it personally.

Here’s the reality though: negative reviews are not public relations catastrophes.

Don’t feel compelled to respond right away or make a public statement. This can actually cause more attention to the issue than it would have without a dramatic response.

Like an emergency room examining patients, we recommend triaging, or sorting through potential issues through social media listening, to determine which reviews or posts need a crisis management response. Being able to distinguish what’s a true crisis from a quick fix is essential to keeping your online reputation pristine and your staff happy.

There are extensive resources written on how to respond to negative reviews, but here are some quick tips to help get you started:

  • Apologize, even if you feel like your organization wasn’t in the wrong
  • Take accountability for the issue and don’t attempt to pass off blame
  • Respond briefly and quickly when possible
  • Seek understanding by asking questions
  • Promise to fix the problem in the future
  • Fact check before responding to confirm the review is authentic
  • Personally, follow-up after the resolution to ensure the original poster is satisfied

If you follow these rules, you should be able to navigate around any negative reviews that could problematic to your brand.  

Once you respond, your next step should be fixing the problems the reviewer experienced so you don’t get another negative review,

What Do You Do If You Responded and the Customer Still is Unhappy?

Even if you do all the right things in your response, sometimes it isn’t good enough. Ultimately, all you can do is control your response. You can’t make them do anything.

What you can’t do, however, is lash out at the customer.  

Remember, if they are unreceptive to your response, chances are they won’t be open to frequenting your business again anyways. Focus your efforts on improving and attracting other potential customers.

Listening to Customer Feedback Can Prevent Public Relations Crises

What’s better than dealing with a public relations nightmare the right way? Not having to deal with one at all!

Through online reputation management tools, you can actually listen to what customers are saying about your business across multiple digital platforms. This makes it easier for you to collect data and act faster on consumer insights.

If you take the time to know what people are saying about your brand, it can help you avoid the pitfalls of a true PR crisis before it even happens. It will also help keep your online reviews looking good for new customers interested in your products or services.

Remember, a negative review is an opportunity to lose or win positive brand sentiment for life. It all depends on how you respond!

Interested in learning more? Here are some other materials that may help:

Also, check out our free webinars or e-books for more information and case studies about how we have helped businesses around the world.

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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