Today's guest is Ken Tucker and we're talking about online reputation management. This is something you might want to just pass by. If you do, you would be making a big mistake. Online reputation management is becoming more and more important. Whether it's for a great Google ranking or letting your customers and potential customers what a great job you're doing. You need to be paying attention to this.
I was surprised to learn how much great information Ken brought to this episode. I didn't realize, and I bet you didn't either that managing your online presence is crucial and will be even more important in the future and it's something you need to be paying attention to.
In this episode we're going to be covering some of the following topics:
- Why you need to manage your online reputation.
- What are the things that Google looks for when it comes to ranking your company.
- Where if you own a construction company or even a manufacturing company, you're online presence and reviews might just become critical to your success.
- Why the Holy Grail of online marketing is when you get your customers to do marketing for you.
- Learn about some of the challenges you might have around resources for managing your online presence and what you can do about it.
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, this is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business podcast. Our guest today is Ken Tucker. Ken is the CEO of ChangeScapeWeb. They do web design, search engine optimization. They help grow audience with social media, do lead generation. They have like a zillion different certifications. And the one that Ken is most interested in telling you about, he is a marketing master certified consultant with Duct Tape Marketing and has done a bunch of work with John Jantsch which is kind of a cool thing. So instead of me wandering on and talking about all the stuff they do, let’s bring Ken in and we’ll start our conversation today.
Hey, Ken. How are you?
Ken: All right, doing great. How are you doing today, Josh?
Josh: I'm doing well. Thanks so much for stopping by.
So tell me a little bit about you and— you know, I understand you’ve written a couple of books. And what are the two books you’ve written about and where can we find them?
Ken: Yeah. I've written a couple of books. The first one I actually published a year ago, this March. So it’s on reputation management – online reputation management. So that’s going to look at online reviews, and monitoring, and building your overall online reputation in the right sites.
And then the second book that I wrote is social media marketing for restaurants. And even though that’s specifically for restaurants in the terms of the examples that I've used, I think any retail business would be able to get quite a bit out of that. Both of those books are available on Amazon as a Kindle or a print copy. So probably the easiest thing to do is just to search by those titles. I have an author page that is going to summarize, you know, the books that I have as well, so if you just did a search for Ken Tucker, you’d find my author page and there you’d see the books that I've done.
So let’s talk about restaurant for a little bit and brick and mortal retail in general.
Josh: I almost never see anything that’s worthwhile for restaurants as far as their online presence. I mean, if they’re on OpenTable, they have a menu and they try to get reviews and all that kind of stuff. But it seems to me that restaurants kind of miss the mark when it comes to online stuff.
Ken: Yeah, I would agree with that. The thing about restaurants, in particular, is that somebody does a search for a type of restaurant, they’re probably going to be making a decision very quickly. So that means that showing up on Google Map results or making sure that you're going to show up well for a voice search results is going to be really critical. That doesn't just happen. I mean, too many restaurants, I think, they don't take control over the review process. And I think that that’s a big missed opportunity.
But, right now, we're seeing Google is actually pulling in– if you set up your website properly and you publish your menu in the proper scheme or format, Google will pull into the search results what your menus is and people can click through your menu without even having to go to your website just by finding you on a Google search. And if you're doing that and your competitor’s not, that's maybe an opportunity that’s going to help you show up ahead of them on the search results. So I think there’s a tremendous missed opportunity. There are a lot of different things, I think, that restaurants could do from a social media perspective as well to just take advantage of.
When it comes to food, that’s just natural. A lot of people want to share their experiences. Restaurants need to make it as easy as possible and they need to facilitate that whole process. And I think too many restaurants just kind of leave that up to chance.
Josh: So when you get into that sort of stuff, I mean, the question I just had. And this is not just for restaurants, obviously, it’s for anybody that would have a brick and mortar business - a clothing store, a bookstore, even a liquor store, or a grocery store for that matter. I'm seeing you're thinking, say, “You know, one of the things that these folks, I think, are missing the boat on is building a community.”
Ken: Yeah, I know, absolutely. I mean, the holy grail of social media, in my opinion, is when you get users engaged in doing the marketing for you and to the extent that you can build that avid base of fans and followers who, when they go to your restaurant, they check in, they post pictures. They share. You know, they’re reaching their friends and not the people who’ve liked your Facebook business page, so it just tremendously expands your reach. So yeah, absolutely, you've got to find ways to build those communities.
And likewise clothing retailers, boutiques and shops and even spas and places like that, I think, have a great opportunity that they’re missing there. And they really should think about and try to formalize and facilitate a process. And I think part of that is— you know, I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a brilliant graphic designer and one of the things that she does is she actually helps you to brand your physical space. When you have a retail space, you’ve got all of this great space that you’re really not doing anything to take advantage of your brand. You're not taking advantage of that physical space in helping to move people from the physical space into the online space. And so, I think there are a lot of missed opportunities, as you said.
Josh: So one of the things that I know is very active with the online communities or Facebook groups and I have found that a Facebook group that’s built properly becomes a tremendous community for people who are interested in a particular topic. And that particular topic could be a restaurant. It could be spa. It could be a health club. It could be a clothing store. And it seems to me that Facebook groups provide a better opportunity, in many respects, especially where you have to ask to get in. And a Facebook page, because groups - if they’re managed properly, tend to become communities. Does that make sense?
Ken: I actually like the public element of a page even though the page visibility continues to go down every time they seem to make an algorithm update. If you do have an active engaged fanbase and they are posting and sharing online, I love the visibility that that expands to you. You wouldn’t get that with a closed Facebook group. You might be able to get people maybe deeper into becoming brand advocates somehow in a way. I'm not really exactly sure how that would happen. But yeah, that’s an interesting question. I mean, I certainly understand what you're saying about the community building power of groups. I'm not sure how you would translate that from a private group into a public visibility.
Josh: Here’s the way I think it likely happens is that with local retail, word of mouth is still a very strong thing. And if I build a community where people feel attached to whatever business I have, there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to be talking to their friends about what’s going on in that group. And I think two things could happen. And I'm not saying they will happen but could happen. One is, I think that you would see more people want to join the group. And the second thing is you're going to start getting some stronger advocates than just people talking about the great experience they had at your restaurant and then it goes off into the wilderness because there’s nobody there to really tie that down and anchor the experience.
Ken: Yeah. I think one of the challenges that a lot of retailers and restaurants are going to have is finding somebody to manage that community. In my mind, I guess, the way I see that that could really work for somebody is if you're a clothing boutique you might have some style-related element to the private group that you have to get people in a much more interested and engaged and talking about different styles and a thing like that. Or, if you're a restaurant, then you could have maybe different food tasting parties or discussions about different types of cuisine and stuff like that, I suppose. I do agree that if you could find a way to pull that off, for those people who are going to participate, I think that they would be more committed and more of an advocate for your brand. I think that that could be a decent amount of work. I think it’s certainly worth exploring. If you’re a mom and pop type shop though, I think that might be a little bit difficult to pull of from a personnel end and expertise perspective.
Josh: Yeah. Well, that makes perfectly good sense to me.
So one of the things that you said to me was a conversation about review funnels. Now, first of all, let’s explain what a funnel is because most people listening to this podcast won't know. And then you can tell me what a review funnel is because I have no idea.
Ken: Okay. Well, a review funnel is basically just creating a process and driving people through that process to help you build better online reviews. So the first part of it is creating a page where you're going to make it really simple for people to find the review sites.
Josh: First of all-- can we go back and just explain to folks what a funnel is, first of all?
Well, a funnel is typically just a series of steps that you're going to move people through as you kind of get them through different stages. You know, it’s the element of “How are you going to drive people to your review funnel? What are you going to ask them to do with the review funnel?” Which is write a review for you. You're going to direct them to the right sites that are important for your business. And then you're going to monitor the process.
And there are different ways that you can handle the invitation process. You can hand out cards with a URL that’s attached. If you have a brick and mortar place of business, printed it on your sales receipts. Put it on your menus. If you’ve got a restaurant, take advantage of your tabletop. Or you can either text people and then ask them to write a review or you can email them to write a review. But you want to make it as simple as possible. If you make the process too hard, then they’re likely to not take advantage of running a review for you.
So what we really encourage is pick the two or three review sites that matter for you the most and then create a page where people literally just have to click a button to say, “Okay, I want to write a review for you on Google. Or I want to write a review for you on TripAdvisor.” You can't really do this with Yelp. Yelp really wants reviews to happen in a very natural, organic way.
Unfortunately, that natural organic way that most people only write reviews when they’ve had a negative experience and they really skewed at the negative. And they don't talk about their experiences when it’s positive. I think it’s maybe just human nature. We have a tendency to remember the things that are negative and that kind of stick with us.
And I think there are a lot of people that want to protect others out there when they’ve had a bad experience. But it’s absolutely critical for you to have positive reviews. And positive reviews are only going to happen if you ask.
And then, not all review sites are equal. There was just, I think, Jay Baer with Convince and Convert - I saw an article that he just did that talked about Google is now definitely the #1 review property on the web. And that would be the starting point, I would say, every business that’s got a physical place of business, that’s where you want to get reviews. There is nothing that’s better for a small business, or a medium-sized business, or a brick and mortar business than to be found on that Google Map result. And online reviews on Google are really one of the strongest ways to help you be found on the Google Map results. And that’s going to be triggered when somebody types in a search phrase, plus a location.
Josh: So you want to get positive reviews. So my question is, What can small businesses do to get reviews at the point of contact? Like, I just finished eating dinner in a restaurant, there should be something that they can do to get me to take out my phone and write a review right then and there--
Ken: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. You go ahead, I'm sorry.
Josh: --because I'm not going to write a review when I get a home. I'm just not going to do it. Now, I'm old—
Ken: That’s right.
Josh: --so I might not be the normal person but it seems to me that if they could set up some sort of a bot system where it gets complicated a bit but some methodology makes it easy to write reviews at the point of contact. They would get better reviews.
Ken: I agree. Asking at the point of contact while the customer’s having the experience is the best time. And so, whether you're an HVAC contractor that has just finished installing a new air conditioner for somebody and they’ve got cooling for the first time in the hot summer that’s the perfect time to ask them to go write a review. Make it easy. Give them the review link. Don't make them go hunt for a review site. Say, “Go to this webpage.” Give them the URL and click the number of stars. And then you can choose the review site that you want to go to. And you’ve already done the work for them. For an HVAC contractor, it’s going to be Google. It may be Home Advisor, Angie’s List, or something like that.
Make it super easy but you’ve got to make it a process. You’ve got to institutionalize it. And you’ve got to create the assets that are just going to sit there, like take advantage of your physical space. Make sure that you have your review links on your menu, on your receipts.
Josh: Yeah. That makes perfectly good sense, especially with the people who have this obsession with taking pictures of what they’re eating.
Ken: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely, so.
Josh: And my daughter does that. So that would seem to be an Instagram sort of thing.
Ken: One thing that you’ll see, Google actually will ask you as a reminder, a lot of times, “How was your experience of such and such place?” because if you’ve checked in on your phone, or just literally the fact that if your phone is on and your GPS is turned is on your phone, Google knows where you were and it will send you a reminder to say, “Hey, how was your experience at such and such?” I mean, I have that happen more and more. So that’s only going to accelerate.
And here’s another thing to think about in terms of online reviews. I mean, with Google Lens, which I think they’re rolling out to Android very soon if they haven’t already and the iPhone app is supposed to be pretty close, you're literally going to be able to take out your phone, point it at a location and it’s not going to be too far into the future where Google’s going to pull up information about that business including the number of online reviews. And it’s the single most impactful thing for their local search engine optimization.
Josh: And again, just for folks who are listening, search engine optimization is what you do to help get your business be highly ranked on Google.
Ken: That’s right.
Josh: Ken, you can probably back this up. But I can tell you, from my own personal experience, I almost never go past three pages of searches. And probably 60% to 70% of the time I don't go past the first page.
Ken: Yeah. I think statistics, overall, are considerably higher if you're not showing up on the first page, it drops way down to the point where almost nobody is going to the second page anymore. It depends on what you're looking for, you know? Í mean, if you're looking for a problem to a solution, you may not have phrased that question exactly the right way to get you the right search results. So there, you might scroll through a couple of different search results pages. But if you're looking for a place to eat or a contractor to come in and fix a problem in your home, or build a new sun room, or put a roof on your house or anything like that, you're not going to go past the first page.
Josh: Another thing, I would want to end on this topic. Unfortunately, we're almost out of time. And then we're going to get into— we’ll stay with Facebook Live. And when we go back to Facebook Live, I want to talk to you about the resources that you really should be putting into this.
But it seems, with these talking devices like Alexa and Apple- whatever they call their thing, and Google Play, I guess, people are speaking more long tail search items. They’re asking questions in sentences.
Josh: Not just “restaurants”, they’re going to say like “What’s the best restaurant in Burlington, Vermont that is Indian food?”
Ken: Right, absolutely.
Yeah, mobile search and those intelligent search devices like Alex and what not, those are changing search behavior, absolutely.
Josh: So what would you recommend to a small business that they can do to help themselves with those searches because, to me, that type of search is way more valuable to a business, especially a small business than a generic thing that’s going to bring up General Motors?
So if they’re doing search for top whatever, then, obviously, that implies that you better have a really strong review situation. You’ve got to have a strong composite review score. And you’ve got to have a lot of reviews to kind of back that up.
I think it’s really important to think about what those questions are that people are asking and make sure that you have content that’s optimized, that’s going to help you show up in those types of searches. And that’s where you really have to think about— and instead of just listing services and products that you might have, you really are going to have to shift and use more of the language that people are using as they’re doing searches to help you be found for the—
Just real quick, fundamental to that is Google and the other search engines use schema.org which is a markup of the content that you have on your website. And so, that’s how you're going to get your data to show up in the knowledge panel. The knowledge panel is what pops up when you do a search and you see a big display of results where there are the questions to the answers that you asked that show up. The way you get into that knowledge panel is you have to have the content that’s written specifically to kind of match that and to have it marked up in a way so that when the search engines find it, they can peruse as one of top answers.
Josh: So, Ken, unfortunately we are now out of time.
Josh: And I would bet that people would love to be able to find you and not just your book. So how would they go about doing that?
Ken: Well, our website is changescapeweb.com. And we're on most of the social media platforms using the handle @changescape – Twitter, Instagram. And our Facebook page is just facebook.com/changescape. That’s probably the easiest way to find us. It’s just to go to our website and contact me from there.
Josh: And I also have an offer for you. I have a new book. There it is right there.
Ken: Okay, cool. Nice.
Josh: It’s called Sustainable: A Fable About Creating a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business. It’s really easy to get. All you have to do is go to our book website which is www.sustainablethebook.com. Click on the big orange button and you can buy the book.
And if you buy the book through my website - you can also get it at Amazon. But if you get it through my website, you get two bonuses. One is a 37-page how-to implement the lessons in Sustainable, a guide I wrote. And the second is you get to have a free 20-minute conversation with me about a problem you're having in your business or an opportunity you're not taking advantage of. And I can promise you that at the end of the 20-minutes you're going to walk away with at least one thing of actionable take home value that you can use in your business.
This is Josh Patrick. You've been at the Sustainable Business. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.