joint venture marketing
Businesses that service a defined region need to be very conscious of their online reputation and maintain strong profiles on sites like Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and many others in order to attract new business from the local community. These local focused sites are in essence, an online business directory that has social components built in. When a customer leaves a review and then shares the review with their Facebook account, not only have they left a permanent record about their personal experience with a product or company, but their entire network of family and friends also are informed.
A business can benefit greatly from a strong online reputation and just as easily fail miserably because of too many vocal customers that were upset about a product or service and leave negative reviews and poor ratings. Not only can a weak online reputation limit a business’s ability to grow in a community, they can harm the potential for a successful joint venture partnership from ever getting off the ground because no established brand wants to associate their product with a company that is seen in poor standing. Achieving a great reputation online allows you to not only demonstrate to a partner the ability to provide excellent service to customers, but it’s a great asset that can be leveraged to close the deal when a business attracts new customers.
These are highlights of what to do in order to have a successful local company profile page to attract new business.
Setting up a local page
- Complete the profile including the address, this is critical because users may be looking for plumbers in New Jersey and if that’s you, then you need to show up. This also allows for the business listing to be displayed in Google Maps and other location based services.
- Maximize the category and sub categories for your business. In many of the local business directory websites on the web the profile section will include a place for selecting the industry and any related sub categories. Maximize the number of selections as long as they are relevant to their business.
- Upload the company logo for the main image for the profile or a quality picture of the outside of the office / facility. If the business is a consumer facing business with a retail store it’s important to have the front of the store as the first picture and several pictures of the inside as the secondary pictures.
- Send instructions to your website developer to place icons on your home page and “contact us” page that lead directly to the profile on Google Places and Yelp. If the business is a member of the Better Business Bureau, then also link directly to the business profile on the BBB’s website using their seal of approval logo.
Get Positive Reviews
- Reach out to three customers that have been loyal to the business. If this is a new business, then work hard with your initial customers and ask them to follow the same steps. Send the 3 customers the link to one of the online local web pages and ask for a positive rating and review. It’s best to spread these emails out over several days to stagger the reviews so they appear more natural. Then reach out to three more customers and repeat with a different website. In the course of a couple of weeks, the business will have several very unique and positive reviews across several different local websites.
- When sending follow up messages to customers have a script already written that asks for a positive review on a specific site or you can list the sites with all of the links and ask for a review on one of the sites. Most business owners don’t recognize how many customers truly appreciate the hard work and would give them a great review, but will not do so unless they are encouraged to write the review, so start encouraging the best customers to help attract new business by writing a positive review.
Leverage a Positive Reputation
- Show the positive reviews that are being written about the business when in discussions with new potential partners. This helps alleviate fears that they may have about how their customers will be catered to when they refer them over.
- Utilize the links to the review sites like Yelp and Google Places when sending out marketing collateral in attempts to attract new business from existing client bases of new joint venture partners. This demonstrates the commitment to servicing each customer and the business is open and transparent about its interactions with customers.
Many companies try and hide from local web pages because of the potential for negative reviews that is why it is so important to leverage positive reviews and a strong online reputation when attracting new business. It can be easier for a mid-level person inside of a business to sell a new joint venture partnership to executives when the potential partner company is capable of providing the value that they are looking for and maintain a strong reputation in the local community for providing excellent service.
christian fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A joint venture marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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