How To Use Content To Market MMJ Dispensaries [Part 3 of 4]
So far we have discussed the importance of having a properly optimized website, consistent citation information across different sites and how various link building methods can help build customer relationships and online authority. Each of the above tactics plays an essential role in a digital marketing campaign. As does our Part 3 discussion, local reviews.
The rise of review sites has given consumers a louder voice in the success and perception of local businesses everywhere, cannabis related companies included. As an MMJ owner, it is necessary that you engage in the conversation about your business whether the topic is good or bad. Engagement allows you to defend and advance your company in a manner that reflects your value while gaining support and constraining bad reviews.
Similar to citation and link building, having reviews on several consumer sites is a smart and logical way to maximize your review efforts. Some sites will syndicate your reviews giving you more exposure, just remember that unfavorable conversation gets syndicated as well.
While some review sites (GMB page, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) may carry more weight in the review ecosystem, getting positive reviews on a citation, cannabis related, social media and consumer site can assist with online and offline traffic and visibility.
While some local marketing experts believe getting a continuous flow of good reviews can improve a business ranking in search engines, a more important reason to implement a review strategy is the power that positive/negative feedback has to convince others to try or not try your product or service.
You should always be aware of a consumer’s site’s guidelines to solicitation of reviews. Some sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, do not want you to solicit reviews and have filters in place to reinforce their strict policy. Again, check and see what is and is not allowed as not to get legitimate reviews deleted.
What you should do:
- Have print materials and a web page that shows a list of sites where you can be reviewed.
- Link out to review sites from your website.
- Train budtenders on how to request a review after providing service.
What you should not do:
- Write fake reviews.
- Pay for fake reviews.
- Try to get several reviews quickly.
There is no need to game the system. You only need a few reviews a month. Keep it natural and reap the benefits.
Replying To Reviews
Responding to positive reviews is easy and time should be taken to do this. Responding to bad reviews takes some skill and an understanding that you can not be defensive. The objective of your response should be for you to own the situation, let prospective customers know this will not happen to them and make it right (optional, cannot always be done, but if it can, do it). Keep it short and non-defensive as future customers will be watching.
Below are the key “takeaways” from a 2016 BrightLocal survey of 1,062 individuals:
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to
- 90% of consumers read less than ten reviews before forming an opinion about a business
- 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
- 73% of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important
In Part 4 and our final post in this series, we will be discussing the available free and paid advertising options for dispensaries.