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February 8, 2023

Local Marketing Insider LIVE Video Channel // Local Marketing Insider #052

Video channel release and seven videos worth watching.

For a year now, Matt and I have been sitting down on a video call each Thursday morning to record his thoughts and insights. The result: 37 videos (and 17 currently in editing).

You may have seen the content on Linkedin or throughout this newsletter over the past year.

We call the video series Local Marketing Insider Live, and now it’s available all in one place for easy browsing.

LMI Live Channel Preview

This week I’ve pulled out six of my favorite lessons from these recordings. 

1. Reviews are Depreciating Assets

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There is a common misconception that once a business has reached a certain threshold of reviews they’ve “achieved the goal.” Reviews are written and the business is done.

This is the wrong way to think about reviews.

The usefulness of a review reduces as it ages. Your customers want to know what your business is like now and a review from even just three weeks ago is less trustworthy than a review from yesterday.

Similarly, Google’s algorithm uses review recency and frequency as a measure for your business’s current health to determine rankings in real time.

Takeaway: Reviews need to be generated consistently to have the most impact with prospects and search engines.

2. Why Google Has Increased Its Focus on Reviews in the Last Six Years

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The answer is simple: it’s good for Google’s market share.

With 90%+ market share, Google’s primary objective is to limit the number of people who leave the service to search for information elsewhere. It does that by providing the best recommendations.

The primary data points Google uses to determine if your business is a good fit are your product category, your location and your review content.

Within the last couple of years, reviews passed proximity in their impact on rankings (within reason).

3. From a Business Owner’s Perspective, How to Analyze Investing in an In-House Review Response Team vs. an Outsourced Partner

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Let’s do the math.

Say your employee salary is $60,000/yr and 10% of their time goes to review response. 

That’s a $6,000/yr investment, or $500/month not including review aggregation and reporting technology.

Factor in employee benefits, turnover and recruiting costs and training - likely that number is higher.

We also see many senior-level employees, making more than $60k (owners, general managers), responding to reviews.

To put a fine point on it, vendor options are generally less than $500/month and the quality of work is great.

On a pure cost basis, outsourcing is far more efficient, technology is included and turnover costs are absorbed by the vendor. And from our POV, the vendor-managed result is better, the staff being writers trained in SEO and response best practices. The value is clear to us and that’s why review response is the foundation of Widewail.

4. Trust Distribution: 91% vs. 38%

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A study by Kantar reported 91% of consumers trust review sites but only 38% trust ads. 

And yet, ads dominate many businesses' marketing spend. I think we can learn a lot from this study and start integrating highly trusted information (peer reviews and user-generated content) into advertising.

Buyers trust their peers for information. The best ads blend in. This is the reason behind the rise of TikTok, Reels, creators, influencers - they all have varying degrees of independence from brands and, as a result, foster more trust and lead to action.

5. Disrupt the Status Quo

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Widewail client Koons Automotive Group put 30,000 new reviews into its target markets in 17 months.

That level of activity reworks the playing field and hones a competitive advantage that is hard to beat. 

Koons is also feeding reviews to its newly-created service department Google Business Profiles, part of a multi-GBP strategy. Now, they compete directly with independent repair shops.

6. Think Beyond the Transaction to Unlock More Review Opportunities

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The businesses that are truly ahead of the curve in 2023 will look for new opportunities to generate reviews in addition to the widely-adopted post-transaction request. 

Review volume for any business is directly proportional to the number of review opportunities. Increase the opportunities and volume will increase in response.

The reviewable moments will be unique to each type of business, so consider what material interactions are you having with customers and prospects that could merit a review request.

A test drive? An estimate? After a 6-month post-transaction check in?

Whatever it may be, the interaction needs to be significant enough to merit an additional request. 

For example, in property management, we’ve seen a 60% increase in review opportunities for firms that have added requests after a completed apartment tour.

7. Do You Know What’s in New York Super Fudge Chunk?
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Probably not every ingredient. I know I don’t. But neither of us works for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. 

The lesson here is about knowledge and ownership of the product across the entire organization.

In high school, Matt worked as a scooper at one of the company’s local shops. At the time, if you asked him what was in New York Super Fudge Chunk, he could list off the ingredients on the spot. Same goes for anybody in accounting, marketing, transportation, operations - you get the point. All employees are required to have a thorough knowledge of the products.

Matt has taken that lesson and instilled it in the Widewail team.

Widewail is establishing itself in the market with a reputation for great service. It’s about all-hands-on-deck universal accountability, no matter the role.

For example, even though this is a “marketing” email, I get a lot of support questions simply because I come up a lot when people search for “widewail” in their emails. I'm all about it. Keep em coming.

Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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