With St Patrick's Day just around the corner, you might be starting to feel the luck of the Irish. Luck like this is great for finding a penny or not getting caught in the rain, but shouldn't be taken for granted when it comes down to your business' reputation.

St Patrick's Day is a religious and cultural celebration that takes place annually on 17th March. The day commemorates the Patron Saint St Patrick, marking the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and of Irish heritage and culture. In recent years, St Patrick's Day is mostly known as a day for excessive eating, excessive drinking and overall excessive fun, being the most widely celebrated holiday across nations.

People from all over - dressed from head to toe in green and clover-themed clothing, armed with St Patrick's decorations and paraphernalia - take the time to visit restaurants and bars, heading out to take part in festivals or street parades, with some even travelling as far as Ireland for an authentic St Patrick's Day experience.

St Patrick's Day on the whole is a fun-filled affair, which offers your business a great opportunity to get on board the green bus. However, I'm not going to tell you how to weave St Paddy's into your marketing strategy, instead, I'm going to pose a question:

How's your online reputation looking?

With hoards of individuals looking for places to eat, sleep, drink and have fun - whilst all the while maintaining a garb of green - is your business going to make the cut?

Savvy shoppers

With the rise of the internet, eCommerce and online shopping, we've grown accustomed to having what we want at the click of a button. We have also learnt that the internet isn't always an honest or reliable place. Unlike shopping within a store where you asses product or service quality with your senses, you have to rely on a written description and a manufacturers image alone.

Therefore, we look for trust signals that the company we're planning to purchase from is credible: A responsive and user-friendly website, high quality images, often from more than one angle, with rich descriptions and a secure checkout process. Not only that, we look for proof. And this proof comes in the shape of peer experiences - a review. If we're able to see that a swarthe of individuals before us testify to the item or service's quality, then it's good enough for us as well.

68% read reviews whilst they build their shortlist, so if you're a business without review stars to your name your potential customers will most likely look elsewhere. More importantly, 90% who read reviews will subsequently visit a business, a striking figure during St Patrick's Day spending.

However, of that 90, 72% choose to only trust a business when they display reviews on their website and across other review channels. So once again, how is your online reputation looking?

Google Local, Yelp, TripAdvisor & co.

With your shoppers perusing the web planning their St Patrick's Day they will naturally come across local review channels featuring your business. Once again if your business has no reviews to your name compared to a competitor with at least 1 - let alone well into double digits - it's obvious where shoppers will click first.

Just from that selection, Maskerade, Party Delights, Boogie Knights and Happy Daze all look appealing. They trump OnPoint Fancy Dress and The Hot Shop as my eyes are instantly attracted to their stars. Not only are they stealing my attention, they're also taking my custom. From that selection it just comes down to distance, if the item I want is in stock at a good price, potentially with some product review stars. The Hot Shop might have had exactly what I wanted, but why take the risk when they're just not exuding the same trust signals that the others are?

You shouldn't just focus your attention on your online reputation during busy spending periods such as St Patrick's Day or big players like Black Friday and Christmas. You need to build and maintain a solid reputation throughout the year and into the next to strengthen shopper trust, drive conversion and grow your brand.

Not only that, these local channels attract all types of individuals. It just happens that the above stores all have great ratings, but it's not always the case. As local channels are often open platforms, this means anyone can easily pop on to leave a review. This is both a blessing and a curse. You can be grateful for the odd stranger that has something good to say, but there will be at least 2 others looking to vent.

If they have legitimate issues, negative reviews should be welcomed as an opportunity to reach out and resolve problems, actually putting your business in a positive light. But problems arise when you run into reviewers who have clearly never used your services, or have and are bent out of shape on completely unreasonable grounds.

e.g they received their product 2 days late because a hurricane delayed shipping. Or they just didn't like the trousers you were wearing that day. Who knows.

That's why active collection on local channels is imperative because it directs real customers who you know have used your services to review you there, populating those sites with authentic experiences that reflect the true quality of your services.

Collecting, publishing & managing reviews

Active review collection may seem like a hurdle, especially when there are so many local review channels to keep tabs on, but that's where our solution takes the load off, leaving you to focus on what's important for your business.

Securing a shining online reputation

Reviews.io enables you to take control of your reputation on local channels across Google that not only impacts your shoppers purchase decisions, but acts to populate it with reviews that accurately represent your business. Choose a percentage of your customers and direct them to leave reviews across a variety of local channels of your choosing, including Facebook, Yelp, Google Local and AutoTrader, plus many more.

Not only do you improve your review total and reach, you create a consistent online reputation wherever shoppers look, placing you top of the list against competitors.

Asking for reviews

Review collection is a breeze with our automated email invitations and on-the-go invites via SMS. You can even ask your customers for a company review right after point of purchase or service with our In-store app. There's no one-size fits all when it comes to our solutions, which is why we are constantly adding to our platform to stay flexible and meet your business needs. That's why we introduced Engage Bot. Engage Bot enables you to ask for a review via Facebook Messenger facilitating connection with your customers in a way that's natural to you and them.

Showcasing reviews

After collection the most important step is enabling shoppers to actually see those review stars as demonstrated on Firebox's website and Maskerade's Google My Business account. Otherwise you just have a collection of feedback collecting digital dust with none of the benefits for your business attached. Plus you've done that hardest bit - the benefits are an easy ride from here!

Using badges and widgets, effortlessly publish reviews on your homepage and across individual product pages to engage shoppers when they reach your business, retaining their attention in that initial click driving them towards the checkout. Reviews dynamically displayed across your website keep content on your webpages fresh, contributing to improved SEO. Appearing high with in the SERPs is one thing, but you still have to establish that click in the first place, especially with a bunch of other businesses offering the same services as you. That's where your online Google presence becomes salient.

With a Rich Results-friendly widget, reviews displayed using this structured data on certain pages of your website can be read by Google, and subsequently presented alongside your business name and products in the listings. Eye-catching review stars shown organically such as Firebox's below is what draws shoppers in, with organic traffic increased by 22%, putting you head and shoulders above the rest.

Stars in paid ads

Lastly, if you pay for Google Ads or use Google Shopping, this is where your reviews get even more lucrative. As a Google licensed review partner, Reviews.io allows you to display those company review stars as Seller Ratings in your Google Ads and as Product Ratings in your Google Shopping listings! We send your reviews in a feed to Google - a benefit unique to licensed partners unavailable through independent review collection. Seller Ratings facilitate more traffic meaning more clicks on your ads, ultimately reducing your CPA by up to 17% helping to smarten your ad spend.

Blog summary

So, how's your online reputation looking? Don't leave it down to luck and let it fall flat, especially in the lead up to St Patrick's Day with shoppers spending both online and locally, voting with their feet.

Stand proud with review stars alongside local listings, your company and products in organic searches and in any paid ads, putting all eyes on you.

For more information on how you can improve your online reputation through review collection, get in touch. Alternatively, try for yourself by booking a demo using one of the buttons.