My Franchise Journey…Google Reviews

Note: Post #23. Imagine being 60 years old with a Ph. D. and 35+ years of non-profit administration experience, most as Vice President or Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement in colleges and universities. Now you are buying a franchise and becoming a small business owner. This is my story.

Count this among the many things I did not see coming a year ago. I am currently securing Google Reviews to promote me and my business. It seems that positive Google Reviews are the coin of the digital marketing realm. The more reviews you have and the higher the overall rating the better. For better or worse, this is our world.

Who hasn’t checked out on-line reviews for the things you are considering buying or the services you may choose to use? They have become an essential part of the decision-making process on whether to make a purchase or contract with a service provider. This all makes perfect sense. It has also forced the more savvy among us to develop new discernment abilities to interpret and decipher good and bad reviews for their validity. We have learned that it is not at all unusual to see a product clearly state its limitations — “Not for use when doing X” — only to find a nasty, one-star review proclaiming “This product is a waste of money. It does not work when doing X.” Yet, wade through enough reviews and you can gain a good picture of a product or service’s usefulness and likelihood to adequately fulfill its stated purpose.

It is also quickly apparent that on-line reviews put new businesses and products at a disadvantage. It is challenging to produce glowing reviews about an item or company that is new to the market. In my case, search “mosquito control in Burlington County” and I want to be near or at the top of those companies listed. The challenge is that on-line marketing algorithms use the number and quality of reviews to move business listings higher in their search listings. How does one get business and subsequent positive reviews if one cannot gain on-line visibility?

Not to worry…character reviews to the rescue. While digital platforms have many checks and balances in place to maintain the integrity of the reviews and subsequent business rankings they list, they do allow for reviews that speak to a business owner’s integrity and potential to provide the quality service or product that is promised. Variations on a 5-star review stating “I’ve known Mosquito Hunters new owner in Burlington County for 25 years and you can count on him for quality service with the utmost attention to detail” goes a long way in raising one’s on-line visibility and profile.

When the business is up and running it will be imperative to supplement these character reviews with those that evaluate the quality of the company and the service provided. For now, I am reaching out to friends and colleagues and asking them to go to my Google My Business (GMB) listing and leave a 5-star character review. The first ones are just starting to come in and I am finding them humbling and encouraging. It is a blessing to have developed so many relationships over the years with people who are happy to say good things on my behalf. ‘Skeeter season in my area is about 4–6 weeks away. I am grateful to those who are helping me increase my digital image!

35+ year college Advancement professional making a career change at 60 years of age. Am buying a franchise and becoming a small business owner.