GetFiveStars  recently rebranded as GatherUp . The company says the new name better conveys how it helps businesses leverage their online business listings and reviews. Co-founder Mike Blumenthal told us in an exclusive interview that getting online business listings is only the beginning. It’s how you leverage those listings, and the associated customer reviews that often appear on listings and in search results, that make all the difference.
Get Customer Reviews and Much More
Business listings and online reviews have become increasingly important to online success. GatherUp is a service that helps businesses:
- encourage satisfied customers to leave both direct reviews and public online reviews;
- get notified of new customer reviews and efficiently respond to them;
- aggregate and embed reviews on the business’s own website;
- manage the data that appears about the business in search results; and
- learn from reviews and improve service.
GatherUp, now based in Minnesota, launched in 2013 under the name GetFiveStars. But increasingly they found the name didn’t convey all it did for small businesses, franchises and midsize to large businesses, according to Blumenthal.
“When we started out, our main purpose was to help businesses get more online positive reviews. Back then the name ‘Get Five Stars,’ which referred to 5-star reviews, aptly described what we did,” says Blumenthal.
“Fast forward to today, and the product does so much more. We now help businesses go beyond getting more reviews. We go several steps further and position them to ‘own’ their reviews.
“That puts business owners and managers in charge. They can display those reviews where they matter. And with our tools they can gain insights from those reviews. It’s an end-to-end offering.”
Google as Your New Home Page
Blumenthal says the online world is continuously evolving. Online reviews are more important than ever, leaving business owners scrambling to discover the ins and outs.
“An important part of what we deliver is a system that helps business owners and managers learn from customer reviews and improve. We help ‘gather up’ reviews that reflect a business’s real world word of mouth and put that information on their website. We also help that business be more successful through analysis of what customers liked and didn’t like. Then businesses can take action to improve,” he adds.
Customer reviews are an incredibly valuable asset in today’s world, said Blumenthal. Businesses should take control of their customer reviews, not leave them to the whims of third party sites like Google, Facebook or Yelp.
But that doesn’t mean search engine and review sites like Google aren’t important.
To the contrary, Google, especially, is crucial, asserts Blumenthal. “We advise small businesses to think of Google as your new Home page. Your Google brand result is one of your most important pages on the internet. That is not to say it can replace your website. It can’t. But your Google presence should reflect the best your business has to offer. People searching will see how you appear in Google and make immediate judgments.”
“Seventy percent (70%) of new leads start at Google,” Blumenthal says. The support for that statistic comes from GatherUp data.
“While traditional word of mouth remains important for all businesses, an in-store case study  indicated that most new users were coming from online. We studied  strong user intent signals — phone calls, driving directions, messages, contact form fills — from all online sources. Google was the number one spot for new users to take action to connect with a business. And that behavior was strongly influenced by Google showing customer reviews from the business website as well as reviews from the likes of Google and Facebook,” he adds.
And what is the next best source for new customers, after Google? The business website is a strong second. Facebook, a distant third.
You Have a Business Listing. Now What?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have no control over how your business appears in Google results, insists Blumenthal. There are a number of things you can do.
Get and claim business listings. Make sure they are accurate.
But that’s only the start. Think beyond the listing, urges Blumenthal. Have a strategy to ‘market’ your customer reviews.
“One of the best ways to succeed across these new realities is to fully understand what your customers are saying. Ask them for your own reviews, known as first party reviews.
Then use that ‘user generated content’ to reinforce your marketing by improving your processes and improving your website. Build content around the things customers said they liked most about your business. Embed customer reviews in your site using schema markup, which our product does automatically for you. In turn, this will improve your Google results,” he says.
In other words, take great care of your customers. Care about what they think. Encourage them to share the great things about you they believe. And when they do, give that content a boost to make sure those good things appear far and wide online.
“It’s a winning formula in today’s landscape,” says Blumenthal.