Digital Bytes: Word of mouth

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ReviewSprout leverages your reputation to grow your business.

October 13, 2015

It’s one of the great fears of businesses in the digital age. A customer catches you or one of your employees at a bad moment, and the unhappy customer goes home and types up a scathing review of your company and all its failures. These days, they might not even wait until they get home. Are you a forward-thinking business with its own Facebook or Yelp page? Get ready for a bad review to mar your pristine, carefully-cultivated reputation. Something one person types on a phone from your parking lot could influence potential customers searching online for your business or your services. It’s the type of thing that keeps business owners up at night.

Salem, Ore.-based Third River Marketing created ReviewSprout to help green industry businesses build, promote and manage their online reputation. Tim Fahndrich, founder of ReviewSprout and president of Third River Marketing says that is the only reputation marketing and management platform built specifically for the green industry. The service is aiming at a broad swath of horticultural companies, targeting landscapers and lawn care professionals, landscape designers, landscape architects, irrigation installers, hardscape contractors, garden centers, nurseries, pest control, and more.

ReviewSprout was presented with a Retailer’s Choice Award at the 2015 Farwest Show in Portland, Ore. The awards recognize outstanding new live goods and hard goods that are available for garden retailers to sell. Award winners were chosen by The Garden Center Group, an alliance consisting of over 150 companies, is the industry’s business development resource for garden centers and suppliers.

Today’s customers are looking online for reviews, and they’re smart, savvy and wary of anything that doesn’t pass the smell test. ReviewSprout assists green industry businesses by helping them get found and stand out above the competition, Fahndrich says. Consumers are making “almost instant decisions of where to shop based on search visibility, online reviews, social media engagement, and mobile accessibility,” he says. uses a proprietary system to proactively gather feedback and reviews from customers and turn those reviews into a marketing asset. Using the concept of what the company calls a Reputation Marketing Power Wheel, it facilitates the entire process beginning with a new or recent customer transaction all the way through the generation of new leads who in turn become new customers, and the process starts all over again.

First, you upload your recent customer contacts into the ReviewSprout system and send a fully customizable automated email series inviting them to submit feedback about their experience with your company. Next, your customers are given their choice of review platform. There are many third-party choices, and all the biggies are there: Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List, and more. Or they can simply type their feedback into your company’s branded ReviewSprout review engine.

So now that your company has some solid testimonials from eager customers, you’re all set, right? Well, that’s a good start. But that’s when the “reputation marketing” part of ReviewSprout’s platform kicks in. Social media syndication leads to more likes, comments, reach and engagement, which leads to a stronger presence with the search engines, which leads to more people finding your business on Google, Bing or Yahoo!

Interested businesses can get started with a 15-day trial of Reputation Builder package for $1 to take a test drive of the system, or you can select from one of three packages that best fits your goals and your budget. Once the almost-free trial is over, the Reputation Builder package costs $97 per month.


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