When you think about technology and big business, most people think of large cities and prime locations, such as Silicon Valley located in the Bay Area of California. But is the Silicon Valley’s dominance in tech innovation coming to an end? Inc.com says small town America is poised to become the next Silicon Valley. What is changing? Location is becoming less about being connected to an office and more about being connected to a place that lends itself to creativity, family and community.
Many entrepreneurs launch startups in rural settings and achieve great success. Location is no longer a limiting factor for tech-focused businesses. Rural America, including Northern Arizona, offers many benefits to start-up businesses that are looking for lower living and business costs, less traffic, connectivity to nature and a family-focused community to raise children.
“The City of Flagstaff’s Economic Development Team works closely with the technology sector and know this industry is our future,” said City of Flagstaff Economic Vitality Director Heidi Hansen. “Flagstaff is known for its cutting-edge science and research and we have the facilities, organizations and leaders to help make other businesses successful while offering a lifestyle that truly makes it a pleasure to call Flagstaff home.”
Matt and Taylor Benton, had the same thought when they chose to leave the giant startup hub of Los Angeles two years ago and come to Flagstaff with their three young boys to launch a new app-based business, Real Time Reviews.
“We are delighted to hear the news that this company is coming from the Silicon Valley and taking root in Northern Arizona,” said Hansen.
Matt, an expert in digital marketing, works closely with Taylor, who supports the tech company’s logistics and sales. Together, they are a dynamic duo in the world of Internet marketing and technology.
Matt is what some would call a “Google Nerd,” a name he is proud to have earned the past decade. The couple’s combined knowledge of online marketing trends prompted them to start a self-funded tech business that would help other businesses grow and thrive.
The best way to drive new consumers to your business? Online reviews and ratings. Reviews and ratings show the value and integrity of your business to those looking for your service and product. They also boost where your business shows up via an online search.
“Today’s consumers, who are mostly Millennials, search online when looking for a service or product,” Matt explained. “The online reputation of a business is of the utmost importance. Wise businesses encourage their satisfied customers to leave positive ratings on critical review sites because they know reviews are a primary means to drive new consumers to their business.”
Why are reviews so important? Consider:
- For your business to show up on Google, it must be rated by others.
- Ninety-two percent of consumers read online reviews when looking for a local business.
- Most people trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.
- Often, the first factor people use to judge a business is online ratings.
- Seventy percent of customers will review a business when asked.
- Only three percent of customers will give a review at a later time.
“Google has made reviews one of the most important factors to determine search results,” Matt explained. “These reviews are a key factor in how high on the search results page a business will be seen. You can have the best plumbing business in town with the best website and superior customer service, but if you aren’t getting reviews, then chances are your business won’t be easily found when Googled.”
“It may seem awkward at first to ask your customers to leave a positive review online, but not with Real Time Reviews. A text message is sent immediately to the customer’s phone, asking them to provide feedback on their experience. All they have to do is click on the link and provide feedback – no emails, no remembering to review, no hassle. In just a few seconds, the reviews are sent to the business and linked to web-based review pages such as Google.”
According to Matt, more than 40 percent of Real Time Reviews requests are completed, in comparison to the industry average of only three percent. The company also offers short- and long-term digital and social media networking and marketing strategies.
“We want people to be successful in the businesses they have poured their heart, time and finances into,” Taylor said. “We are confident Real Time Reviews is a powerful tool to help entrepreneurs increase their customer base, focus on customer service and monitor employee engagement. We are committed to hiring local people and students from Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College; hopefully, a few will stay in Flagstaff and keep working for us.” FBN
Real Time Reviews is located at 4 S. San Francisco St. For more information on services, stop by the office, call 800-497-4609 or visit RealTimeReviews.com or Facebook.com/RealTimeReviews.
By Starla S. Collins, FBN