Forget about the World Wide Web. It can’t play a significant role in growing your business, right? Wrong! It’s not 1999 any more and the Internet is now the primary place that people turn to for answers.
Yes, people access social media to share their lives with friends. But when they switch gears and need to make a decision about a product or service, especially locally, one of their most asked questions is: “Can I trust this company?” So that’s why your business’s online reputation matters.
Increasingly, the decisions people make are aided by using review sites, social media, forums, and other digital channels.
Why Your Online Reputation Is Very Important
Of course, you know that as a general concept, having a stellar reputation is ideal. How people perceive your business can mean the difference between throngs of raving fans eager to give you their money or the kiss of death. This is even more important for local businesses because they typically deal with people face to face, and therefore rely on happy customers to spread the word.
Now what do you think happens if a customer has a less than satisfactory experience with your company? You guessed it. They will make a mad dash to their favorite online review site and share their disappointment with the world. But it won’t stop there. They will also go on social media sites and tell their friends. So if you aren’t monitoring and growing your online reputation, you’ll have very little or nothing to buttress the negative feedback.
Perhaps your instincts are telling you that most people aren’t searching for, or paying attention to, reviews and comments about your business. If you think that, then you won’t like any of the following survey statistics:
– 65% of people use, and rely on, the Internet as their primary source of information.
– An annual survey performed by Google has found that since 2012 about 83% of people will have already made the decision to buy an item before walking into a store.
– Consumers check an average of 12-15 resources before making a final buying decision.
– 90% of customers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.
– 93% of US consumers check reviews before dining or shopping.
– 63% of people say that great reviews posted by others who used a particular real estate agent made them more likely to contact the same agent.
– 44% of Americans seek information about a particular doctor or medical professional before booking an appointment.
– 88% of people read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist. And those percentage are only going to continue to rise.
Gone are the days when people relied solely on the recommendation of a friend. Unfortunately, this passive referral method is the primary marketing strategy for many businesses. But it’s not a wise or sustainable method for growing a business over the long term.
Years ago, people simply didn’t have much information to go on when making choices. Now they have the Internet to find out all about your company. And if your online reputation is negative or non-existent, they will look to your competition. That’s because the current expectation of customers is that if your business is high quality, you should have a robust online presence beyond a web site. If your brand is really that good, satisfied customers should be singing your praises far and wide, right?
We offer affordable and effective solutions to this dilemma. But at a minimum, here are some things that you can do to increase the online reputation profile of your business.
5 Key Things Businesses Can Do To Enhance Their Online Reputation
1. Respond to Your Customers and Prospects
Did you know that customers and prospects are 34% more likely to do business with you when you respond to their questions and concerns on a timely basis? And if you do, they are 43% more likely to not only recommend you to their family and friends, but they will talk about your brand on social media.
But for many businesses this is still an area of lost opportunities. That’s because 56% of customers who mention a brand in a tweet, for example, never hear anything back. You can capitalize on these opportunities by monitoring and responding on social media and review sites.
2. Be Social
So we just mentioned that you should monitor and respond to customers. However, that’s just one side of the interaction. You should also create and share interesting content on social media. There’s a two-fold benefit to doing this. First, Google and other search engines will include your material in their index and have it show up in the rankings. That’s a positive signal about your company. Customers and prospects who research your business or brand will also discover the material and learn more about you.
Secondly, the more positive signals you put out, the more likely any negative feedback will sink much lower in the search engines.
3. Share and Promote Positive Feedback
What do you do when you go online and read a positive review or comment about your business? Well, if you’re like most business owners, you smile, pat yourself on the back and move on. But from now on, don’t walk away from a great opportunity. You should put some legs on positive comments by doing things like responding to them, adding them to blog posts and articles, and republishing them on your web site and other social properties.
Your goal is to get as many eyeballs as possible thinking that you’re the best thing since sliced bread. And while you’re at it, don’t be shy in asking for more reviews and comments from your customers.
4. Suppress the Impact of Negative Comments
No business does everything right 100% of the time. So a negative review or comment may show up online from time to time. You should not let them sit there without a response. You should address every one of them, without getting into a shouting match or name calling. That would be the absolute worst thing you could do. Giving a reviewer the smack down might make you feel good, but other people will read the exchange and likely view you and your business in a negative light.
So when you read a negative review, start by apologizing and accepting responsibility. Leave your name and phone number and ask them to call you so that you can make things right. By doing this, even if the reviewer doesn’t contact you, other customers and prospects will be more forgiving and remain open to doing business with you.
5. Make It a Goal to Establish a Positive Web Presence
If you care about what people think about your name, brand, and business in the offline world, you should care as much or even more about how you’re viewed online. That’s because the Internet is the new word-of-mouth source. You read the statistics that I provided earlier in this article. Plus, everything mentioned about you online is a permanent record.
So if you care about your reputation at all, then exert as much control over it online as possible. Use your own created content, customer reviews, blog posts, images, videos, and more to spread your business reputation far and wide on the Internet. Take advantage of digital channels such as social media, web site, forums, review sites, etc. Don’t leave it to chance. This way, when prospects come across an abundance of content mentioning your brand, you’ll have no trouble attracting more leads and getting more customers walking through your door.
Well, I’m not going to beat around the bush. The suggestions that I made above will greatly help your business’s online reputation. But you’ve probably already guessed that going from site to site and manually monitoring comments and interacting will take quite a bit of work. And most business owners will readily admit that they don’t have the extra time.
We can help by using our reputation management platform and strategies. It can monitor your company’s complete online reputation and allow you to respond to comments from a central dashboard. There’s also a review engine that is designed to get you more reviews and share them across multiple online properties.
That’s only the start. Our system can expand your business’s brand by getting it listed in over 300 key online directories and citation sites. The content publishing module will allow you to post offers and material to multiple social media sites simultaneously.
There’s so much more that can help expand your brand and drive more customers into your doors. But rather than trying to tell you what the system does, how would you like to receive a free analytical report that shows where your online reputation stands today? All you have to do is fill in the form below to get started.