You have spent years developing and building your business. You have missed important family events and holidays to spend time getting your business off the ground. You’ve struggled and toiled to attract customers and retain their loyalty by offering the best value and service possible.
However, as most business owners eventually realize, the idea of “set it and forget it” with regards to your business never comes. You have to keep marketing and promoting until the day you retire or sell the business.
One of the most important and most overlooked aspects of building your business is managing and enhancing your online reputation, or how your brand or product name is perceived on the Internet.
Online Reputation Matters the Most
What people say about your company is perhaps the single most important statement about your company’s online reputation, quality, customer service, reliability, and skill. In a recent Global Trust in Advertising study by Nielsen, 70% of all global consumers surveyed revealed that they trust reviews from strangers when making decisions about products and services.
You Are What Google Says You Are
In an infamous rant by former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green, which gets plenty of time on sports bloopers segments, he said “they are who we thought they were.” He was talking about the Chicago bears, but he might as well have been talking about the online reputations of companies. Simply put the value and reputation of a company, product or brand is what they (the reviewer or blogger) writes.
Whether you’re a dentist, a veterinarian, a florist, a painter, or a gravedigger, your reputation precedes you in the form of online reviews and informational PR, content and search engine listings.
In this era of instant information, consumers routinely search online about a company, brand or product before they make a purchase. It is up to you, the business owner, to monitor and manage how information is presented through the search engines and online.
Seeking Q for Your Company Reviews
Think of the two “Qs” when managing your online reputation. These two “Qs” can make or break a business.
Quality – Is there a difference between a three-star review and a four-star review. You bet your bottom line there is. Quality of the reviews is one of the most important considerations for any business. The higher your ratings, the better your reputation will be – simple as that.
Quantity – Along with quality, this is crucial to the success of a business. If one company has 28 five-star reviews and ten four-star reviews, and even one or two less-than stellar ratings, and another company has two five-star reviews, which business would a consumer feel more confident about? That’s right – the one with the most reviews.
Keeping it Real and Recent
More and more consumers are concerned about fake reviews. There are companies who pay people to place reviews on various online review sites. It may be tempting to write your own positive reviews or pay something to give you five stars, but it’s dishonest and unethical, and will most likely do more long-term harm than good.
You also want recent reviews. It’s great to have glowing reviews from five years ago, but recent reviews seem to be more of a factor for search engines…and you definitely want to get listed high on search engines. Making sure you have a strategy in place to continually earn reviews is vital to the success of your business.
What Can a Positive & Robust Online Reputation Do For Your Company or Brand?
There are hundreds of competitors and imitators in almost every market. There are many ways to distinguish your company from the hordes of other business vying for the same consumers. You can create interesting advertising across different media, lower your prices, use celebrity endorsements, or have someone spin a sign on the side of the road. However, developing, safeguarding and controlling how your online brand is presented online is perhaps most important than anything else.
Maintaining a positive, engaging and relevant online reputation for your company, brand or product will increase online sales or improve your closed lead ratios and redirect interested prospects who are completing their due diligence on you back to your website to as confident customers.
Don’t let your great ideas and hard work fall short. Managing your online reputation is one of the best ways to ensure success in the business world of the 21st century.
If your company is in need of proactive online reputation services (before an online attack occurs or to build out your online brand) or reactive online reputation management services (after an online attack), please contact us right away to discuss and for a free consultation!