Your Business’s Online Reputation Matters
What’s your business’s reputation risk profile? How do prospective customers see your business? What’s the impact that that is having on sales and by default, your finances?
- Implications for Local Businesses
- Emerging Trends
- SME Challenges
- Benefits of Digital Reputation Marketing
- What You Can Do Today
As a business owner, your skills and your reputation is what got you started and underpins your success. You will be actively managing many aspects of your business, but, have you stopped to think about your firm’s reputation and in particular, what’s posted online?
Research shows that more than 75% of consumers read online reviews about a company before making a purchasing decision. The bigger the ticket item, the more important this becomes. Research by the Spielgen Research Center, has shown that the impact of reviews on more expensive purchases, can increase conversions by up to 380%! That’s not a number readily ignored.
Click anywhere on the image to below to get your FREE online reputation score.
Watch our “Bite Sized” video, for the summarised version
In 2011, Google came up with a profound and brand-new idea to define customer behaviour online. Coined the “Absolutely No Crucial Moment”, the concept sought to explain a new standard of shopping tasks, where online research before an acquisition, plays an indispensable part of the customer’s trip. As profound concepts tend to go, as quickly as you hear it, you understand it to be true.
Implications For Local Businesses
As local businesses and SME owners, if you didn’t have sufficient on your plate at the best of times, let alone in the current climate, this is one more aspect that is imperative to “get your head around”.
Reputation Marketing – at its core, is where track record advertising and marketing is making use of every one of the tools at one’s disposal, winning that vital “absolutely no decisive moment” online.
While the term, reputation marketing, may not be one with which you’re overly familiar, you probably are with the concept; an alternative way to consider it is the merging of reputation management and brand marketing. The internet has brought in a further dynamic.
Amid the situation, we’re all facing, whether as a business owner or consumer/client in 2020, one thing is for sure, as a business owner, you can’t afford to leave any stone unturned in your quest to be found and create trust, particularly, online. For a prospective purchaser, the first time your business is likely to be visible to them is when they are searching either for your product/service or company, which makes it arguably the most critical element to get right.
Many searches contain the term, “near me” or in a specific location, e.g., surveyors in Guildford, accountants near me, hair-dressers or spas in Bath, etc. The search engines rely on the correct geographical data to show highly relevant search results. In the present climate, with the negative impact on businesses of all shapes and sizes, with many closing, the buyers are still there; it’s imperative that your business details are correctly listed, and you show up when your company, product or service is sought.
Fail to be visible or convey the wrong impression, and your potential customers/clients are taking their business to your competitors.
If your contact information is incorrect or, worse, can’t be found online, you are ensuring that that sale goes to a competitor who has established that trust. You must take control of all of your internet listings, ensuring that they’re accurate. A simple “St.” on one listing and “Street” on another, is, shockingly, enough for them to be read by the robots as different addresses! Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be able to do some remarkable things, but, in some quarters, there’s room for improvement.
Isn’t this Only Applicable In The B2C Sector?
This isn’t just the preserve of the B2C market, B2B is as relevant. Every business has online buyers, whether for business purposes or in their own time. We’re each receiving vast swathes of information when digitally surfing, many times, sub-consciously.
You wouldn’t give out a business card with the incorrect contact number, would you? A listing is the same. Establishing the correct listing for an organisation online is critical; an incorrect one is like having a phone line that goes unanswered, but online, there are thousands of eyes witnessing the error. A small investment of your time to address these can be worth significantly more in terms of lost or secured sales.
What’s even more apparent, year on year, evaluations are trending towards a more significant influence with consumers; internet testimonials from real clients carry more and more weight in the buying process. As a result, getting and then showcasing them front and centre should be a top priority for every SME.
Buyers attribute a sizeable trust to feedback from faceless individuals on evaluation sites; regretfully, fraudsters capitalise on that misplaced trust in the system. One step some platforms have taken is to show if the purchase or equivalent is verified visibly – take a look at the reviews next time you’re on Amazon.
SME Challenges In London & the Home Counties?
For the local business, it can feel challenging to enter the same pool as more substantial firms with teams of creatives constructing the next viral fad. This is where it’s essential to believe in your neighbourhood! Regional companies can utilise social media as that final push to bring potential clients to the door as well as into their office.
Be Present And Engage
A company must appear present, approachable and friendly. Top Tip: get involved with people online and create a 2-way means to interact. You’re not just talking to the person themselves, but those following.
Customer reviews, good, bad or non-existent, are at the core of all track record marketing efforts because they profoundly affect a brand name’s credibility and purchasing decisions. Various methods can be employed to manage, build and market your business’s digital reputation. Some you can do yourself, starting today and others, you’re going to need to, “call a friend”.
The one thing of which you can be assured, whether you’ve none, positive and/or bad reviews online, this will be visible to prospective buyers.
It’s imperative that you know what’s said and you’re managing, building and marketing these reviews accordingly.
Unfortunately, people write testimonials when they’re angry, and one poor review could have a disproportionate impact on your business, especially if you’re not proactively soliciting responses. There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to react to a negative review; hint: ignoring or attacking the reviewer is very much in the latter. Fortunately, there is a multitude of approaches you can use, to obtain great reviews.
Benefits of Digital Reputation Marketing
There’s a reason large organisations concentrate on customer testimonials – they’re a quick as well as easy means of social proof. Additionally, they’re an excellent way to decrease reputational threat. Equally, SME and local businesses can take another leaf out of the bigger companies playbook, and that’s with soliciting the views of those who work for or with you; for example, you may have transformed the way you work, you’re more involved with you neighbourhood, etc. This has a two-fold benefit:
- It will enhance the credibility of your business. Stories about “brands that care” gain lots of beneficial press.
- Social and environmental involvement is a powerful reputation marketing tool.
Take Away For Local Businesses
The take-away, the average customer’s voice, carries significant weight and readily outweighs the everyday marketing efforts.
What You Can Do, Starting Today:
- Check what’s posted online about your business
- Respond appropriately to all reviews
- Check and correct incorrect business detail listings
- Request reviews from existing clients and create a means to secure new testimonials
- Actively promote feedback from clients and employees alike.
There are a range of other steps you can and should take, to actively manage, build and market your digital reputation marketing.
Click anywhere in the image below, to be taken to obtain your FREE online reputation evaluation.
Contact the team at DMS to discuss how our reputation marketing services can help your business.