Benefits of Online Reputation Management & Marketing Software
You’ve spent years building your business. You’ve invested time, sweat, and tears. You’ve missed family time, the kids growing up, but the work is steady and everything is good. Then one day traffic stops, calls aren’t coming in as consistently and you see a slow down turn in your business, but you can’t understand why.
In your mind, nothing has changed excellent service and your existing customers love working with you, but your business is declining. Eventually, you learn from an existing customer or new visitor that your company has some very negative reviews posted online. Imagine the sinking feeling when you realize that your online reputation is being compromised and you have no clue why, other than, it’s really killing your business.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for hundreds, and probably thousands, of businesses across the country.
Local Business Reviews = Online & Offline Reputation
It doesn’t matter what service you provide, if you’re a dentist, a spa, a carpet cleaner, or a window washer. What people say about your business online is becoming one of the most important factors from strangers when making purchasing decisions, people trust online reviews.
- Because 72% of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Bright Local)
- Reputation marketing has proven to increase business by 19% by increasing ½ star Yelp rating online. (University of California, Berkeley)
- 97% of consumers aged 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business. (Local Consumer Review Survey)
- 92% of consumers now read online reviews for local business. (Local Consumer Review Survey)
Improving Your Reputation is Your #1 Marketing Priority
Your number one marketing priority should be developing a 5-star online reputation. Why? All your other marketing efforts, whether they be online such as SEO, social media, PPC, or offline such as direct mail, magazines, radio, or TV, will ultimately lead the consumer to learn more about you online. That’s where they make their buying decision, a poor or non-existent reputation drives them away to your competitor with good reviews and a strong reputation.
Although the importance now is very high and getting even more important every day, most companies don’t have any reputation management or marketing in place. Monitoring these review sites and creating an ongoing strategy is basically a full time job that, not too many have an in depth knowledge of reputation marketing. But there are easy ways to plug into your reputation without having to hire someone to run that aspect of your business.
Reputation management & marketing software allows businesses to better manage their reputation online by eliminating mugshot sites, astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints and optimizing content to meet SEO standards in order to influence results. For better reputation management website should be Google mobile friendly and search engine friendly. Reputation management is not about social media monitoring only. It impacts business and sales on the larger scale. It is vital for every larger as well as smaller scale business. Businesses are built upon public perception; it is a constant effort that businesses should make.
There are certain situations during which reputation management becomes very important:
- Business Deals
- Acquiring client attention
- Hiring & Recruitment
- Onboarding of new clients
- Starting up a new business or new daughter company
Years ago, there was no sign of reputation management. It was so because the internet was a massive world. Now everything revolves around the internet. Internet presence is inevitable. Reputation management is about using the medium of the internet for building better public reputation and awareness. To shape credibility and develop an authority in any industry for a business requires patience and determination. The growth of the internet and social platforms has made managing the reputation of any organization an even more challenging and time-consuming task.
The Mechanism of Reputation Management
As mentioned, reputation management software allows businesses to better manage their reputation online by eliminating mugshot sites, astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints and optimizing content to meet SEO standards in order to influence results. Today, a business’s reputation is often solely based on the overall outlook of search results that populate on the first or second page of search engines. The growth of the internet has led to two spheres of reputation management; online and offline reputation management. Reputation management requires website optimization and having a mobile friendly website, SEO friendly website and mobile-friendly website design as well.
Online Reputation Management
The Online Reputation Management (ORM) is an essential component of any business as it influences customer perception and buying habits. With such intense online competition, customers have become more and more skeptical when it comes to purchasing items from unknown websites or channels. Reviews, testimonials, certification, and awards all add to an organizations reputation and credibility. Consumer behavior has evolved over time with the accessibility and ease of the internet. Customers can now find information on pricing, quality and customer experience by simply conducting a quick search on Google and other search engines. This lack of trust makes referrals and reviews so much more important as most customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. There is no doubt that customer feedback is one of the fastest and most effective ways for any organization to build a successful and positive online image. This article looks at why reputation management is becoming an essential component of running a successful online business.
Negative reputation hits the business due to negative remarks and complaints that appear about the business on the internet. A negative reputation can influence the business and its sales in the long run. Negative comments just do not appear on social media but also on search engine results. Search engine results are more impactful than social media comments. They damage the reputation on the larger scale.
Reputation Management Strategy
The internet has become a marketplace for information of all types. The race to provide the most comprehensive and relevant information has become very important for businesses in order to maintain a positive reputation. Online businesses have realized the importance of having a reputation management strategy to take advantage of consumers shifting decision-making process. These reputation management strategies include ways to build and maintain trust and reputation through reviews, recommendations, testimonials and fresh industry-specific content. Managing a business’s reputation appropriately is vital for its sustainability and continuity. Mobile friendly website design and search engine friendly website give a good outcome for reputation management, as it is more attractive for the customers
Tactics of Reputation Management – The three Rs
Recuperation – It comes into play when the internet has already bulked up negatives reviews and comments about the business. Recuperation relies on digital optimization for the company through SEO that targets the positive side of the business. Website optimization is also a part of recuperation. For better results focus
Rebuilding – When the damage has occurred, the prime focus should be on rebuilding the image and reputation of the business. There are different platforms that can be utilized for rebuilding the reputation. Some of the very crucial platforms for rebuilding reputation are social media; article, blogs, press publications and website that have SEO friendly web design, Google-friendly website design and are search engine friendly.
Repairing – To repair the damage that has been done, a proper strategy should be developed.
Repair should be done in an aggressive manner. Competitor websites should be analyzed and monitored closely. The focus should be on completely mending the perception of the public regarding the business.
Increased Employee Loyalty
Every other week, numerous employers sign up on employer branding websites and tools. It also provides a platform for competitive analysis. When potential candidates are looking for jobs the reputation of a company is often one of their top priorities. Applicants are likely to look up company name on websites such as Glassdoor in order to get a perception of what the business or organization is about and how they have treated employees in the past. Any successful business is built around its employees and the best employees only go to the organization they feel are ethical, reputable and credible. A reputation management strategy is not only in place for customers but also for the current and future employees. Maintaining a positive reputation will help in the acquisition of the best talent that is a direct competitive advantage for any business.
The smartest businesses utilize their most loyal customers by leveraging them as brand ambassadors to promote the business. This is an extremely effective reputation management strategy as these are real customers that are more credible and relatable than any influencer or celebrity when it comes to recommendations and reviews. Studies have shown that a customer advocacy strategy is one of the best strategies for an online business to build credibility and stand out from the competition. Customer advocacy strategy incorporates the following steps to build a positive business reputation.
- It encourages regular customers to share their experiences online
- Offer discounts and special promotions to customers who share positive feedback
- Opens a channel for customers to voice their opinions and needs
Builds Trust, Transparency, and Credibility
The process of building trust is not an easy one. In such a competitive market where customers are presented with so many options, it is hard to sustain trust and loyalty. The core principle of reputation management is to develop an honest reputation, which is the key to building consumer trust. With the internet providing so many different outlets for sharing experiences, it is likely that customers are going to talk about the business’s products and services. Opinion, reviews, recommendations, and rumors spread fast and customers are quietly & easily influenced by this kind of information whether it is accurate or not. Reputation management is not about controlling what customers say but rather it is about ensuring that the business has visibility and control over how customers are talking about the business. This involves monitoring review websites and social media platforms to get a clear perception of customer expectations and experiences. Online reviews are perhaps the greatest tool that businesses have at their disposal for building a reputation and influencing new visitors positively throughout their purchase journey.
Customer Insight & Feedback
Reputation management is so much more than just maintaining the business’s credibility and image. If done correctly reputation management also allows a business to learn from customers in order to improve products and services. When a company focuses on meeting and exceeding customer expectations it inherently begins to build a strong positive reputation in the industry. Customer feedback, opinions, and suggestions provide a business with extensive market insight in to what their customer expectations are, and the best way to deliver on these expectations. Appropriately acting upon customer feedback helps improve customer experience and service/product quality. More importantly, customers feel that their feedback and opinions truly matter to the organization that undoubtedly helps in building trust and loyalty.
A well-executed reputation management strategy will help any business improve its reputation both online and offline. Without the element of consumer trust, confidence, and loyalty, no business is able to succeed in the long-run. However, developing and formulating a reputation management strategy is challenging if one is unaware of all the elements that this entails. Businesses often depend on specialized services and software to manage, enhance and maintain a positive reputation. These software services offer a wide variety of features that are tailored towards maintaining a positive outlook of the company on all search engines and social platforms.
How Many Reviews Matter?
The positive reviews have become one of the most important ways for businesses to capture customers online especially in the service industry. Word to mouth marketing has always been the most effective way to gain more customers. Market research suggests that 92% of customers today base purchase decisions on recommendations and reviews that they find online. That is a staggering number and signifies just how important reviews have become in terms of influencing sales. Latest studies show that a business needs between 6-10 reviews to be trusted, and a consumer will read at least 10 reviews before making a decision.
How to Manage Reviews
Online reputation management tools and software come in all shapes and sizes. These services are designed to delve deep into the world of search results, reviews, social platforms, and forums. Reputation management software not only pushes out negative reviews but also helps in shifting negative comments to positive ones through follow-ups and engagement. Responding to customer reviews or feedback whether it is positive or negative demonstrates that the business cares about what the customer’s think and this goes a long way in building consumer loyalty and trust. A fully detailed dashboard allows all relevant information to be presented on one-page saving time and many headaches. The software can also be integrated into a business’s existing POS system that helps automate the process of accelerating the rate of reviews left by customers. This makes the process of gaining new reviews for the business on Google and other social platforms a breeze thus, improving the business’s reputation and bottom line. A steady flow of new reviews and recommendations are sure told the way to boost local SEO ranking for the business that helps in gaining a competitive advantage over competitors and improving a business’s online searchability.
If negative reviews or false rumors are issues, affecting the business’s reputation than the need for accurate reputation management becomes greater than ever. Automatic review alerts on any platform allow a business to respond to negative comments or feedback immediately to try to negate the issue before it is expedited. Negative comments should be treated as constructive criticism and customers leaving this kind of feedback should be immediately contacted to apologize for any mistakes or inconvenience caused while also offering a satisfactory solution. In this manner, a business can preserve and defend its online reputation and safeguard against false rumors or foul play. Some reputation management software allows multiple posts to be sent out at once on multiple social channels with additional features that can also schedule posts ahead of time.
There are custom-made software and services for small businesses, brands and agencies empowering businesses to better manage online reviews and reputation. The use of having a reputation management & marketing software or service not only helps in engaging with customers but also offers great insight into consumer behavior, buying habits and company perception. The keys to having a smooth management of reputation online are to have a Google mobile friendly and search engine friendly website. To make website mobile friendly and have an accurate website optimization for your reputation management & marketing, a highly rated reputation management service should be hired.