Why You Should Be Concerned With Managing Your Reputation
Building a business isn’t easy. It takes years of dedication and hard work. You have to sacrifice a lot of personal time, or even time with your loved ones, just to get your business off the ground. After a certain point of breaking through all of those initial problems, you might finally feel free to take a breath—and that’s when new customers stop coming, and you have no idea why.
Your product is still great, your service is great, and you have a small army of loyal regulars who still love your business. After some prodding, you finally realize that there are some negative reviews of your business on the Internet. You realize that this is why new customers aren’t sauntering through the door: they have an unfairly negative perception of you.
This may sound horrible, but it’s a true story for many local businesses.
Your Reviews Are Your Reputation
Nowadays, what people are saying on the Internet about you carries a lot of weight, whether it’s true or not. Regardless of your field of work, studies have shown that people trust online reviews and seek them out before they buy from businesses.
Your Reputation is the Core of Your Marketing
What you ideally want is for online reviews to reflect 100% customer satisfaction. No matter how people hear about your company or what ad they look at first, they’re going to eventually look up online reviews. If you have bad reviews or none at all, people will be hard pressed to give you a try.
People just want to feel like they have all the information they need before they buy, and most people are going to look for that information in the form of reviews online.
The Things You Need to Know About Local Reviews
You want to build a solid reputation, so keep these things in mind when you’re creating a marketing strategy:
Reach Wide – Sometimes just a few good reviews on Yelp or Google isn’t enough. You need to touch many different platforms. It’s not good to put your reputation “eggs” all in one or two baskets.
Go With the Truth – You want honest, positive reviews of your business, not obviously fake ones that praise you excessively. People don’t trust that, and it’s not ethical anyway. If an honest review of your business can’t be a good one, then maybe you shouldn’t be in business.
Be Timely– People don’t want to see old reviews. They want to see information that reflects customer experience recently, not years ago. Also, newer reviews show up higher in search engine rankings.
Have a Larger Sample Size – If you were going to go to, say, a restaurant, would you prefer one with 30 reviews and a 4.5 star average, or would you prefer one with only 2 reviews that were both 5 stars?
Have Lots of Stars – Of course, have a high rating. This goes without saying. It doesn’t have to be perfect, though, and people expect you to have a few low scores here and there by hard-to-please people.
Incorporate Online Reviews into Your Marketing Strategy
Building your reputation is the most important part of your marketing scheme. There is more to it than that, however. Usually, your online reviews will only show up to local users on search engines, and most of your leads will end up coming from a limited area.
If you’re serving a wider area from just one location, reviews will be a smaller part of your reputation strategy. You’re going to have to use other tactics, such as SEO, to make sure that you rank high in other cities as well. All of these different tactics—good local reviews, SEO, and more traditional advertising—can work together to solidify your reputation.
In addition, make sure that your site shows up well on mobile browsers. Especially when it comes to local services, people are using their phones more and more figure out where they need to go. Make sure that you have your address and a map on your site and that it’s easy to tap and use.
The Secret Power of Positive Reviews
As you can see, putting in processes to incentivize customers to make good reviews is a worthwhile endeavor. It will result in the long run in much better profits and more customers. However, there is one final benefit that you may not realize.
Distinguishing yourself in today’s world is hard. There are tons of competitors. A lot of the time, businesses fall into the trap of getting into price wars. Having good, detailed reviews allows you to finally differentiate yourself and compete against other businesses on something other than just price. If you have outstanding reviews, you can charge more.
If you have an impeccable reputation, exploit it. You struggled to create your business, so make sure to cash in on it. One of the best ways to really reap the rewards of your business fully is to take advantage of positive reviews.
Find a way to get your best customers to review you consistently, and even the negative reviews will be easily drowned out.