KEY TAKEAWAY – Your online reputation, first and foremost, is what the vast majority of new prospects want to find out about you.
Warren Buffett once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”
As long as commerce has existed, the reputation of a business has been one of the most critical factors that determine its ultimate success or failure.
Companies with great reputations always stand a much better chance of surviving – and prospering and growing – than companies with poor, bad or non-existent reputations.
This is particularly true in this day and age when people can quickly and easily go online & say whatever they want to about your business. Thousands of other people will read those comments – good and bad – and draw their own conclusions.
That’s why it’s so critical for every business owner to understand this behavior of today’s “power consumer” and their ability to widely influence the choices other potential customers will make about your business.
Let’s take a look at the 4 types of online “reputation” a business can have.
The Four Basic Types of Reputation:
1) Bad – you’re high risk; a bad rep will ultimately kill your business
2) None – you have no reputation; you’re unknown, untrusted and risky
3) Good – there are some good things about you, and some bad…just more good than bad…it’s much better than a bad and no reputation
4) 5-Star – the gold standard of reputations. Your business is the lowest risk, trusted, and is everyone’s 1st choice
So Just How Does Your Business Get Its Online Reputation?
Remember all those business directories your company is listed on?
Most of them encourage their visitors to write reviews about businesses they’ve recently patronized. Over time, as reviews about your business accumulate on the various directory sites, your company’s ratings start to appear on each of them.
And that’s how your business’ online reputation is born. Whether you like it or not.
So, really, you can’t just ignore it. Chances are, the reputation of your business is already being defined by what others are saying about it online right now.
It’s up to you to decide what to do. You can simply choose to ignore it, or you can choose to deal with it.
Here’s what I tell all my clients:
Embrace the “reputation issue” enthusiastically and use it to your full marketing advantage…dive right in, because…
THIS is THE marketing game-changer I was referring to earlier!
Every business – including yours – has just been forced back to the starting line with all their marketing efforts because of this new consumer purchasing behavior.
High website rankings…getting more traffic with a PPC campaign or from social media properties… buying airtime on TV and radio – none of it matters now if you have less than a 5-star online reputation.
Because for most consumers today, having the best reputation of all the companies they’re choosing between is the main critical factor they’re going to consider in their purchasing decision.
And if your competitors have better online reputations than you do, guess what? They’re going to get all the new business, not you.
Listen, if you’re running a successful business, obviously you have happy customers / patients / clients – many with great stories to tell about their positive experiences with your company. Take those and build on them.
NEXT UP: I’ll identify the 4 specific steps you can take to get turn this reputation situation around in your favor – and use it to leap ahead of your competitors.