Any company will tell you that being viewed as highly reputable is a crucial element of its success, and one that especially holds true in the online world. Customers are searching for your business there and it’s vitally important that they encounter only positive reviews, comments, and other types of information that people will inevitably share about it. A company with a bad online reputation should expect to lose customers, revenue, and have a difficult time surviving.
Since the internet facilitates all kinds of social communication, it also provides an easy way to see what people are saying about your business. People tend to be more candid when expressing their opinions online. Human nature being what it is, though, most people will more likely register – and read – negative feedback about something than take the time to write or read positive impressions. Negative customer reviews can be devastating for a business. Marketing studies prove that consumers trust online customer reviews at least 70% of the time, second only to personal reviews from family members and friends (92%).
Actively developing, managing, and marketing your professional online reputation is referred to as “reputation marketing”. This is a new ballgame for business owners, and many don’t yet fully understand the implications of not actively managing it. Your online reputation is what potential clients – searching for your type of business to patronize – will seek out and consider before choosing who to do business with. Having no online reputation (e.g., no customer reviews, no gold star ratings, etc.) is almost as bad as having negative reviews posted about your business. 90% of potential consumers search online for goods and services, actively considering past customer reviews – both positive and negative – as a critical part of their deliberative shopping process.
There will always be critics, but successful businesspeople take valid criticism constructively and view it as actionable feedback that can help them improve their business. Valid complaints acknowledged and successfully resolved by the business can become their own “good news” story. Sometimes, though, an ethical line is crossed and malicious tactics are employed against someone by their competitors. This is when a reactive and costly “reputation recovery” program is called for.
There’s no way around it any more – either you take responsibility for building and managing your online reputation, or the public will.
A 5-star reputation is one of your company’s most valuable assets – and you should be aggressively marketing it to help you grow your business and carve out more market share.
Reputation marketing has now become the newest and most effective tool in helping you grow your business today. Embrace it and leverage it to your full advantage.