Is your online reputation affecting your business profitability?
“First impression is the lasting impression”. You have heard this expression before. When you prepare to meet someone important such as going on a job interview, delivering a first-time public speech or hosting a dinner for new friends, your end result is that you want to make a good positive lasting impression. From your attire to the table side etiquette, you set yourself up to be perceived as confident, trustworthy and approachable.
The same rule is applied to your business. Big corporations spend a great deal of money, time and resources to introduce global service standards and core values to their employees. They empower their associates from the CEO to the front desk representative to improve customer service, be good listeners, provide guidance, respond in a timely fashion and continue to delight their customers while building great relationships.
Small businesses, on the other hand, may have limited resources and budget to invest in professional support to provide them with best business practices. However, they have a good concept on how to bootstrap. Building one client relationship at a time, relying heavily on a word of mouth and strive to build a good solid reputation within their community.
What about the first impression of your online business?
Building a website for your business is no longer optional, it is a must have. You want to attract more customers, increase credibility and build trust with your online visitors. No excuses. So how are you going to build a long-lasting impression online? You cannot see your visitors in person to offer a friendly greet. No initial introductions. They cannot see how you dress or define your personality to determine if they can establish a relationship with you. They can’t read your body language or your personality to determine if they can establish a relationship with you.
What about those disgruntled employees that go online and start to bash and trash your business on every channel just to make themselves feel good? The first impression is no longer in question, but how to recover from such accusations that you have no control over? What do you do when those Google search engine 5 stars are dropping? Your potential customer might wonder if they should spend a valuable second of their time to click on your website without being instantly drawn by one of your competitor with a full blown 5 stars blast and hundreds of positive reviews.
Your audience lives online.
It is no longer a shocker that people across the world are consumed by their digital devices. As if we are living in a two-dimensional world but sharing the same time zone. We listen, talk and eat while keeping a fingertip on our cell phone screen, browsing, reading and texting simultaneously. Multi-tasking is no longer an impressive skill on our resume, it is expected.
Having said that, customers have become extremely research savvy. Before utilizing your services or products, they look up your business online and read other customers’ reviews about you. They browse your landing page to see if your website is professional at first glance. They read your blog and make up their mind in a split second to trust your website enough to do business with you. Finally, if you are easily approachable, then you have attracted and converted a lead successfully.
Here are 5 tips on how to resolve, improve and manage your online business reputation:
Consider blogging as you would build your credit score. Write a resourceful business-related content and publish on different targeted business platforms. Make sure you are only blogging about your related industry. Also, look up websites that allow guest bloggers. Offer to write guest posts and ask for a link back to your site. This will help generate more traffic to your website and rank you higher on search engines.
2: Social Media
Create a new positive online presence by developing business related platforms on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest etc… Consistently engage with key industry leaders. Post related business images and videos to encourage more likes and generate more traffic to your website. Thus, getting ranked higher on the search engine.
3: Be Original
People know when you are honest and transparent by the way you write your content. So be human and tell a story. Your readers will help you in understanding your buyer behavior. Encourage customer review and respond frequently to their inquiries.
4: Negative Comments
Easy come but difficult to go. Although I can empathize with a customer expressing discontent with a product that they had high expectation to resolve their problem, it is also understandable that a business owner wants to deliver exceptional quality service and satisfaction guaranteed. After all who wants a returned product or an unhappy customer, right? This is a lose/lose situation for both parties.
The goal of your business is to delight your customer.
Hint: It is more difficult to attract new customers than to ensure the satisfaction of your existing clients. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, you have a 15x increase in your ROI when campaigning for current customer’s returned business, than when you are campaigning for first-time buyers. Meaning, you can easily network with your current customer and they are much more likely to continue utilizing your products and services. So, it is to your great advantage to tackling negative comments by responding openly and assuring them that you will make corrections, while offering something beneficial in return.
5: Monitor Regularly
A wildfire starts with only a spark. Be Smokey the Bear. Keep a close check on your brand reputation. Run a Google Analytics report. Check Google search to ensure your site is listed on the first page of the search index. Perform SEO if your site is not readily visible. Check for any broken links on your website. Protecting the integrity of your brand will ensure the safety of your reputation online. If you don’t have time for routine maintenance, then seek professional digital marketing support.
By following these tricks and tips, any negative comments or articles will be suppressed or pushed down in less than 4 months and will no longer appear on Google search. In the long run, it will dramatically increase your visibility as a trustworthy advisor.