The way people make purchases today is evolving. With so much information available online, it is much easier for purchasers to access information about you, your product or service, or your business before they even make contact with you. Because of this, reputation management has become an important part of a comprehensive Inbound Marketing strategy. So, how much does your online reputation really impact your business?
With so many options available to them, people value not only a reputable product or service, but also a positive shopping experience. Many venues have been created online that allow customers to share their opinion online through reviews.
These reviews are then read by potential customers who are in need of your particular product or service and taken into consideration when they are making the choice to purchase from you or not.
If you’ve established a positive online reputation, people will be more inclined to use your service or product. However, if you have no online reputation or a negative one, they may choose another company who has a well-established reputation over you.
To be sure you have a well-established online reputation, you must first see which areas of your business are impacted by your online reputation.
What Areas Are Impacted by My Online Reputation?
New Leads and Customers
Studies show that around 64% of people feel they make better purchasing decisions when a variety of people provide input. This feeling shapes the way that people research and shop when looking to make a purchase.
While this fact is a key element in the argument for a comprehensive Inbound Marketing strategy, it also goes to show that your online reputation impacts your company’s ability to acquire new leads and customers.
When people are looking to purchase a product or a service, they want to know what other people think about that product or service. If they have no one in their peer network who has experience with the product or service they need, they will go online to research. Part of this research includes finding out the reputation of companies who offer this product or service.
If you have a well-established and positive reputation online, these buyers will be more apt to engage with your company than if you have not worked to develop and manage your reputation.
Referrals from Current Customers
A great way to get new leads is through referrals from your current satisfied customers. These customers can directly tell their peer network that they endorse your product or service as well as you as a company. These referrals can be direct (person-to-person) or virtual (online testimonials and reviews).
If you don’t strive to develop a positive reputation with your current customers, you could be missing out on potential new leads and customers from referrals.
A good way to develop a positive reputation and find out where you stand with your current customers is through a Net Promoter Score survey. This survey simply asks your current customers if they would recommend your product or service to friends and family. If they respond positively, you can then follow up and ask them to post a review or refer a new customer.
Referrals are a straight-forward way to tell if you are creating a positive or negative reputation for yourself. If your customers are willing to post reviews or refer a friend, you have impacted them positively. If they are not, try to evaluate your current processes to see where you can improve.
SEO and Search Rankings
Your online reputation actually can affect your local SEO and search ranking. A study by Moz shows that 13% of your local SEO ranking is based on the quantity and variety of online reviews of your business. This is especially important for businesses who are strictly local or want to be found in local searches.
By cultivating an online reputation that is comprised of numerous positive reviews OR professionally handled negative reviews, you can help to improve your Google search ranking, which will help increase the number of visits to your site and hopefully increase your new leads and customers.
Being Viewed as An Industry Expert
Part of cultivating an online reputation is so you can be viewed as an expert in your industry. If you are not viewed as an expert, leads will be less likely to choose you over a competitor. A well-established online reputation can help increase your visible expertise.
As you can see in the graph below, visible expertise occurs when you execute a comprehensive Inbound Marketing strategy across multiple communication channels and present a consistent brand message on all channels.
By being proactive in cultivating a positive reputation and managing that reputation online, you will be able to be viewed as an industry expert. This will increase the trust purchasers have in your product or service and encourage them to choose your company when making purchasing decisions.
What Can I Do to Maintain a Positive Online Reputation?
A positive online reputations is not something that can be built in a day. You must come up with a strategy to position yourself as an industry expert through educational content and inbound marketing.
This strategy includes responding correctly and professionally to all positive and negative reviews. You must monitor what is being said about your business and respond appropriately. Finally, you should encourage current customers to champion you and your business both online and within their own peer networks.
While all this takes time and planning, it is worth the work for the impact a positive online reputation can have on your business.
The best way to create a positive online reputation is to market to the correct people. Download our Buyer Persona template to create your ideal customer.