Our business’s reputation is a direct reflection of what other people have to say about it. The internet gives users the freedom to speak their minds about how they feel about your business. Which makes it more important than ever to manage your online reputation. Online reputation is a combination of strategies marketers use to improve people’s perceptions of a business. When done correctly, it builds trust and positively impacts buying decisions. In this article, we’re going to share some tried and true strategies to improve your online reputation. Following these steps will change how your customers see your business and help you generate a steady stream of positive reviews for your brand.
Why Online Reputation is Necessary
Think about this: how many of us look at reviews as part of our determination in making a purchase? Not only that, but we will also look at the comments, the negative reviews, how many reviews a business has, and the last time someone left a review. Quick stats: consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling trust for a business. And 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If one customer has a bad experience and leaves a poor review, your whole perception can change with prospects if you don’t have enough positive reviews to counteract it. The first step to improve your online reputation is to audit your current reviews to understand what people are saying about your business.
From an SEO standpoint, search engines factor in the quantity and quality of reviews when evaluating the trustworthiness and authority of a business. When you have a steady stream of positive reviews, it tells Google that not only is your business a legit operation but that other people have interacted with it and had a positive experience. Google views that as an endorsement of trust and rewards you with better visibility. Ongoing reviews also count as fresh and consistent content, which is another SEO factor. When customers describe your business and their experience and use relevant keywords to describe it also helps your SEO efforts.
How to Examine your Current Online Reputation
Reviews are, in many ways, the end product people experience interacting with your business. The first step in improving your online reputation is to audit your current reviews to understand what people are saying about your business.
Here are some factors to evaluate when examining your current online reputation management:
- Do you have vital customer service and a knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt team?
- Do you have a process in place that makes it easy for customers to leave you a review?
- Are you actively responding to reviews?
- How do you handle negative reviews and resolve situations with unhappy customers?
- Do you maintain an active presence on social platforms?
- Do you actively request reviews from your customers?
- Do you track any mentions of your business on Google, Bing, social media, and elsewhere?
- Do you display your customer reviews on your website and elsewhere for potential customers to see?
- Do you currently have consistent, and recurring positive reviews on the internet?
If you answered “no” to most of these questions, improving your online reputation should be a priority. You’ll also want to look at what people are saying about your business – this can give you so much insight into areas of your business that customers are finding unsatisfying.
How to Improve Your Online Reputation
We get it – most people won’t voluntarily leave a review. Unless it’s easy for them to do it, and timed appropriately it can be not easy. This is exactly why you need to implement a system that makes it easier to generate the reviews you need. Let’s dive into each step of improving your online reputation.
Create Business Profiles
You should have a thorough and consistent online business profile everywhere on the internet so that people can leave reviews. Google, for example, gives you the ability to create a Business Profile so that when somewhere searches for your business, all the relevant information about your brand can be viewed. This includes all your contact information, your location, CTAs, operation hours, business descriptions – and yes, reviews. This may very well be a potential customer’s first impression of your business, so make sure it’s as complete as possible with all your information.
Show Reviews on Your Website
What better way to encourage new reviews and improve first impressions than displaying them on your website? You can embed your Google reviews (or other review sites) and integrate them directly on your website – and all in real-time. This way, customers that land on your page can read the experiences of other people, which can help them gain more trust in your business.
Set Up a Review Landing Page
You should also designate a page or form on your website asking your customers to leave you a review. On your home page, generate a “Review Us” button at the top of your site. This invites people to review your business on the spot. Once they click on the button, they will be redirected to a form where they can leave a user rating and provide comments about their experience.
And a secret weapon to this? If a customer did not have a great experience, instead of that bad review posting directly on Google, they will be redirected to a separate area. You will be notified of these negative reviews and will have the opportunity to contact the customers and avoid the bad review being blasted out publicly.
Share Reviews Links with Customers
There are multiple ways to do this. For starters, train your staff to ask for reviews at the point of sale. If you operate as a brick-and-mortar, you can create a QR code that sits right at the register where customers can scan and review it as they are checking out. Share links to leave reviews: this could be through emails, customer invoices, marketing materials, or leave-behinds, through text messaging, on your social pages, and so forth. QR Codes are such an easy and powerful way to direct people exactly where you want them to go. If your business operates more in the field, QR codes can be golden.
You can create Review Cards – that are about the size of a business card and distribute them to your sales team or the field crew. When they meet with customers face-to-face, they can present this card at the end of the sale and ask them to scan the code right then and there.
You can also add incentives to this – both to your customers and to your staff. For example, ask customers to leave you a positive review, and they will receive X off their next purchase. Or create a contest with your staff that whoever generates the most customer reviews for the month wins a gift card.
Reach out to Your Current Customer Database
If you have a database that stores all your customer’s contact information, this can be a great place to generate more reviews. It’s also an easy and seamless way to reach out to the people who are already happy with you and are more likely to leave you a positive review. You’ll need a system that can successfully store this data and generate a bulk email or text out to these customers.
Respond to ALL Reviews
Always engage with the people that leave you a review – both positive and negative. Thank them, show gratitude, and acknowledge positive reviews. If it’s negative, show the same amount of gratitude for their feedback. We hate to break it to you, but negative comments can just be deleted because you don’t like what they said. Use it as an opportunity to turn the situation around. It also publicly shows other potential customers how well you handle disgruntled customers.
Bad reviews happen, which is exactly why you need a review system that can continue to churn out positive reviews, and eventually push down that negative review in your feed. It’s not lost on us that all of this takes some effort, but the rewards are worth it. After all, it’s your reputation that’s at stake.
As an alternative, hiring a company that provides ORM services can be an easy and cost-effective solution. We offer a complete review system that provides multiple ways to generate a consistent flow of positive reviews for their business. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about how to improve your online reputation.