Online reputation management is a relatively new topic in the world of internet marketing. For that reason, it’s not so surprising that a lot of business owners either don’t know what kinds of reviews have been posted about them online, or aren’t too worried about it.
However, we want all of our clients and readers to understand that negative feedback on the internet can absolutely kill your sales. That’s because a bad online reputation is like a hidden expense on your bottom line. It robs you of sales and leads without ever showing you the opportunities that have been lost.
That happens because new customers and referrals are likely to Google you, or look you up on their favorite social media platform, before they ever contact you. When they come across negative reviews, they are less likely to take the next step. Or, if they do decide to investigate more, they may be skeptical about your business. In that way, revenue can be lost even though a business owner isn’t aware of the real reason (or in some cases, that there was even a chance to make a sale in the first place).
So, how do you stop bad online feedback from affecting your bottom line? Here are some quick steps you can take starting today…
#1 Get the Lay of the Land
To improve your online reputation you have to know what it’s like. A good starting point is to Google your business, your product names, and even your own name to see what’s out there. Don’t forget to check review sites like Yelp, as well as social media platforms. You might consider having friends and colleagues take a look to see what they find, too.
#2 Think Like a Customer
Many business owners think any bad or lackluster review is terrible, but that’s not always the case. Your customers know you can’t please everyone, and don’t expect you to have nothing but positive feedback. You should focus your attention on reviews that are particularly critical or would dissuade someone from working with your company in the first place.
#3 Read Between the Lines
You probably have strong feelings about your business, and may feel defensive if a buyer has been critical. However, you should examine any negative reviews to see if there are ongoing issues or themes that need to be addressed. If so, your first step should be fixing your business rather than worrying about the kinds of reviews that have been posted.
#4 Give Another Side to the Story
Once you’re satisfied that you’ve cleaned up any internal issues, you should consider responding to the most negative reviews. Tell your side of the story, or at least let customers know what you’ve changed to give them a better experience. Often, these little steps can help convince buyers who don’t know you yet that you’re committed to customer satisfaction.
#5 Build up Your Credibility
Over the long run, the best way to improve your online reputation isn’t by removing negative reviews – it’s by having happy customers post great things about your business. Get in the habit of asking satisfied buyers to say good things on review sites and social media profiles. The effect will be a powerful boost to all of your marketing and word-of-mouth advertising.
Your online reputation is important, and it’s going to affect your potential to make new sales even more in the future. To make sure yours is helping you, instead of holding you back, we hope you’ll follow the quick tips we’ve laid out in this article.