Business owners often scrutinize every corner of their websites. They look for anything that can give them an advantage over their online competitors. However, they often overlook a crucial part of the online marketing mix. One that makes a huge difference between new sales and missed opportunities. This “hidden” component of the online marketing puzzle is a company’s online reviews(reputation).
Surveys show that 90% of all buyers will check a business’s online reviews before they ever convert into a customer. If what they find on Google, Yelp, and industry websites is positive, they can move forward confidently. However, if they see lots of complaints and bad reviews they may take their business elsewhere. Then, you’ll have lost the opportunity to win a customer without ever knowing why.
With stakes so high, let’s dive into three stages to make online reviews a positive part of your selling strategy.
1. Getting Familiar with Your Online Reputation
A surprising number of business owners have no idea what kinds of online reviews have been left across the internet. So, Googling your company (along with brand names, locations, etc.) is a good first step to see what’s out there.
However, you don’t want to rely on a simple search engine investigation. Web design teams use tools that crawl the internet searching for mentions of your business on blogs, social media, and online review platforms like Yelp and Trip Advisor. The goal, at this stage, is to find out what potential buyers will see when they look at your business.
What you find might be positive, negative, or somewhere in between. Either way, having an accurate picture of your online reputation is an important first step.
2. Cleaning Up Any Black Marks or Red Flags
If you’ve been in business for a while, but haven’t checked your online reputation, you might stumble upon several negative online reviews. Which, in this case, don’t help your sales. That’s because no one ever achieves 100% customer satisfaction, and unhappy buyers are most likely to share their opinions.
That’s why the next step is to try to clean up any inaccuracies or overwhelmingly negative reviews. You might be able to request online review platforms to hide the negative feedback.
The best thing to do is to respond to negative comments, learn from, and promise better services in the future.
Many business owners tend to think this is the most important step, but improving your bottom line isn’t just about making bad reviews disappear.
3. Growing and Monitoring Your Good Name
Bad reviews are inevitable if you stay in business long enough. Customers are going to visit you while in a bad mood or have an underwhelming experience from time to time. What stops these reviews from hurting your sales is a more consistent stream of positive feedback.
That’s why the third step in your process should be to not only establish a great online reputation—by asking your best customers to share their opinions online—but also monitoring your review profile regularly. Again, this is something you can do with simple software that helps you keep tabs on what buyers (or even employees and competitors) are saying about your business.
With a little bit of care and attention, your online reputation can become a source of new sales, rather than a part of your business that’s left to chance.
Looking for Help with Online Marketing and Reputation Management?
When it comes to finding customers online, what you don’t know actually can hurt you. Luckily, our team of creative and programming experts has a number of easy and inexpensive tools designed to help you keep your business in front of potential buyers every day.