You’ve probably heard of reputation marketing or reputation management marketing. It’s the practice of managing and promoting a company’s reputation to attract more customers. A company’s reputation is its image, and a strong reputation can be the difference between success and failure. The real question is: how can you build a positive business reputation without breaking the bank?
The answer is reputation marketing. The reputation marketing process is a form of advertising that uses testimonials to increase trust and online visibility for a business, product, or service.
Why Reputation Marketing Matters
For small business owners, customer feedback is critical to driving sales. If you treat customers right, they’ll tell their friends—resulting in new business and growing your reputation as a business that offers excellent deals and service. But how do you get customers to talk about you? There’s no shortcut to building an excellent reputation and offline, but reputation marketing campaigns can help you get there.
When it comes to small business marketing, many wonder if reputation marketing is really worth the time and effort. After all, how much exposure can you get from a single mention on your favorite online review site? With a little bit of effort, a lot. Reputation marketing programs can be an effective way to reach new customers. Because of how review sites work and how they are searchable on the web, you can get plenty of exposure from a single review.
A lot of people focus on their online reputation, which is definitely essential. But what about their offline reputation? An excellent reputation can make a small business stand out from the crowd, and if you are looking to get your business some attention, you should think about how to use reputation marketing.
Build a reputation– don’t sell a product
We live in a world of digital reputation. Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere run the show. With so much of our lives online, it’s not surprising that online reputation is more important than ever. Building a reputation requires more than just having a friendly website and an excellent social media presence. The reputation of a business is made up of countless details, and it’s a reflection of how you treat customers, employees, and the community around you.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs are busy people. They’re looking to get the biggest bang for their buck, so they can focus on what’s really important: their business. For this reason, they want to make sure their money is going toward quality (not quantity). They want to make sure that the reputation management services they buy are going to be effective.
Customers tend to remember experiences, so your reputation after a positive or negative one will be likely to stick.
Are you worried that a negative review will bring down your business? If so, you’re not alone. According to a study done by BrightLocal, almost half of small business owners feared a single bad review would have a significant impact on their positive brand reputation. Unfortunately, these fears aren’t unfounded. In fact, it takes an average of six positive reviews to make up for a negative one.
So how do you manage your reputation? Do you pay attention to all the comments left about you online? Do you read every review on Yelp or TripAdvisor? The truth is, you likely will not have time to do any of these things. That’s why it’s essential to nurture your reputation with intelligent strategies rather than reactionary tactics. Your reputation is often viewed in a positive or negative context. Therefore, it’s crucial to think about the best way to manage your reputation when you’re in a positive or negative situation.
The difference between a good and bad experience is striking. The next time you’re out and experience something good, notice the feeling that you get. It’s different than any other feeling you’ll have. You feel good. You feel happy. You feel like you like that person or business from that moment on. A good experience is what hooks people to a company, keeps them coming back, and if they have a terrible experience, they’re gone for good.
How to create a reputation marketing strategy for your business
The online reputation of a business is as vital to its success as any other part of its operations, including its products or services. That’s because whether you’re a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) operation, consumers and potential clients are researching you online, and the results of those searches can make or break your business.
That’s where reputation marketing comes into play. Reputation marketing is designed to promote the good things about your business and to push the bad stuff out of the way. This is done by creating and disseminating content — often in the form of reviews — about your company.
You’ve probably heard that “80% of online reputation management is determined by 20% of your actions.” This seems to be true since many businesses tend to focus on a few key elements to cultivate a stellar reputation while ignoring the others. Of course, this is a mistake since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reputation marketing efforts. Every client is different, so you have to tailor your reputation marketing strategy to their needs.
Components of a reputation marketing campaign
Why are reputation management and multi-channel reputation marketing services essential to small businesses? An excellent reputation is a difference between a small business that succeeds and one that fails, plain and simple.
In a world where businesses can be found online in less than 30 seconds, and where the average consumer can access anywhere from 30 to 100 reviews on a company in the same amount of time, it’s becoming more and more difficult for small businesses to make a name for themselves—and that’s where reputation marketing solutions come in–avoiding poor customer service which results in negative reputation or poor reputation experiences for their customers.
There is an art to reputation marketing, and it requires a set of components in order to be successful. First, there is the actual marketing campaign. This is what brings in new business, and it must be done with finesse. It takes a seasoned reputation marketing company to know how to make your business a household name in a positive manner. However, simply advertising your business is not enough. For a reputation marketing campaign to be effective, you must also monitor it and make adjustments along the way.
Another critical component is the business’s online presence. You need to have a website that is attractive, informative, and easy to navigate.
And then there is social media or social networks. You may have heard that social media is a must-have for any business. Social media comments and recommendations can become the social proof that is critical to elevating your brand and keeping you top-of-mind.
A comprehensive content marketing plan using positive brand content coupled with creative strategies encouraging user-generated content can do some of the heavy lifting by effectively creating ambassadors for your brand.
Reputation Marketing: Keys to Success
When it comes to online reputation marketing, the first thing we think of is social media. The majority of companies are aware of the importance of positive reviews on sites such as Yelp, CitySearch, and Angie’s List. The digital space offers an opportunity for potential customers to see how other people feel about the services or products a company provides. However, it’s often not enough to simply have positive reviews on these sites.
Taking the next step and proactively marketing these reviews and promoting your positive reputation is key to separating your brand from the competition. Treating the reviews as assets you can include in your online and offline marketing campaigns can help growth in lead generation and, ultimately, new customers.
Monitor and Manage Brand Reputation
It would be nice if reputation management was as easy as monitoring and managing your reputation on social media comments, but that isn’t the case. Today’s consumers are more media-savvy than ever before. They understand the difference between positive and negative publicity. If you want to manage your reputation, you have to know how to generate favorable news while also learning how to respond to negative press. If you handle all that correctly, then your business will be in the best possible position to succeed.
Review generation should become a priority and a foundational part of your marketing efforts. Effective review management and review acquisition tactics can be easily incorporated into your daily business flow. The review process should be designed to be easy for the customer.
Reputation monitoring or reputation marketing software is most commonly used for this task. A customer review should become an objective or goal within your customer journey or sales process. Five-star reviews are obviously most desired, but even service failures that result in a lower rating can be turned into opportunities.
Customers don’t expect to read only positive reviews on review platforms. Negative comments or disgruntled customers are a regular thing, even for the best of brands. How you respond to unhappy customers will be a key differentiator in the decisions made by the vast majority of prospective customers.
Have a Crisis Communications Plan
Some of the most important digital marketing advice we give to our clients is to prepare for the inevitable negative review. Bad reviews are part of the game and require a crisis management mindset in response.
It’s how you respond to them that matters. When consumers search the popular digital channels to read your brand story or evaluate your online visibility, they are considering the average reviews. Decisions are made on whether to do business with you are made as much as how you deal with unhappy customers. Did you show empathy and make an effort to reach out?
Collect as much information about the transaction as possible. Identify the facts. Craft a response that does not place blame but instead seeks resolution or a better outcome for the customer. These simple steps can take a negative customer experience and at least turn it into a neutral, if not a positive, experience in the end.
Related Reputation Marketing Questions Found on the Web
How does reputation marketing differ from reputation management?
While there are many similarities between reputation marketing and reputation management, reputation marketing tends to focus on promoting positive content with the goal of improving a brand’s image and, subsequently, its’ sales.
What is Online Reputation Marketing and Why You Need It
Online reputation marketing has become an important element of customer acquisition and retention. With the power of customer feedback and social media, more and more brands are paying attention to what their customers are saying. Today, companies that implement reputation marketing solutions enjoy long-term growth and success.
Why Brands Should Think Reputation Marketing, Not Reputation Management, To Win The Future
The reputation management industry has long reinforced these negative habits of thought, stoking fear that our brands will be hobbled and our businesses shuttered by bad press or scathing reviews. As brands and business owners, we’re made to feel desperate, whip-sawed by forces beyond our control. And rep management providers swoop in to sell desperate solutions to desperate buyers.
The Chamber Boost initiative is focused on providing simple, easily deployed, cost-effective reputation marketing solutions and content marketing strategies to small business owners.
Chamber Boost is a small business reputation marketing service of Old River Media Group. For more information on our service, schedule a no-obligation consult.