Local Business Reputation Management
In these competitive times, it’s important that all businesses – small, medium enterprises or large conglomerates – maintain a positive local online reputation. Be it a hotel, spa, salon, a car wash company, dental clinic, restaurant, fast food joint or aquarium store, your business needs to have a stronghold on its digital presence and a stellar online reputation strategy.
However, it goes without saying that technology has largely come to influence the reputation a business creates in the minds of its target audience as perceptions can be developed nowadays, with a bit of algorithm, the right kind of content, information about your products and services and customer reviews on different platforms.
Determining the kind of reputation a local business maintains is as easy as going through the online reviews about that business, both on search engine queries and singular online review sites. These customer reviews in the digital world have taken the place of word-of-mouth recommendations from a trusted friend or acquaintance. Reviews reveal what your existing customers think about the quality of your products and services, and if they are likely to visit your website or store again.
What Studies Say About Online Reviews
According to a local consumer review survey in 2017, 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, while 12% looked for a local business online every day. Further, another 2015 study showed that online reviews and ratings that people mostly see on search engines impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions. Better the star ratings and customer reviews online, better is the reputation of your business. Nowadays, it’s all about what people see in the search engine results. Even one negative article can cost businesses about 22% of their potential customers. When people are looking for a particular product or service, three negative online reviews on the search engine results can make a business lose 59.2 % of its customers. With four or more negative reviews, this goes up to 70 %.
It is an average of seven reviews that people read online before forming an opinion about a local business, says the 2017 survey report. Managing your reviews is equally important as this report states that 30 % people decide if they want the services of a local business by how these businesses respond to their customers.
With numbers indicating the need for businesses to build a strong reputation especially on the first page of Google, on Google My Business and online review sites that are relevant to your business such as Google+ local, it becomes all the more valuable to manage local business reputation. In the digital world, First Impression is the Last Impression. So your search engine visibility and the initial reviews people see online about your business largely impact your business reputation.
Benefits of Having a Good Business Reputation Online
• Improves your customer engagement and their perception of your business
• Positive online reviews enhance your site traffic and conversion rates
• Encourages you to develop new products and services and customizing them as per customer’s needs and preferences
• Builds on a long-term relationship with your customers who are more likely to deliver repeat business
• Appeals to potential candidates if and when your company is hiring. Positive online reviews help build a candidate’s confidence in your business.
• Makes your brand more credible and transparent, thus strengthening the trust of your customers in your brand
• Gets investors to trust in your brand as what they find when they search your business online could pretty much seals the deal for you
• Lets your brand become more convincing and authoritative, especially to influential people on social media as well as the media. Once covered by the media, your site gets increased traffic and of course, some good advertising – thus enhancing your brand awareness. Advertising that happens because of your online reviews is way better than paid ads that you develop as part of your marketing decisions.
• Helps attract new customers as 47% of people click on the first three listings
• Determines your brand’s image over a period of time – Consistent positive reviews make your brand trustworthy and a go-to platform in your industry.
• Increases your ROI substantially as online review sites help your company appear in the crème de la crème among all other businesses in the same industry. Also, most people take considerable action only after they look up your business online.
Are online reviews the final verdict then?
Albeit businesses can gauge their site performance and online reputation from the insights that online reviews offer; website traffic and social media tractions are other important ways to know how you are doing as a business. Especially at a time when your business is a new start-up, it needs the right attention on social media as well as on search engines. As more and more customers take to social media to post about their experiences with businesses, it’s beneficial to track what they are saying about your brand on these social sites.
However, to stay ahead in your industry, the online reviews about your business also need to be recent. Your business will neither get visibility nor will it attract new customers if your reviews happen to be a few months old or worse, years older. Not only do you need to subtly encourage customers to write online reviews and give positive feedbacks, you also need a strategy in place to timely and meaningfully respond to these reviews.
In case these are negative reviews, the way you respond and resolve your customer’s issues will prove that you care about what customers think about your business, thus generating a positive sentiment among them. Your review responses also become a factor that influences how potential customers judge your business and your approach to customer service, professionalism and business development.
Internet never forgets – when any comment is made on your business, whether positive or negative – it stays there forever unless you counter a negative review with a real-time solution, no marketing tactic is going to work in your favor. But people may forgive, only if you make the effort to actively resolve issues immediately – both online and offline, engage with customers and are willing to set things right.
For positive reviews, a simple note of appreciation works!
Sometimes, the comments on your website blogs can say a lot about how positively or negatively people view your brand as, and if they are likely to recommend your business to their friends and family. It also gives you a chance to be a part of the conversation and let the buzz about your brand to continue. You can also choose to consolidate all the positive reviews about your business from different review sites and blog comments on a webpage on your site. Even relevant content on your blogs and other marketing materials can contribute to the nature of your local business reputation.
Our Approach to Local Business Reputation Management
Most businesses find it difficult to manage digital marketing strategies beyond claiming their business listings on trusted online directories. What they need is a professional partner who can handhold them into addressing customer concerns, as well as monitor online reviews, blog comments and social media feedbacks to gauge and enhance their business performance over a stipulated time frame.
Our team of expert digital marketers and creative professionals ensure that your business details are search-engine optimized and mobile friendly so as to increase your chances of being visible and thus being reviewed. We then help you know where your current local business reputation stands and monitor what people say about your business online, help your respond to negative reviews better and chalk out strategies that can improve your reviews and ratings over a period of time, giving you the ultimate control. This enables your business to enjoy Google star ratings and reviews so your brand appears in the ‘above the fold’ space (the top portion) on search engine results page which mostly covers Google reviews. Our consistent yet subtle promotion of positive customer reviews on your website helps you further sustain your esteemed reputation.
However, we understand that reviews are not always offered on their own; you need to ask for them and encourage people to write them. Our marketing strategies are motivated to make your customers leave honest feedbacks on different review sites, eventually adding to the number of positive conversations around your brand.
When your brand has more positive reviews and features on top on review sites specific to your industry, your business becomes a rage among customers, social media influencers, journalists, bloggers, investors, business moguls and politicians alike. This comes only when you connect with your customers, understand and resolve their concerns and really hear them out.
After all, online reputation management is not a trend or a buzzword, but a carefully thought out and a long-term marketing strategy that has come to define any and all businesses in the digital space. Here’s to a winning online reputation!