If you want your business to be successful in today’s world, you simply can’t ignore online reputation management. It is so easy for your customers to provide feedback on your products or services, so you need to make sure you have a good handle on what they are saying and how to respond. A negative review online that doesn’t get a response can be very detrimental to your business.
I’m constantly talking about ways small businesses can improve their SEO, and in my opinion, reputation management may just be one of, if not the most, important factors involved.
By implementing a professional, ongoing reputation management strategy correctly, you’ll see an increase in web-based leads and sales.
Let’s dive into some of the basics to see what I’m talking about.
Why online reviews are important
When a person is looking for a product or service online, they want to be reassured that they’re getting the value they’re looking for and want a definitive reason to choose you over the competition. Let’s put it this way. While traditional SEO tactics get you to the top of search engine results pages, online reviews are what close the deal for you.
Online reviews are basically modern day referrals, so having numerous reviews online is a great way to stand out in your field. No matter how great your marketing efforts are, people are always going to trust what is said about your company from others than from you, so make sure the narrative others have of you is a positive one.
In fact, if you can get to the top of search engine results pages AND have 5-star reviews and comments, you’ll be golden. You’ll become the safest, most reliable, and most recognized choice – a real no-brainer for whoever crosses your path.
Managing your online reputation
It’s imperative that you have an online review strategy to encourage positive reviews and counter negative ones. Essentially, if you don’t take the time to manage your online reputation, it will manage you instead.
To create a strong offense for positive reviews, and defense for negative reviews, I’d recommend the following eight tips and tactics:
1. Never write, buy, or encourage fake reviews…major no! Don’t be sketchy. Encourage genuine and real reviews.
2. Be smart about asking your customers for appropriate feedback.
3. Develop a feedback routine with simple instructions.
4. When asking for feedback, make sure your customer includes the product or service they used as part of the review.
5. Collect reviews on your website first and foremost. That way, if the reviews are negative, you have time to address it before it gets shown to the rest of the online world.
6. Create a custom online review funnel. Make it as easy as possible for them to review your business.
7. Always engage with the people who review, whether their comments are positive or negative. For positive comments, be sure to thank them as it may encourage them to leave additional reviews in the future.
8. Don’t panic over negative reviews. They happen. Just remember to take the high road and respond professionally.
This should go without saying, but remember that you and your employees represent your brand. Whatever anybody in your company says outside of work will still be a reflection of your brand. Be sure to set policies around this within your organization.
Why content is even king with online reviews
While bad reviews clearly aren’t good for your business, one-liner reviews aren’t so beneficial either.
Detailed reviews containing keywords that are relevant to your business are far more valuable than generic ones. See if you can get your customers to be as detailed as possible and have them describe their experience in depth and why it was so great.
Write reviews to get reviews
You can actually build your brand online by giving reviews to companies within your partner and referral networks because what helps them will, in turn, help you. Google and LinkedIn are great places for getting reciprocal reviews, so start there.
The value of Google+ and Google My Business
If you’re rolling your eyes at the mention of Google+, you’re not alone. Google+ is the most underutilized and misunderstood social media platform, but it can actually be extremely powerful for your business and is the best network for improving your SEO, so if you’re not currently using both Google+ and Google My Business, it’s time you start…now.
At the end of the day, reviews attract the customer, but your website and process keep them around. If a potential customer sees great reviews but finds a weak web presence, you won’t keep them for very long. However, if your smart about your inbound marketing efforts and total online presence, and can get yourself to the top of search engine results pages along with a plethora of positive online reviews to go along with it, you’ve basically got a slam dunk and can take a seat and watch as your sales and leads start to roll in.