Businesses are learning the importance of protecting their online reputation.
A company's online reputation can either be great, poor or non-existing. Your prospective clients can instantly look you up on local search directories like Yelp, SuperPages, MerchantCircle, Kudzu, Google Maps and many others. Your customers can leave comments, both good and bad, on these directories.
When John Doe Consumer goes online and searches for your business based on your keywords he will find you and other businesses comments and reviews. These reviews show up in the search results as "Star Ratings" (1-5 stars).
Today's buyers know that business owner cannot erase negative online reviews. So, how do you control the comments and reviews from clients?
There are only two ways to post comments from your clients. Either the client has to do it, or you can retain the services of a reputation management company. These reputation management companies use highly specialized and sophisticated software to ensure that your positive comments get posted.
Google and the other search engines and directories usually do not post comments when they are submitted from the same IP (Internet Protocol Address) address, as they deem the reviews to be spam.
A good reputation management company can help you set up an ongoing positive review system for your business. This helps you identify customer service issues before they become a real problem. In today's "instant" world you have to know when a client is dissatisfied so that you can quickly find out why and what you can do to make it right.
Remember, most of your customers will not take the time to post a positive comment. Positive comments are like referrals from your clients. They are promised, but almost never materialize.
Online reputations give your prospects, social proof that you are a trusted business. The more positive reviews you have the better the reputation and the more trust you have. Your positive online reputation can give you more pre-sold customers, but it won't happen when your reputation is negative or non-existent. Consumers wonder why you have a poor or non-existing reputation.
It is critically important for you to check your own online reputation periodically and take it seriously. By not proactively creating an online reputation it allows others to create your reputation for you.
Controlling your reputation can be as easy as setting up marketing assets such as a website, a social profile, display ads, videos, articles, community relations contributions, chamber of commerce activities and more.
Christine Marek is president of Bushido Marketing in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (480) 456-4700 or visit www.BushidoMarketing.com.