86% of people would pay more for services from a company with higher ratings and reviews.

45% said they have found something in an online search that made them decide not to do business with someone.

Reputation is EVERYTHING.

With the increase in internet and social media marketing, your brand is more visible than ever before. What consumers say about your brand online can significantly impact your business.

Let’s do some math based on the statistics above.

As an example, you own a luxury watch boutique.

You’ve implemented new marketing strategies that drove 20 prospective customers to your website this month. Your business sells $500 watches. Those 20 people read something positive about your brand on your google reviews and 86% or 18 people decided to purchase from you. You just gained revenue of $9000.

What if those same 20 people read something negative about your brand instead? 45% or 10 people have now decided not to purchase from you. You just lost potential revenue of $5000.

Your online reputation could mean the difference between a profit of $9000 or a loss of $5000.

Reputation management should be an integral piece of your business’s marketing plan because your online reputation can directly impact your sales.

If you haven’t been paying much attention before, it’s time to start.

We’ve created an ORM guide to help you sculpt your brand’s image and take control of the conversation.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is Online Reputation Management

Your online reputation is much more complex than Google reviews.

Before we dive into managing it, let’s discuss what it actually is.

Your online reputation is comprised of three elements:

Earned Content is the online information about your business that doesn’t require you to pay for it or write it yourself. You can think of it as free publicity. This includes customer reviews, content shares, and social media interactions.

Owned Content is the material you create yourself. This includes your website, blog, and social media channels.

Paid Content comes in the form of PPC (pay per click) advertising, display ads, paid social media promotion, content syndication, paid influencers, and all the other forms of content that require you to hand over your credit card.

With those three building materials, an online reputation is formed.

Each element is a space in which existing and potential customers can interact with your brand and form an opinion about your product or service.

Search Engine Marketing can greatly impact the owned and paid elements, but for this blog topic, we will focus on your least controllable but possibly most impactful element, earned content.

Reviews are an essential part of your online reputation.

Ask For Reviews

This may be most important for new businesses, but as stated earlier, reviews are critical. You need them in order to be viewed as a credible business. If you’re lacking in reviews, whether its Google or Yelp, ask for them.

Directly ask your customers as they exit or create marketing materials that remind them to review your product or service.

Monitor Reviews

Now that you’ve asked for and received reviews, you need to monitor them.

Google Reviews is a great tool to initially begin monitoring reviews.

With the help of Google Alerts, you can keep track of new content published about your business. In addition, you can monitor industry news and follow your competitors. This helps you identify new guest blogging and commenting opportunities.

Once you begin receiving reviews in greater quantities, automation will likely be necessary, as you will need to also respond to these reviews.

Respond To Reviews

Transparency is vital to the success of any online reputation management strategy.

Deleting or ignoring negative reviews will leave a bad impression to online viewers, as will engaging in an argument and placing blame.

You’re not just replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.

The best tactic is to acknowledge, apologize, and move the conversation offline.

“Dear Mr. Customer, we apologize for your experience at our place of business. We would like to learn more about this incident and make things right. Please give us a call at 123-456-7890. We look forward to hearing from you and earning back your business.”

You and your team will craft responses that best suit your business, but ensure that they don’t scream “copy and paste” as this will seem inauthentic.

Use Reviews To Your Advantage

Both positive AND negative reviews can be advantageous to your marketing strategy.

You can the reviews and ratings to highlight your brand’s strengths and publicly address its weaknesses.

Positive reviews and ratings can be highlighted on your website and used in your advertising. For example, many dealerships will promote their ratings from sites like DealerRater and Cars.com on their websites, social media, and television advertising. This allows you to showcase your business’s strengths and present yourself as a trustworthy establishment.

You can also use positive reviews to boost employee morale. Sharing positive comments with your employees will show them that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

Negative reviews can also be used to your advantage by showing your customers that you value their feedback.

First, you can evaluate any flaws in your business model or processes. Are your clients always complaining about wait times, rude staff, or even parking availability? This feedback can be used to improve your business.

Once you’ve made improvements, you can inform your customers of the changes. For example, parking may have been a huge issue at your restaurant, and your team decided to issue parking validation for the nearby lot. You could post updates to your social media profiles sharing the good news. Based on THEIR feedback, you made improvements. Showing your customers that you value their feedback can easily turn a negative situation into a positive one.

Again, transparency is essential to an effective online reputation management strategy. Taking control of the conversation will always prove effective.

The next thing you can do is utilize this feedback, both negative and positive, in your content marketing strategy. What are your customers saying about your business? Can you utilize a specific topic for a blog post or social media post? Do all of your clients compliment your artwork? Perhaps you create Instagram content tagging the local artist or write a story about the artist and why you selected them.

There will be tons of valuable content in your reviews. Utilize all of it!

Implement Your Reputation Management Strategy Today

Potential customers are observing your online presence and creating their own narrative every single day. It’s time for you to take control of the narrative and highlight the best of your business.

We offer services that allow you to monitor, collect, and share online reviews much easier by implementing technologies that automate your strategy, so you can focus your time on servicing your clients.

Online reputation management can literally be a full-time job, and we are here to help.

Get started on your 5-star rating by visiting our site today!

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