How does your reputation online affect your business offline?

We live in a day and age where consumers openly air their complaints online for all to see. Ask any business owner to think back to a negative review left online, and they’ll sigh, wishing they could have resolved their customer’s concern privately before public and permanent damage to their reputation was done. Studies show that businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search engine results. Two negative reviews on the first page? 44% lost. Four or more? You could lose up to 70% of potential customers.Bad reviews impact not only what people think of your business, but also how likely they are to find you when searching for a local business, like yours, online. Reviews influence up to 13% of your SEO ranking which is what determines where your business lands in a search results page, and it’s not only determined by your star rating, but also the frequency, quantity, and velocity of your reviews.

Social media is the new word of mouth marketing, so it’s more important now than ever to ensure you have a strategy to protect your online reputation. This strategy will be crucial to growing your business offline and remaining competitive in today’s market.

Reviews are especially important for local searches as they influence up to 13% of their SEO ranking.

Step 1: Assess your online presence

Before you can make the most of your online presence, it’s important to understand where you currently stand and identify areas of improvement. Start by searching your business on the following popular review sites and answer these important questions:

Step 2: Grow your reviews, but don’t pay for them

One of the most powerful ways to attract more customers and increase sales revenue is to increase positive online reviews. Your star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge your business, so you need a lot of good reviews, often, with high ratings, and on multiple review sites to help grow your revenue offline.

While you want many positive reviews, you shouldn’t cheat the system by providing offers or discounts to solicit them. The majority of online reviews platforms (including Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable) maintain review policies allowing businesses to collect feedback from their customers as long as they don’t incentivize or pay customers in exchange for providing it. It’s not always so black and white though, so it’s important to understand the individual policies maintained by each platform. For example, Google recommends reminding your customers to leave reviews, while Yelp requires that you don’t ask customers, mailing list subscribers, friends, family, or anyone else to review your business.

80% of the major review platforms maintain a policy that allows you to ask for reviews.

Step 3: Respond to all reviews, especially the negative ones, and quickly.

Responding to reviews builds customer loyalty, engagement with your business, and helps you maintain a strong brand identity. All reviews–not just the negative ones–should be responded to, and with sincerity. While negative reviews are inevitable, your response will build credibility and humanize your brand. Plus, authentic reviews will provide you with great feedback to help you improve your business and will show authenticity and care when quickly responded to.

Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor, and they will do business with you again 70% of the time.

Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time. Source: Lee Resources.

Step 4: You’ve been given some great reviews… now what?

Many business owners miss out on leveraging their great reviews to further promote their brand. 77% of consumers like when brands demonstrate their appreciation (TD Bank), so recognize those good reviews by saying thanks through a social media post, feature them in your next email newsletter, or even highlight reviews on your website and in-store collateral. Customer generated testimonials can be a major asset to your marketing content.

77% of consumers like when brands demonstrate their appreciation (TD Bank).

Step 5: Reap the benefits and increase sales.

Once you’ve made reputation management a part of your marketing and operations strategy, watch your consumer base grow, become more loyal, and come back again and again.

Managing your online reputation can be a big task, but Zenreach helps make it easy.

Gain more customers reviews by automating how you ask for them. Use your WiFi portal to get real-time feedback and ask for reviews after customers visit through automatically triggered smart emails.

Take control of which reviews are shared online. Promote positive reviews and minimize negative reviews.

Respond quickly. Zenreach Mobile notifies you of new reviews and keeps track of what you still need to respond to.