A great Online Reputation is Critical for great Sales results!
I’m constantly amazed, at the seemingly low priority online reputation management is given. This article will show you why it should be front and centre of all business owners minds; and also the minds of their staff.
Why is a great online reputation so important?
Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative, on the first page of their search results
- Businesses with two negatives on the first page of search results, risk losing 44% of its potential customers.
- If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%.
- Have four or more negatives about your company or product appearing in Google search results? You’re likely to lose 70% of potential customers.
Can you see why this SO IMPORTANT?
The first step is actually to list your business properly so that search engines can find you… this is a critical first step that most businesses miss completely.
I have a suspicion that businesses don’t do much about their online presence and especially online reputation management because they have no idea what the impact is and secondly where & how to start managing it effectively.
This is especially true if their reputation is already tainted on one or more digital platforms.
Not knowing “how or where to start” is a problem, but not a valid excuse.
1. Effective Marketing
2. Have a marketing strategy before you start
3. Impact of Online Reputation
The main objective of marketing is to start or enhance a relationship with your potential customers, in order to be more attractive to them.
I love this quote from my Great, great uncle Henry Ford
“stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time”.
Part of effective advertising is to build on or to enhance the perception of your brand. If your online reputation helps people to think that another vendor is better by the lack of good opinions about your offering – you are already in a difficult position online.
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results
With the way that Google has setup their search algorithm, it is even more likely that people will go elsewhere if you are not managing your online reputation well.
Why am I talking about google and placing so much emphasis on it?
Google is where over 90% of people do their searching, and is where 75% of all discovery sessions are held before making any further enquiries about potentially buying anything.
The percentage of not doing business with your company increases significantly because google brings in “authoritative sites” such as trip advisor, true local, google my business listing, Yelp reviews etc… as part of the search results – about your business.
In conclusion to this section… market your business effectively in the places that the majority of your potential customers are looking for your type of product or service. Most people will be using google as a first port of call for most industries! You would do well to learn how to “work the system”, or employ someone who knows how and can prove it to you in a conversation.
Have a Marketing Strategy before you start
The 1st step:
A marketing strategy is a part of the overall strategy of a business, with the specific purpose of detailing HOW the business will connect with the existing customers and reach the potential customers and turn them into warm leads and opportunities for the product or service that the business provides.
Here’s how to cover the basics and actually be noticed and found easily for where you are located.
1. Claim your “Google my business” listing and setup an account for your business
2. Put the accurate business name, address and phone number in the listing
3. Select the right category for your business
4. Get some great reviews from your top customers who will write you a good review that shows why you are the preferred solutions provider for them.
The 2nd Step:
Make sure you are creating a system from which to not only put the right messages out, but also to manage the online reputation of the business.
Businesses looking for your services and or products will allow you to discuss their problems with you if they trust you to start with. The essential problem to start with solving is “how will you be seen as a trusted authority in your industry?”
As illustrated above, people trust online reviews as much, if not more, than personal recommendations!
How does your business present it’s value to the potential customers?
Your online reputation is part of your solution – and it comes first before they get to look at what you think is your solution (your Unique Selling Points) – that differentiate your business from all of your competitors.
This narrative needs to be driven through and around where you want to do business. Multiple touch points is one of the keys to great Lead Generation and Brand Positioning. All of these touch points need to be managed well for your online reputation to make you stand out from your competitors.
Making even a single page plan and strategy document or brand positioning statement, will allow you to have the basis for a solid online reputation management system if none exists at the moment. This will also allow you to share and instil these principles of management into your business practices. Therefore automation and systemisation will take hold and help you to become more successful with the implementation of the brand positioning strategy and plan.
Impact of Online Reputation
Consumer reviews and business review platforms such as trip advisor and trust-pilot continue to gain influence in search engines like Google. A good review is an easy way to get that bump over your competition. Likewise, a negative review will stay online forever.
Google has a very strict policy on what they will remove. So, consider the fact that a bad review might be seen once a day for 10 years. That’s 3,650 potential customers who will be scared away by that complaint.
Using a $10 product as an example, that’s $36,500 in potential business lost from a single bad review that ranks highly in Google. With a higher value item the odds are worse, because people take a lot more time with investigating larger purchases… with fewer vendors.
Employers, clients, colleges and customers are increasingly using Google as their sidekick before making important decisions. What shows up in your search results could mean the difference between a job and the unemployment line, a new customer and a lost opportunity, an investor meeting and an unanswered email.
There’s no excuse for being unaware of your online footprint. In fact, it’s downright irresponsible.
Here are some hard hitting statistics (and a few years old now – hence they will be even higher now), that prove the value of online reputation management.
The Power Of Online Reviews
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. (2016)
- Online reviews have been shown to impact 7% of purchasing decisions. (2015)
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. (2016)
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. (2016)
- Every one star increase in a Yelp rating means a 5 to 9% increase in revenue. (2016)
- 82% of Yelp users said they typically visit Yelp because they intend to buy a product or service. (2013)
We live in a world where your online reputation can be your strongest asset or your biggest liability.
The Power Of Search Results
- 91% of online adults use search engines to find information on the web. (2012)
- 65 percent of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source. (2014)
- Nearly 50% of US adults who Google themselves say the results aren’t positive. (2012)
- 93% of searchers never go past the first page, instead using only the first 10 search results to form their impression. (2014)
Impact On Sales Results
- Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results. (2015)
- Businesses with two negatives on the first page of search results risk losing 44% of its customers.
- If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%. (2015)
- Have four or more negative articles about your company or product appearing in Google search results? You’re likely to lose 70% of potential customers. (2015)
- Nearly half of U.S. adults said they have Googled someone before doing business with them. (2012)
- 45% said they have found something in an online search that made them decide not to do business with the person.
- 56% have found something that solidified their decision to do business with the person.
The Effect On Hiring And Firing
- A bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire. (2016)
- 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from 11% in 2006. (2017)
- Of all recruiters, 95%believe that the job market will remain or become more competitive. If you don’t stand out online, your competition will. (2015)
- Seventy-five percent of HR departments are required to search job applicants online. (2010)
- Eighty-five percent of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals say that an employee’s online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent. Nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent. (2010)
- Seventy percent of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online. (2010)
- 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online (2017)
The Alongside Difference
We believe in partnering with and helping people. If you orient your business around being helpful and putting the customers needs before yours (as long as those customers are your target market) you will actually do better business and be able to charge more for it – in most cases.
We are in business to partner with people to properly diagnose the root cause of the roadblock to their business growth – from a sales and marketing perspective. Online Reputation management is a serious problem that we are keen to help people understand by guiding them through the reasons, areas to look at and solutions to this big problem.
Our aim is to lead businesses into growth, through the growth cycle and out into continuously growth outcomes.
Business Growth Simplified!
Wrapping it all together
Wrapping it all up… without knowing your business it is nigh on impossible to advise where and how best to start… accept – start with google and work your way out from there.
Every business is slightly different. Following these points above as an initial guide will start to get you and your business further down the path of getting more benefit from your marketing efforts.
Yes we do have packages – like every other marketing company, however they all need to be modified for your business, your budget and your goals.
Give us a call if you would like some help to start or ramp up your journey of growth.
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About the Author
Matthew Benn is the founding partner of Alongside Business Consulting. He has been a senior BD and sales leader for over 12 years, as well as being a small business owner for more than 8 years.
He really enjoys the challenges and successes that come with developing people and growing businesses, hence has taken these passions and put Alongside Business Consulting on the map. Our aim is to help business owners take control of their destinies and build their businesses successfully… Business Growth Simplified.
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