Owning and operating a small business is no easy feat, even if you have a market cornered and provide high-quality and well-liked products. Knowing how to build an online reputation that is positive is essential as society continues to adapt to a world that runs online. Taking the time to build an online reputation for your business is a way to stay ahead of your competition without the risk of losing current customers who prefer to find businesses and merchants using the internet.
Why a Great Online Reputation Matters
Having a great online reputation can help you with gaining trust, boosting your website’s search rankings, increasing conversions, and outperforming competitors.
Advantages of a Positive Online Reputation
- Gaining Trust: Users browsing the internet are more likely to trust a new business or brand that has a positive online reputation.
- Boosting Your Website’s Search Engine Rankings: Companies that are well-liked are more likely to appear within the first page of search results of top search engines.
- Increasing Conversions: Attract more visitors and therefore conversions to your website with a positive online reputation.
- Outperforming Competitors: When you have the best rating and the most reviews out of all of your competitors, it is much easier to outperform their sales and the number of conversions they generate.
So, what is the case when you have no reputation, or a negative reputation?
Disadvantages of a Negative Online Reputation
- Scare off prospective customers: Companies without reviews are likely to scare off prospective customers who are skeptical of fraud or have been scammed in the past.
- Earn a bad name for yourself: With no effort to change a negative online reputation, your business may earn a bad reputation with individuals who have never heard of your company.
- Revenue left on the table: Businesses that do not take their online reputation seriously are much more likely to leave revenue on the table as it pertains to lost opportunities for sales.
The 6 Keys of Building a Great Online Reputation
Key #1. Research Your Current Online Reputation
Before you begin to build your online reputation strategy, it is important to research whether or not there are already reviews and rankings for your business and brand. Spend time researching to seek out any positive, neutral, or negative reviews, write-ups, and ratings your brand has received online.
Using this free tool below, you can get a deep insight into what your online reputation looks like across the entire customer journey!
If you discover that there is a negative review or rating that has drastically impacted your overall rating, do not overreact. Simply collect links that include current reviews to save them for responses once you have developed a working reputation strategy.
Key #2. Respond professionally to reviews
While it may feel hurtful or offensive to see your business receiving negative remarks, it is important to remain professional and courteous at all times. Avoid responding to individuals with personal insults or rebuttals. Simply address the issue the user has experienced with your business and attempt to rectify the situation using a refund, discount, or even a free product or service.
Also, while it is important to respond to negative reviews quickly, it is just as important to ensure you have a cool-down period to help avoid saying something that may cause more damage. Responding to negative reviews is how you show your company’s true colors and it can be a great way to build more trust in your business.
Key #3. Contact websites with negative reviews directly
Another way to help improve the online reputation for your business is to contact any website with a negative review about you directly. Contact a website with a negative write-up and inquire about any action you may take to remove a negative review or rating about your brand, especially if it is false or inaccurate. If you are contacting a blog owner themselves, attempt to reason with them and request a future review once you have implemented changes or updates to your current business model.
There are hundreds of online directories that could potentially hold reviews for your business. It is important to monitor all of them, systematically, to ensure all negative reviews are accurate and responded to.
Key #4. Ask for reviews!
One way to quickly begin building a positive online reputation for a new business or brand is to request reviews and authentic testimonials from satisfied customers and clients you have served. Request a review from your customers using an eCommerce checkout by sending an automatic follow-up email with a link to a survey or questionnaire. Use social media to request reviews from satisfied customers in exchange for free products, services, or future discounts.
Keep in mind! Many review sites do not authorize the use of your soliciting reviews for rewards. Yelp is a well-known player in this field that strongly discourages the solicitation of reviews in exchange for some value to the customer/client. Be sure you know the rules of requesting reviews before you start offering discounts or gift-cards for reviews!
The best thing to do here is simply going back to your existing customer base and ask them for reviews. At WESFED, we have a tool that will do this for you while making it easy for your customers to click and review.
Key #5. Showcase reviews and testimonials on your website and within newsletter emails
Use positive reviews and testimonials on your website, and within the emails you send. You can also use them in emails to subscribers to drive traffic to your website while increasing conversions. Positive reviews help to gain the trust of new visitors who may not be familiar with your business. Using reviews from a reputable source, such as Google or Yelp, help build trust in this regard.
Key #6. Remain active on social media
Building an online presence with the use of social media is essential when you want to take your online reputation seriously. Just be sure to avoid these common social media mistakes! Post consistently using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram by sticking to a schedule. Connect with followers by answering questions, responding professionally, and remaining kind at all times. Use social media marketing to implement A/B testing to learn more about the wants and needs of your followers and to quickly boost conversion rates and the number of followers you have.
While building an online reputation for your brand or business is not always possible immediately overnight, it is one of the most important elements of running a successful company in any industry. With the right plan of action to build a positive online reputation, quickly establish yourself as an authoritative, trustworthy, and credible brand.
What does your reputation look like right now?
Use our free reputation tool above to get deep insights into what your online reputation looks like right now!