Most small business owners wear more than one hat. From owner, to cashier, to marketer, to social media manager. Because of being pulled in so many different directions, small business owners often find that something has to give. What aspect of your business usually takes a back seat to the day to day challenges of owning and operating a business?
Over the last four years, I have worked with business owners across a variety of industries and of all shapes and sizes. Most consistently I find small business owners challenged with effectively navigating the ever-changing digital advertising ecosystem. Specifically, management and optimization of their online reputation causes considerable pain and frustration. Learning the details and processes for managing a business’s online reputation often falls to the bottom of the list for small business owners.
Despite what priorities you may have, your online reputation is extremely important.
Why Care About Your Online Reputation?
What will your customers think when they search for your business and come across this incomplete or inaccurate information?
Roughly 85% of customers use the internet to research before making a purchase.
Your online reputation may not be close to an accurate reflection of your actual business, but the online user doesn’t know that. The online user, especially those who have no experience with your business, only knows what they see online. With an increasing number of consumers consistently consulting online search engines prior to visiting a physical place of business, it is critical that you have an online reputation strategy in place. Consumers can quickly conduct a search on their mobile phones when consider where they will go for a product or service. Those consumers need to be able to easily find you and have your information be accurate. Will your current and potential customers be impressed and confident with the information they find online about your business?
Not only is it vital to have your business information listed accurately, positive reviews can also go a long way toward converting customers. Every day, even multiple times a day, customers are talking about businesses online. Platforms like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Facebook, and personal blogs, to name a few, give consumers a platform and a voice that allows them to comment on your business. Consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and this wealth of chatter can have a direct impact on sales.
More than once I have met with business owners who are haunted by bad reviews, unclaimed business pages, and inaccurate listings. Those individuals know where they want to their online reputation to be, but don’t know how to get there. If you're curious about what online reputation management is, the answer is simple: it's ensuring that your online reputation is good and that all accounts feature accurate information.
Some Tips for Cleaning Up Your Online Reputation
Maintaining your online reputation can seem extremely daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five things you can do to ensure your business reputation is positive online.
1. Confirm all of your listings are accurate. Simply Google your own business to identify any bits of information that are inaccurate. Even small things, like spelling out the word “suite” compared to using the abbreviation “ste” can effect your listing accuracy.
2. Claim your business page. When you Google your business, if you see a prompt that says “claim this page” make sure it is yours and then officially claim it.
3. Always respond to reviews. If a customer takes the time to leave a positive review, a simple “thank you” is appreciated and also noticed by other customers. Never ignore a negative review. Address it, acknowledge the customer’s feedback, and then attempt to make it right.
4. Ask your customers for reviews. When you create an awesome experience for someone, asking for a quick review shows them you really care about their experience and also helps you build your online rating.
5. Research your competitors. Take note of what they are doing right with their online presence and make a plan to emulate those best practices.
Have you been hesitant to implement a digital advertising strategy because you are unhappy with your current online reputation? Or, are you curious about how well you’re doing compared to your competition? Download our website scorecard today to see how you stack up and what actions you need to take to improve your online presence.