A strong reputation has long been the most effective marketing tool for businesses of all kinds. Previously, building goodwill simply meant providing quality products or services to inspire positive feedback via word of mouth.
In today’s digital age, social proof largely takes the form of online ratings and reviews. These are far more powerful than many business leaders realize. Positive reviews can lead to substantial increases in revenue. Negative feedback, however, can cause irreparable damage.
While consumers may eventually forget to remove bad reviews, bad reviews remain highly visible for years — and when information about the competition is so readily available, few customers are willing to give poorly-rated businesses the benefit of the doubt.
Thankfully, it’s possible to take control of the narrative via online business reputation management. Keep reading to discover the value of your company’s digital reputation — and to discover how it can be managed to suit your best interests.
Consumers Depend on Reviews
SEO, PPC, and social media may be crucial for building brand awareness, but today’s discerning customers rarely invest in products or services without first checking reviews. Data from the Pew Research Center reveals that 82 percent of adults in the U.S. at least occasionally read reviews prior to making purchases from unfamiliar visits. These ratings play heavily into decision-making. While many customers will forgive the occasional negative comment, they tend to eye poorly-reviewed brands with suspicion.
Upon observing a strong online reputation, consumers are more likely to be persuaded into making purchases. Simply put, people trust other people. While they’re happy to take comments from friends and family members into account, they also appreciate the sheer volume of reviews available online. No matter how creative your marketing campaign is, many consumers will always defer to the opinions they find from fellow customers.
A Strong Reputation Increases Brand Loyalty
Scoring first-time customers is difficult enough in today’s competitive market, but getting them to return can prove even more challenging. This is worth the effort, however, as loyal customers have the potential to deliver an impressive return on marketing investment. Unfortunately, a problematic reputation can sow doubt into previously pleased customers, to the point that they may question their own experience or wonder if it’s possible to replicate.
A positive online reputation facilitates brand loyalty by triggering memories of previous brand experiences. This, in turn, leads to dedicated consumers who are willing to act as advocates for your business. Such loyalty can provide a protective element in the worst-case scenario of reputational damage.
There’s no denying the power of reputation to amplify or damage your profits. Any effort you dedicate to online business reputation management will be rewarded in the form of loyal long-term customers, eager first-time consumers, and a significant boost in profit.
If you’re ready to take control of your online perception, look to Net Reputation for help. A trusted online reputation agency, we offer a range of reputation management services, including content suppression and social media monitoring. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.