How to Improve the Reputation of Your Business

How to Improve the Reputation of Your Business


Do you ever worry about what would happen if the reputation of your business was at risk or ruined? This is something that concerns all businesses and reputation management should be a huge part of any businesses success plans. With so many ways for people to find your business online, even from their mobile devices and a huge amount of different search engines available for people to use and check for feedback on your business, having a structured approach to avoiding negativity in the first place is a challenge that should be taken on pro actively by all.


More and more, people are relying on reviews and other online information before they buy anything from a company. This is called their digital reputation, which includes things like social media platforms posts, Google search results and other websites comments, specific web pages reviews sites, business listing site reviews and similar.


Companies understand that their reputation online can have a huge impact on profits both in terms of whether it is a negative or positive outcome. In recent studies over 90% of consumers stated that reviews on both service and product influences their intent to purchase when deciding between different products or companies.


People do not spend a long time on your website before they decide whether they will leave or stay. There are many ways to make sure that potential customers stay for longer and are more likely to make a purchase or contact you for information.


Websites, search engines and detailed digital marketing strategies are great for promoting your business, but what happens when you receive negative feedback about your business? In this blog post we will show you how you can deal with negative feedback and also how to plan to avoid it in the first place.

Customer Service Representative with Headset
Honesty is the Best Policy in Business.

Be Honest About What your Business Offers


You should always be transparent and honest about your services and products that you offer. It is always a temptation to exaggerate the benefits of something or stretch the truth in order to get more purchases, but the reality of doing this could instigate an influx of negative reviews when customers are disappointed or feel let down. Always tell customers exactly what they are getting and then you can be confident that they will have their expectations met on every occasion.


Be transparent and clear about all your companies policies at all stages of communication, including both prior to the customer making a payment for a service or product and post purchase in terms of cancellation terms, delivery time etc.


The message your company gives out on what they offer should be honest and transparent both verbally if customers are spoken to offline and also throughout online marketing including search engine results, meta description on product listings, own site descriptions, page titles, etc.


It is vital that a business keeps their promises on all. Don't over promise and under deliver to any customer and this will improve the chance of that customer leaving positive reviews rather than negative in the first place.

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A Joined up Approach with all Members of the Team is Business Critical.

Have Consistent Marketing Messages


Marketing strategies should always incorporate a consistent message to your audience. If you are constantly changing things you risk people getting confused and losing confidence in your company. A mixed message marketing strategy can also result in more customers misunderstanding the offer you have made to them on the basis of seeing different messages on similar listings on a search engine results page or other words seen on social media or your own website.


It is better to have one set advertising campaign for your marketing at one time, that maintains brand identity and promises, across multiple platforms rather than mixing different messages across different search engines, social media and other online media at the same time. It is okay to introduce a new strategy at a different time in the future, but again make sure this message is consistent with all the advertising that is done.


Whilst being consistent in your marketing messages make sure that also the messaging also includes your company values at all times.


Engaging with your audience on your company message and advertising campaign consistently and on a regular basis will enhance confidence and increase positivity.


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Don't Delay, Reply Today.

Respond to Reviews - Regardless of Content


The best thing to do when you receive a review, positive or negative, is to respond.

If the review is negative you should always explain what happened and what you are going to do to fix the issue.


A company that also responds to positive reviews also generates positivity with its customers who can see that you don't just respond when things are bad, but also communicate with customers when they are happy too. Customers that have left positive reviews that have been responded to with thanks from your company will be much more likely to become advocates for your business and support you online in any situations where negativity may have happened.


Being proactive and responsive when it comes to reputation management is key to your success in dealing with review management. Customers may have some concerns or questions and it is very important that you respond effectively to all and in a timely manner.

You will need to respond differently depending on where the review has been left. If someone has left a negative review of your business on social sites you should comment soonest and ask them to send you details via a private direct message in order to take the conversation off of public view and give you the opportunity to discuss all of their issues in detail privately, you can then encourage them to go back onto the original complaint and confirm that things have been resolved.


Sometimes a swift reply to a negative review or comment that is apologetic in tone is all you need for your reputation to be restored. It isn't always as easy as that but if customers feel like they are being heard they are much more likely to turn from being negative to positive quickly.


With all replies to reviews you should never become defensive of the issue. Always adopt a positive and apologetic approach regardless of the issue or what the customer has written. Having a non defensive approach to review responses will show other people reading the review that you are professional and can quickly make customers increase or maintain their trust in you regardless of the responses of the person who left the review in the first place.


In addition to responding quickly to reviews you should also respond swiftly to any unjustified rumours that have been left about your company online. Unfortunately this can happen to any business but a quick response clarifying the actual reality of the points raised will help to deter people from believing what is written by the person who made the original comments.


You should always monitor your reputation online throughout search engines and other websites on a regular basis.


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Put Your Bright Ideas into Motion.

Be Proactive to Boost Your Digital Marketing


You should be proactive in your reputation management, not only in responding to reviews, but also in taking what you have learnt from managing the reviews into enhancing the company performance from these learnings to avoid things happening in a similar nature again.


Listening to your customer feedback and instigating change within a business process to lower the chance of having more negative reviews on the same aspect of your business is a must.


Another way you can be proactive in managing reputation management is to encourage feedback from your customers as soon as possible after they have made a purchase from you.


It is much better for your business if a customer has had the chance to give you feedback directly before going to a public website and leaving their comments there. You should include a contact us page on your website that states the response time clearly once someone has sent you a message and you must make sure you stick to the time you have stated.


The best proactive action you can take with customers who have made a purchase from you is to contact them directly within a couple of days of the purchase date to check that they are happy with the product or service.


If for some reason the customer is unhappy they will have the opportunity to be heard there and then which should eliminate the need for them to leave a negative review of your company online. If they are happy with all then you have enhanced your customer service which will assist you with this customer in the future should something go wrong with a future purchase.


Man with a positive smile
Negative Content Will Only Bring a Negative Response.

Post Positive Content Only


When it comes to your digital marketing strategy it should always include wording and strategies that promotes happiness.


Promoting happiness within your marketing such as your social posts, SEO strategy and paid search listings helps people who read it to feel good and associate you and your services with positivity.


Having marketing that promotes happiness whilst viewing it can even increase online search volume for your business and can be regarded as high quality content that can improve your companies search rankings as more people read it, encouraged by the positivity in its content.


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Offline Reputation is as Important. Think Word of Mouth.

Don't Forget about your Offline Reputation


It is important to think about your offline reputation and not just concentrate on improving your online one.


It isn't always easy to know what people are saying about your company when it is something that hasn't been communicated online or to you directly so you need to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you in other ways, not just by email for example.


On many occasions people can be too shy to ask for help or ask for assistance for an issue so you need to make yourself as accessible as possible. It is true that doing all of the things mentioned to manage your online reputation will also enhance your offline reputation without doing anything else offline, however to ensure success offline too we recommend some additional actions.


Your website should clearly show your contact telephone number so people can be able to contact you offline if they prefer and also your physical address so people can come to your shop or office to discuss any issues or give you feedback.


You should consider communicating with customers on a regular basis via offline marketing such as direct printed marketing which you can send to them directly at their home (if you have their permission) and within this you can showcase your best offers but also as importantly encourage them to contact you with general enquiries too.


Inclusions of discount vouchers or money off incentives if they take an action from physical advertising can also enhance your communication offline and allow you to be aware of how customers are talking about your company off the internet.


Physical signs of your business even mentioned online such as address and even industry awards won can enhance reputation offline without you doing anything else.


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Don't be Afraid to Speak with Customers Often.

Communicate A Lot


Some companies feel that over communicating with customers is an issue and will put off customers but if done in the right way it can actually be a huge positive to enhance your visibility to all customers.


Communication channels should be joined up in approach so that the message is the same across all of them and a schedule of communication activity should be made in advance to ensure things can be planned in to actions for efficient delivery to your customers.


Regular and structured email communication, follow up phone calls or emails when someone purchases from you and social media updates are all great ways of delivering effective communication and are considered to be easily consumed by people so it is rare that it can become too much.


A lot of communication with customers keeps them attached to you and means if there is an issue they are much more likely to come to you directly to resolve rather than comment elsewhere where you have less control or will then have more work repairing.


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Build Customer Loyalty to Improve your Foundations.

Build Customer Loyalty


Once you have managed to make someone a customer the best way that you can keep them that way and improve loyalty is via a customer reward program.


Customer reward schemes for loyal customers can encourage them to make purchases with you again and again, plus enhance their opinion of your business.


Customers that spend more money with you or make multiple purchases can be rewarded at a higher level and informed of so, so that they are encouraged to continue to use you for their product purchasing or services knowing that they will receive additional discount or benefits.


Customer loyalty rewards can include money off vouchers, added values, free items, special event attendance and more.


Reward schemes are easy to integrate into your business and make them a part of your marketing plans and are massively effective in engaging customers with your business which will not only improve your sales but also reputation levels.


Old television on the street
Old or Outdated Content? Time to Change.

Check Website for Broken Links or Outdated Content


One of the things you can do to enhance your reputation online that is often forgotten about is the presentation of your website to potential customers.


If your website is full of errors, broken links or out of date information a customer will assume that either you don't care about your own business or you are careless which will potentially make them avoid you as they will anticipate potential issues with their purchase with you.


You should be checking your website on a regular basis for any errors or links that are broken. Website links can break without anyone doing anything so don't only check these things when someone has amended something online, incorporate a checking process that is scheduled regularly into your business activities. Load time should also be checked to ensure that your website isn't too slow so that potential customers lose interest.


When someone in your business makes updates to your website content it is easy to assume that they will do so correctly and despite you not wanting to be checking everything that people do within your business it is recommended to have a checking process in place for this from another person to ensure that everything is correct and visibility perfect for the people viewing it.


Businessman on the Phone
Over 50% of your Website Traffic will now Come from Mobile.

Make Sure your Website is Mobile Friendly


It is common these days that when websites are built that they are built for both desktop computer viewing and for mobile.


When you create posts or make changes for your website always check how this appears on your mobile site to make sure that it is in sync with all of the other content and hasn't disturbed the display of the existing site.


Customers should have full access to you whether they are at home or in the office, or indeed travelling around where the only access possible is via their mobile phone or tablet.


Digital Social Media Image
Social Media is Essential for Reputation Management.

Use Social Media to your Advantage


Social media is probably the best way that a business can be seen and heard by its customers. It is a great marketing platform for sharing news, product information and telling customers about any business updates that you may have.


Social marketing on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter offers a great opportunity to grow your customer base and allows people to have easier access to you as a business wherever they are.


You should have content planned for social marketing in advance and it isn't something that should be used with ad-hoc marketing messages. Social marketing should be part of your overall marketing plan and the updates you make should follow your overall brand and marketing plan.


Facebook and Twitter are great for getting feedback from customers with open question posts that encourage people to leave comments or offer guidance on their experiences with you. It also allows you to communicate with them in a positive and effective way to enhance your company profile to a large audience.


You can use social media to elevate your brand awareness. It is proven that many potential customers will check social media, predominantly Facebook, to see if you are present on there, before they make a purchase with you if they are not familiar with your business.


Remember as with reviews elsewhere if a customer has left either negative or positive comments on social posts you should approach the response in a professional and positive manner at all times and use the opportunity to enhance your company persona to a wide audience.


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Using Search Websites to Keep Your Name Prominent is Key.

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engines


Search engine optimization marketing is another strong method of communicating your company policies and processes. Creating strong website content that receives high search engine and google rankings will not only increase website traffic but also give you an opportunity to attract a new audience to your business at a minimal cost.


Ensure that your SEO traffic campaigns are not only created to boost traffic to your website but also have relevant content about your business itself and the positives of becoming one of your customers.


Research keywords so you can make the best chance of hitting a higher level of presence within the Google algorithm. It is easy to get a free account or free tools to check the best keywords for your business online.


Search engine optimization marketing can take a while to be seen but it can provide you with effective low cost marketing that is always present on a high amount of search terms that customers add to major search engines whilst seeking a product. Once you have managed to get a high search engine ranking for your post you will enhance your message to customers that will be seen alongside other websites about your business including review websites.


SEO is a great example of something that can enhance your companies reputation with your target audience on the basis that it improves your website's ranking and can allow your business to be seen online in more places giving customers more reassurance in purchasing from a company with such a large visual presence.


In order to increase your chances of getting a strong SEO ranking and in particular improve google rankings ensure you are creating website pages that have had strong keyword research including targeted keywords, long tail keywords, have inbound links, internal links and other relevant links, alt tags on images, header tags, meta descriptions on each page filled in correctly, blog post, page speed checks and page content that is relevant to the topic so search ranking on search engines is as high as it can possibly be.


Check how your performance is on Google analytics to see what pages are giving the best response and amend accordingly so you can build similar pages to enhance presence and brand opportunities.


A structured approach to on page SEO and site architecture can clearly result in driving more organic traffic to your business but other benefits include having a stronger day to day presence on key search engine websites which will improve your reputation and validity to potential customers.


Consider using an SEO agency for your SEO campaigns to benefit from their experience and allow you more time to concentrate on other aspects of reputation management.


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Spamming Your Audience will not End Well.

Avoid Spamming to Protect your Online Reputation


It is essential as a business to avoid activities that can put your reputation at risk. This includes spamming which is a process where you would put your business adverts into as many places as possible without thought such as spamming random social feeds with products that aren't relevant to the people reading it.


No one wants to see spam posts on their social media or receive spam emails in their inbox so people are very quick to turn against companies that constantly approach them with things they haven't asked to see or if they see the same thing again and again.

Spam messages and posts not only annoy people they also can lead to your website being blacklisted by search engines, affect your Google ranking or being banned from using social media platforms altogether.


Spamming potential audiences will only lead to negative outcomes. It will mean people turn away from your website, which means lower traffic to the website, lower sales and people unsubsribing to your social media pages.


You are much better as a business spending time building quality content and marketing practices to get people to view them effectively then spamming poor quality content that people will not engage with.


Beauty Vlogger
Working with Influencers isn't for Everyone but can Work Wonders.

Work With Influencers


Working with influencers is quite a new marketing process that isn't used by many companies, particularly smaller companies. However associating your business with a highly regarded celebrity or social superstar could bring a huge level of positivity.


The first thing to do when starting in influencer marketing is to identify which influencer are the best fit for your business. Also you need to identify which route to market you want to benefit most from using their influence. If you are looking to have someone support a television campaign find an influencer that is a familiar face with that audience and the same rule applies for a focus on social media, find an influencer who is known on the social platform you are looking to promote your business on.


When you have selected an influencer make sure they understand your business and connect with them correctly before beginning any campaign. You need to make sure you have a relationship with the person before they undertake any promoted work for you.

Make sure also that they tick as many boxes as possible against your own company beliefs and promises so you can be confident they will portray the company as closely as possible.


You will need to be clear in your message with the influencer into what you are trying to achieve by using them to represent your brand. If you are seeking brand acknowledgement in the form of social followers or looking for an increase in sales then make sure this is clear to all before commencing any campaigns.


Using an influencer can have a hugely positive effect on the appearance of your company within the audience the influencer represents and can boost your business in many positive ways.


Branding Packaging and Stationary
Branding Experts can be a Huge Positive.

Hire a Branding Expert


For those businesses who are really serious about maintaining a positive reputation hiring a branding expert is essential.


Having a branding expert onboard who has knowledge of reputation management will push your business to stand out from your competitors and improve the perception of your business to people.


Once a branding expert understands your business and your target audience they can target effectively online with branding exercises. They will check your competitors and other sites to see what they are doing online and build your brand to be stronger and more prevalent.


Having branding work done in your business will allow your to identify the promise and values that you should be focusing on to be able to build a high level of trust for current customers and for attracting new ones. This can be effective both online and offline.

Successful branding can improve the situation in any scenario including negative reviews.


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Now You've Finished Reading Let us Summarise.

Conclusion


This blog has given you ideas on the things a business can do to improve their reputation both online and offline.


Sometimes reputations get damaged and it is your actions as a business that determines the effect that these can have on your business.


Reputation management is all about being proactive with your responses and dealing with issues head on to take a negative to a positive.


Remember when customers have an experience with your business they share this with many of their own contacts. If you have a negative experience with a customer converting this into a positive and the communication that follows can without doubt make the whole experience a positive to your business.

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