Ignite Sales with a Great Online Reputation Management Strategy in 2019
With the start of a new year, local businesses will be looking for ways to “ignite” their post-holiday sales. While many will stick to traditional marketing and advertising, another approach businesses should consider is employing an online reputation management strategy in 2019.
The reasons why this makes sense are two-fold: studies show that nearly 9 of 10 consumers look to the web first when searching products and services they want to buy. And, consumers also want to see what others are saying about these companies before they buy. By boosting your brand’s online reputation, you can capture the attention of these consumers and in turn pull in more sales.
So what would make for a great online reputation management strategy in 2019? There are many schools of thought on this subject. In our view, businesses must focus on the following 4 areas – online reviews, social media, business listings and online mentions.
So, let’s delve into these 4 key areas and learn why they are so important to making your online reputation management plan one that helps build your brand’s online image and increase sales in 2019 and beyond.
1. Online Reviews
When business owners think of online reputation management, the first thing that comes to mind are online reviews. This is no surprise. Online reviews can literally make or break a local business. Having negative reviews floating around on the web can be devastating for any business if not addressed.
This is why any successful online reputation management plan starts with monitoring online reviews. With more than 100 review sites on the web (and counting), consumers have plenty of options on where to leave feedback. It is more important than ever for businesses to keep track of customer reviews.
Of course, promptly responding to all online reviews is the primary task of review management. However, to reap real benefits, businesses need to go a step further and ask customers to leave a review regarding their experience on one of the popular review sites like Google, Yelp and Facebook. Generating reviews on a regular basis gives prospective customers recent, “fresh” reviews they want to read, helps increase your average star rating and boosts your local search rankings.
2. Social Media
Social media is a popular medium for consumers to excitedly promote and / or angrily vent about a business. Being unaware or ignoring social conversations about your brand can leave your online reputation vulnerable. Businesses not taking advantage of social media risk losing market share and perhaps the business failing altogether.
Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, provide a great opportunity for businesses to build their online reputation. The best approach is to be proactive and engage with people. Posting updates is fine, but add content that gets people talking.
Also, don’t resist trends on this medium. For example, many businesses use sites like Twitter and Facebook to answer customer service and support questions. Embracing social media will win positive online reputation points for your brand.
3. Business Listings
A requirement for every business is making sure their contact information is prominent so customers can easily find you. And, since most consumers search the web for businesses, having accurate contact information online is critical.
There are hundreds of websites – online business directories, search engines, social sites, GPS sites, etc. – where your business can be listed. These listing sites get business location information from a variety of sources including government agencies, data aggregators, search engine data and user generated content.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for this information to be incorrect and for that bad data to be passed on to one or more of these online directories. Because of this, monitoring and correcting this information is an activity that must be done on an ongoing basis.
The reality is consumers lose trust in a business if their contact information is missing or inaccurate on the web. Also, having accurate and consistent contact information across all business listings is also important to your local SEO efforts. Online business listings provide back links to your website and optimizing your listings helps boost local search rankings. And, Google penalizes businesses with inaccurate or inconsistent contact information with lower rankings in search results. This is why managing your business listings should be a key part of your online reputation management plan.
4. Online Mentions
Finally, a good online review management strategy should include monitoring online mentions about your business. Online mentions (those outside of online reviews and social media posts) include content such as mentions of your brand in blogs and articles, mentions in online comments sections, on message forums and other web citations.
Tracking online reviews and social media gets the most attention. But, having as complete a picture as possible of the conversations that are happening about your business online is optimal. Knowing this gives brands the ability to respond quickly to resolve an issue before it can seriously damage your brand’s reputation.
Pulling it All Together
Launching an online reputation management plan is an effective way to jump-start your sales in 2019. And, to maximize success, focus on these 4 areas – online reviews, social media, business listings and online mentions. Now, you just need to get your reputation-building, sales-generating initiative off the ground.
But, before you dive in, a few questions need to be addressed. One is are you putting the customer first in your business? Two, are you delivering exceptional customer experiences? Finally, are you willing to listen and engage with your customers? If you answered “no” to these questions, it will be difficult to build a positive online reputation and you will potentially hinder the chances of success of your business.
Something to keep in mind when developing an online reputation management strategy. Trying to manually monitor the hundreds of websites in-house without the help of a reputation management agency or software is not practical. There are several, low-cost options available to automate this process and give you the ability to focus your efforts on improving and growing your brand’s online reputation.
Even better is the fact that these systems are generally easy to get up and running, and can positively impact your online reputation and sales in a short period of time. So, if you are looking for a marketing strategy to “ignite” your sales in the new year, online reputation management is a great option.
Need help with building your brand’s online reputation? ReviewIgnite specializes in helping businesses leverage their online reputation to improve their brand image, attract more customers and increase sales. See our online reputation management software in action. Contact us to get your free, no obligation demo today! Happy New Year from all of us at ReviewIgnite!