Reputation Marketing is the process of building a good reputation and then letting prospective customers know about it so that they are more likely to do business with you in the future. Before the internet this was known as “word of mouth” and it is also known as referrals. The internet has spawned a whole industry around reputation management which, itself, has become an integral part of many new businesses such as eBay. It is now commonplace for people to read online reviews when making a purchasing decision. A business without online reviews can be viewed as suspicious.
To my mind, if you are concerned about reviews then there is something else wrong with your business that needs to be fixed first. Reviews are simply a reflection of your business and every effort should be made to ensure that your customers do not have reasons to leave poor feedback.
Verifiable reviews are much more credible than statements that could have been made up. Having text on your website appearing to quote a customer is not as powerful as having that customer review on a reputable review site such as Google or Yelp. Having recent reviews is more credible and useful to prospective customers than old reviews. Having reviews that you have responded to is a signal to prospective customers that you care. Having reviews on multiple review sites is much more valuable than having reviews on only one review site such as Facebook.
Reviews also help with your online visibility as it is another advertisement. A recent example of this was a client in the hospitality business who did not wish to be listed on TripAdvisor because they had seen so many negative reviews from people who appeared to have a grudge (or maybe wanted a refund?). Using our monitoring services we noticed that they had 6 reviews on TripAdvisor, and luckily they were all 5-star reviews. So here was a Citation for their business which had appeared without their knowledge and a great contributor to their online reputation.
Managing and marketing reviews is a time-consuming job but luckily there are tools available to help. These range from simple monitoring tools to sophisticated systems that will ask your clients for reviews via email or text message and then display them on your website. You can steer your clients to particular review sites thereby generating the variety that is desirable, and often you can prevent negative reviews from becoming public by dealing with any feedback in a professional manner.
In addition, these tools provide ways in which you can share your best reviews on Social Media, i.e. market them.
If you would be interested in talking to us about your online reputation and how to improve it and use it in marketing, please get in touch.