The days of looking up a business address or telephone number in phone books are over. A testament to that fact is the number of phone books left in piles on doorsteps, racks in the free publication section of convenience stores, and the fact that you yourself probably haven’t opened one in ages – unless its to check the advertisement for your own business.
The availability of up to date information online has been a valuable resource for consumers, but for many businesses, it can be a killer. Why? because along with the business listing, name, address, telephone number comes a new friend or foe – reviews.
Reviews are extremely important to business owners because they communicate to the prospective customer how well he does in the consumer’s eyes compared to his competitors. If your reviews are positive, then great! You’ll want more of them than your competitors. But, if you have poor reviews or even harsh negative reviews it becomes even more important that your satisfied customers or clients review their experiences online.
Unfortunately, it is human nature to take action only when we’re dissatisfied rather than when we’re pleased, thus the bulk of reviews for any given business tend to be of the negative kind – not to mention negative reviews fabricated by your competitors, activists, or disgruntled employees.
This is where reputation marketing comes in.
Reputation marketing is simply a defined plan and system to market your true reputation online.
The key distinction between reputation marketing and reputation management is that reputation marketing is primarily a plan and system to promote the positive views and reviews of your satisfied customers or clients, whereas reputation management is historically aimed at flooding the internet with your marketing messages and assets to combat the negative results that appear in the search engine results for your name, your company name, or brand.
See the difference? One is promoting your customer’s views and reviews, while the other is promoting your own marketing messages.
72% of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
Since most people who leave reviews will always be the unhappy kind, it’s extremely important to have a system in place to ethically encourage and assist happy customers and clients to share their positive experiences with prospective customers on the internet.
Left to chance, you’ll see a negative to positive ratio of reviews for your company at about 9 to 1 – and that’s just based on those from real customers, not competitors, disgruntled employees or activists who wish to harm your business and reputation.