Managing Your Reputation
If you were born during the 80’s or 90’s, you would remember that buying (and in turn, selling) was much easier back then. It only comprised of 3 very easy steps:
- You realize you need something.
- You go to the store that sells that “something”.
- You buy that “something” and go home.
For business owners, it was just about making sure you have what people needed and things will work itself out.
Nowadays, people don’t just go on a 3-step process when buying stuff. This is all thanks to competition, the Internet and your online reputation.
Now, we know how competition works. Two stores sell the same item so they compete for customers. The Internet (and online reputation), however is not that easy to understand.
How The Internet Affected Consumer Behavior
Remember how we usually ask people where to buy something? Something along the lines of “Hey, I like that stepladder you have because it looks really well-made. Where did you buy that?”
Imagine that that kind of exchange happening at hundreds of thousands of times a minute.
Yep, that’s the Internet.
But where does your online reputation come in?
See, people today follow a new set of steps in purchasing items and it goes something like this:
- People realize they need item A.
- They go online to find out more information about item A.
- They search for businesses that sell item A.
- They check the reviews and overall sentiment of the online crowd to the businesses.
- They then select a business that they feel will give them a better overall experience.
- They buy item A from said business.
A bit more complicated, right? What does this have to do about online reputation?
Consumer Decision Making and Online Reputation
A study from 2016 by Brightlocal shows that around 90% of the people who shop online check out online reviews before making a purchase. This means that if you have a negative online reputation, 9 out of 10 people shopping online will see it. We all know how most consumers react to negative reviews, right? In a 2015 study conducted by Moz, businesses that have one negative review on the first page of Google can potentially lose up to 22% of their customers. This increases up to 44% when you have two negative reviews. Have four or more negative reviews? Say goodbye to 70% of your potential customers.
While it is debatable if reviews in general are beneficial or detrimental to business owners, it doesn’t hurt to actually take care of your online reputation even for smaller businesses. In fact, the same study from Brightlocal tells us that around 3 out of 4 of the people they asked said that they trust a local business more if it had positive reviews online.
In the case of Yelp!, a well-known business review platform, 82% of the people who visit their site have the intention of buying a product or service. You can also experience up to 9% increase in revenue just from an increase of one star in Yelp! while you lose 10-12% of your customers from a decrease of one star.
We user Review Fire to power online reputation.
The Power of Online Reputation
In the past, it was all about making sure you make a good impression. So that when a customer walks in, they instantly see how “good” your business is. In modern times, you have to make an impression even before a customer steps inside your front door. Although you can do this through promotions or advertisements. Nothing beats your online reputation.
The same study from 2016 shows that 84% of people who buy online trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. While your online reviews impact as much as 68% of the purchasing decisions of everyday folk.
But what can you do? Here are some things you can do in order to strengthen your online reputation.
- Make sure all your customers leave with a smile from your establishment. Contact with customers (both current and prospective) should be done with a positive overall experience in mind.
- Google yourself. Find out what people are saying about you. If you see any negative reviews, don’t fight it. Instead, identify the source of the problem (like poor service, bad marketing, or pricing concerns) and act on it.
- Find a way to entice your customers to leave a review online. Note that customers are more likely to leave a review when they are angry. Remember that all types of review, good and bad, are important depending on how you act on it.
- Don’t leave “fake reviews” of your business online. Not only is this a tacky move but most people can spot a fake review from a mile away.
- Hire an online marketing agency that can help you with your online reputation. These people can help you create strategies on how to get more positive reviews and help you address negative ones.
While it is true that times have changed a lot, one thing remains the same. A good business will always have a steady stream of customers. So if you are doing everything right and you treat your customers like family, you are more likely to get a positive online reputation.