This might sound strange coming from a digital agency that provides SEO services for businesses, however the truth of the matter is that all the search engine optimisation tactics in the book and the flashiest website possible will not win new clients for you if your business can not deliver on the promises it makes.
By that I mean when somebody searches using keywords or phrases related to your business and finds comments such as:
- Never use Again
- Would Not recommend this to anyone
- Worst experience of my life
- Left me in tears
These are real reviews, I am not going to share with you who they are about, that have been posted online. Would you visit or start business with a company whose last review said that?
A negative listing on Google, Yahoo, Bing Yelp, Citisearch, Yell, Thomson Local or any of the hundreds of other review sites could severely damage your capacity to win new business, maintain current business and hamper opportunities to up or cross sell.
If other people talk about your business in a negative manner and that is what people see when they search for your business or services on line, then quite frankly potential clients will not convert. Yes, search engine optimisation will bring more and more targeted people to your site but if they are presented with a horror show the results for you will be simply frightening.
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To highlight how important online reputation management is I want to share with you some of the results from the Local Consumer Review Survey Part 2,
The importance of Online Reputation Management
Q. 1 – From the following list: select the Business Types you have searched for via the Internet in the last 12 months? (select as many as you like)
From the 19 possible choices the most searched for business was
- Restaurants / Cafes – 57% (vs. 37% in 2010)
3 other categories also saw significant gains since 2010:
- Hotels/B&B/Guest house – 35% (vs. 29%)
- General Shops – 35% (vs. 30%)
- Clothes Shops – 34% (vs. 31%)
- Dentists/Doctors – 27% (vs. 21%)
The results were compared to the last time the survey was conducted in 2010.
The obvious conclusion from this set of results are that more and more people are searching for local businesses online and that means what they find when searching for you is becoming more and more important.
When presented with the same set of businesses and asked the question
Q. 3 – For which of these local business types does ‘Reputation’ matter the most when choosing a business? (select maximum 3)
Over 35% of people searching for a restaurant/cafe online believe that reputation is the most important factor for choosing somewhere to visit while over 1 in 3 people searching for a Doctor/Dentist online are looking for reputation first. Based on those results what are you doing to enhance your online reputation management and make it so those people become patrons of your business?
Q4. – Which of the following ‘Reputation-traits’ is MOST important to you when selecting a local business to use?
64% of consumers stated that reliability was the most important reputation trait when choosing a new business.
Is your business reliable? More importantly if someone is searching for your services is what they find a testament to how reliable your experience is? If it is not, that means there is a chance that well over half of potential clients who are actively searching for your business will turn away and move on to the next business.
The final question in the survey asked How many reviews and ratings do you need to read before you trust that business?
The result showed that on average 65% of people need to read between 2 and 10 reviews about your business. How many reviews are there online about your business!? 2, 10, 0.
Your olnine reputation management is important and it is not just about protecting what you have already it is using your online reputation as part of your marketing campaign to drive new business and customer sales.
If 10 people say that you are great, you are reliable and they would recommend you to anyone, then that is something that you want to shout from the roof tops. Think about it!