The reputation that your brand has online, matters. The time, effort and funds you put into online marketing and advertising should not only be aimed at making sales or getting subscribers but building and protecting your brand's reputation.
Consider this; you carry out an online campaign and it is successful in terms of sales, users signing up for a webcast, bookings to visit your facilities, newsletter subscriptions or other actions you were targeting. However, one user takes to social media to register a complaint or leaves a scathing review and perhaps shares this on the different social media platforms. If you do not respond immediately, the negative impact can be critical.
Orders, bookings and subscriptions can be canceled based on just one complaint or bad review, thus undoing all the success of your online marketing or advertising campaign. Consider travel websites where people leave reviews about a hotel they stayed at, a restaurant they ate at, or leisure facility they visited while they were on vacation. One negative comment from a traveler to those who have never been there before can cause a lot of damage in terms of canceled reservations or looking for alternatives.
Understanding reputation management
Online marketers have for a long time referred to the term 'reputation management' when they are talking about strategies to employ in shaping how brands are perceived by consumers. Some of the usual strategies applied, are mostly looking for a way to get more good reviews to help tone down the negative ones, getting to the first pages of search engine results page (SERPs) and responding to reviews on as many websites as possible for damage control.
Aim to develop, not just manage, your brand's online reputation
In today's highly competitive cyberspace, new strategies are almost always needed. The approach should be less about the appropriate reaction to negative reviews/comments and trying to tone them down but more about reputation development and here's how to do it:
- Get everyone involved
Get everyone involved in obtaining feedback from customers. The main touch points would include your receptionists, sales staff, marketers, customer-care staff and everyone else who is a part of your organization. Customers will usually feel valued and more than happy to give their honest opinion. If there is any negative feedback, you can do what needs to be done before customers take them onto the internet.
- Allow customers to leave feedback on your website
Despite your best efforts, you may sometimes come across an unsatisfied client and it may not always be about your brand but you could become a scapegoat. Therefore, it would be a good idea to have a feedback page on your website, which you can closely monitor and keep away from the public eye. Use the page to learn what your customers like and expect from your brand and always strive to deliver.
- Deal with issues as soon as they arise
Do your best to always deal with customer complaints and negative reviews as soon as they arise. If you have brick and mortar premises, deal with customers before they walk out of the door. If this happens, you will possibly have caught a potentially bad comment out of the net and saved your reputation.
- Say thank you
Enhance the experience customers have with your brand by taking the time to thank them soon after they interact with you. Emails are usually sufficient. Include an invitation for them to leave comments and suggestions, even those who had a good experience with your brand could have some good ideas for improvement. If customers do respond with ideas and suggestions, take the time to thank them again.
- Ask for permission to spread the word
When you receive a positive review, politely ask your customers for permission to use their comments as testimonials on your website. If you have links to some popular review sites, include them on your website as well, so that customers can easily leave reviews in them.
As the internet has become the go-to for searching everything from products, services, directions, reviews, how-to's and all the things in between, the online reputation of a brand in either of these industries have become greatly important.
If you need help in developing and improving your online reputation management, you can request for a consultation here at Pronto. A customized marketing plan focused on your business goals can be developed through a service like a Marketing Blueprint.
The right tactics can push out bad reviews and populate SERP's with positive content about your brand. Regardless of the size and nature of your business, your online reputation is priceless. Build it, develop it, and guard it and you will be building, developing and guarding your sales, subscriptions, or other result you are after.
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