Online Reputation Management
A strong online reputation management strategy helps in attracting customers, and improves your search rankings on Google. In this guide you’ll learn how you can optimize your online reputation and drive business growth.
Table of Contents
Your online reputation is a reflection of how others perceive your business, while managing your reputation is the ability to proactively influence the information that they will find.
Online reputation management (ORM) includes techniques and strategies that drive a positive perception of your business.
Thirty years ago, 80% of a brand’s value came from tangible assets like real estate, manufacturing plants and machinery, and inventories. According to a Harvard Business Review study, today 70% of a brand’s value comes from intangibles like brand equity, reputation, and intellectual capital.
Think about a brand like Nike. Customers associate the iconic swoosh, with quality athletic footwear. Nike has carefully built this reputation through decades of advertising, sponsorships, and above all with customer satisfaction.
This goodwill of Nike is driven not just by its profits, but also by its reputation. The brand perception of Nike customers is what drives the profits. Therefore in today’s business environment, a brand’s reputation is critical to its success.
You don’t need flashy celebrity sponsorships or Superbowl commercials in order to build a strong reputation. What you do need is the authentic voice of your current customers.
Right now, there is a space where customers are checking to determine your business’s reputation: review sites. There are hundreds of review sites on the Internet, from review giants like Google and Facebook to smaller, industry-focused sites like Healthgrades and Avvo. Here, local businesses are rated and reviewed by real customers. This is where your online reputation is created.
Research shows that 92% of customers refer to reviews before making a purchase decision. A positive online reputation drives customers to your company.
There’s a simple reason why online reviews can make a big impact on your business: customers trust them.
Reviews represent the opinions of real customers, while any business can claim to be the best business, the ability to back that claim with lots of positive reviews, makes customers trust your business.
A study by the Harvard Business Review shows that a 1-star increase in reviews results in a 5-9% increase in revenue. Here are some factors that can help your business’s online reputation:
- Positive reviews.
- Current and “fresh” reviews
- A high volume of reviews
- Authentic Reviews
- A high response rate to reviews. Do you respond to all reviews positive, neutral, and negative?
The quantity of quality reviews is the first step in generating footfalls in the brick and mortar space, and clicks and eyeballs in the digital space. Since customers use reviews for decision making, search engines are programmed to give higher visibility to businesses that have a high quantity of quality reviews.
From here it becomes a virtuous cycle, more positive reviews–>more traffic–>higher sales–>more positive reviews. The key is to get the cycle started.
How Strong is Your Online Reputation?
Developing a strong online reputation isn’t always as simple as it seems. When asked, most businesses will say that a high star rating makes their business looks great to customers. While this is partially true, it’s definitely not the entire story. A business with and average rating of 4.5 stars based on 5 online reviews does not have the same reputation as a company with 4.5 stars based on 500 reviews. Both companies have a positive online reputation, but the competitor has a much stronger online reputation because of how many reviews they have.