Having a strong, positive reputation is an advantage for your business. An article in Forbes, a business journal, states “a business’s most valuable asset is its good name, its brand, and reputation.” Having a good reputation helps to bring in new customers, and to hold onto valuable repeat customers. This is true for both your brick and mortar business and your online presence.
A business website is a must in today’s modern technology. With the far reach of the internet, your business’s website can help you to reach customers all over the world.
Your website is the online face of your business. You want your site to show the same positive reputation you’ve worked hard to build offline. There are several ways you can build your business website’s online reputation to match your offline business model.
Customer Feedback as a Way to Build Your Online Reputation
Word-of-mouth reviews from your customers have always been a great way to share your business, and to bring in new customers. This is also a useful tool to bring traffic through your online business formats. Positive comments left by customers on your website and social media formats can help attract new customers and help build your reputation.
You should encourage your online customers to leave reviews about their experiences with your business, both online and in person. This feedback can be about products, services, interactions with employees, or even how a customer’s complaint was resolved. Anything a customer feels they want to share. Giving feedback helps your customers to feel they are a part of your business.
On some websites, it’s difficult to find where to leave feedback. Make sure your business’s website clearly shows where to leave messages or comments. This can be a Contact Us section or page, or a customer feedback portal.
When a customer leaves feedback always respond, even if the comment is negative. Respond to negative comments in a proactive manner. This will not only help to diffuse the situation but show your business has integrity. Generally, your customer is just voicing his opinion and wants to be acknowledged. Try to understand why they are having an issue with your product or service. Then find a solution that works for both your customer and your business. Contacting the customer offline or in a private chat can help to diffuse a situation that could encourage more negative feedback.
Social Media, an Easy Way to Build Online Rapport with Customers
As of March 2018 according to Statista, approximately 2.34 billion people worldwide use some form of social media. That number is expected to reach over 2.95 billion by 2020. Facebook continues to be the overall leader for users on social media sites. The number of users on YouTube follows closely behind. Other sites are also being widely utilized including Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler, LinkedIn, Yahoo answers, and Yelp.
Using social media for your business isn’t all about posting sales advertisements. To build your online reputation, you want to create a persona, not just a company. There are many different ways to achieve this.
A fun way to add a positive note to your online reputation is posting pictures, and videos that your customers have sent you of them happily using or commenting about your products or services. It’s always a good practice to get your customer’s permission before posting anything online.
Posting links to articles about your business, products or services from other websites, with their permission, of course, shows that your company has a reputation throughout the industry.
Have some fun with your customers on your social media sites. Engage your customers with contests, giveaways, and freebies. These can include winning products, services, downloadable e-books, information packages, or coupons just for social media users. Also, include opt-in links to your newsletters and other email tools.
Encourage users to comment on your social media posts. As with the feedback on your website, always comment back in a confident, proactive voice. If a customer leaves feedback that requires more information or a private discussion is necessary, ask them to connect with you on a private chat platform, or by phone.
Make sure your social media accounts have opt-in options for your customers to be able to follow you, and always include a link back to your website.
Adding Content to Your Website to Build Your Reputation as an Expert
Having a blog on your website creates value for both you and your customers. Great content offers your customers valuable information and establishes that you and your business have expertise in your field.
Great content engages your audience through articles, images, and videos. Copywriting master and coach from AWAI, Michael Masterson, created the simple guide to writing great copy using the 4 U’s. His formula for helping you to make your content stand out states your material should be useful, unique, urgent, and ultra-specific.
Add content that is specific to the market, niche, and industry your business is in. For example, if you are in the real estate market you generally wouldn’t add content to your website about vacationing in the Bahamas.
Find ways to make your content different than the other companies in your market. One way you can achieve this is by including personal articles about how your business got its start. Was it a family venture, a life goal, or did it grow from a need you had that no other company could fulfill? Do you have a product or service that is unique in your industry? This would also make distinctive content for an article.
Make sure your blog posts offer information that will be useful to your customers. For example, if you are a flooring provider include articles about how your product is made, or what room your flooring would work best in.
Include the most available up-to-date information in your articles. Evergreen content, information that is always relevant, holds your blog posts steady. Including material that has information that is new and fresh grabs the reader’s attention.
Within your blog post content, add links back to your website in relevant places. These hyperlinks can be to another blog post or a service page on your site that ties in with the information in your article. To push traffic to your website, add links of any new content from your website on your social media accounts.
As another place for customer feedback, make sure you have a place for readers to comment on your content at the end of blog posts and underneath videos.
Press Releases to Build Your Online Reputation
A press release is a formal announcement sent to media outlets to announce a major event associated with your business. This could be a grand opening of a new location, welcoming a new employee to a management position, a vital business anniversary, or other any newsworthy event. A well-placed press release can help to establish your business in your industry.
Send your press releases to media outlets that will reach readers that have an interest in the type of business you have in your industry, market or niche. Only sending press releases to relevant outlets will help you to reach more potential customers, with less work involved.
To increase the coverage of your press release, you can post the link on your social media sites, include it on your website, and in any of your newsletter or email marketing programs.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Once you have your online business tools in place, monitoring the results is the next step. You want to know what your customers’ overall opinion is of your business. Is your reputation one of integrity, compassion, and a well-liked company? Have there been negative comments about an area you need to work on? Comments and feedback left by your customers is a great way to get a quick pulse reading of your online reputation.
There are many apps that can help you to monitor your online reputation. Online reputation management companies and digital marketing agencies are great resources to help you build and maintain your online business reputation. These programs, apps, and companies can also help you clean up any issues with your status before they become serious problems.
The best defense against problems affecting your business’s reputation is a strong, positive online presence. Respond to feedback on your website and social media accounts in a timely manner with respect and compassion. Resolve negative comments quickly and with integrity. Keep your social media posts relevant to your business. At the same time include uplifting, fun, and light posts that your customers would appreciate.
Having a website for your business is a must in today’s world. Your website is the online face of your company, and a place your customers can interact with you and your business. Building your business website’s online reputation is an integral part of your marketing program. A good online reputation can increase your sales and bottom line by bringing in new customers and making sure your repeat customers keep loving all the product and services you have to offer.