Online Reputation Management
Are negative online reviews killing your business and driving potential customers to your competition?
Have you been scratching your head wondering why sales have slowed down, leads have dried up and your business is losing traction?
Not knowing what’s throttling sales can be frustrating enough. Discovering it’s because of third party reviews that you have no control over can make anyone’s blood boil.
Read on to learn how to get back in the driver’s seat.
(5 minutes to excellence)
Executive briefing: Online Reputation Management strategy
Read this page carefully to get in control of your online reputation:
We live in a time when negative social media and online reviews have literally destroyed companies.
Let’s face facts: today’s consumers are in control.
With a wealth of information at their fingertips, often armed with more product knowledge than your finest salesman, shoppers use social networks and review platforms to learn about businesses and avoid being burnt.
When one bad customer experience can be broadcast to thousands of prospects at the click of a button, you can’t afford to give less than stellar service and value.
Consider the finding of a range of studies:
Almost everyone reads reviews
Reviews are trusted
Reviews are influential
Negative reviews have more weight
If you’re selling a product or service that requires a sizeable investment, you can bet that your prospects will be doing their research.
Poor reviews and negative social commentary can stop prospects from even considering your business.
To optimise your online presence and reputation you first need to know how shoppers learn about your business online.
You’ve seen the patterns emerging…
- You’re getting more calls or visits by prospects price checking or evaluating you (more well educated shoppers who have done their research and are ready to pull the trigger – with right business)
- Prospects using their phone in retail spaces looking for last minute reviews or price checking competitors
- Prospects who have been put off by how other customers have talked about your business online
It’s clear that shopping behaviour has changed radically.
Here’s the extent of it according to the research:
- 97% of consumers go online to research products, services and businesses locally (a study from BIA/Kelsey found)
- 77% of smart phone users contact a business after looking for local information and 59% visit the business on the same day (findings from a Google & Ipsos study)
- 92% of searchers choose a business that is on page one of search results (according to a study by Chitika).
- Google Maps is one of the most used apps, with 54% of all smartphone owners using it regularly (data from Commscore)
So instead of turning to the Yellow Pages, consumers are thumbing their digital devices to find and evaluate you.
Their first stop? Google:
When users search for information locally (which according to Google is 20% of the time, or 600 million searches every day), Google presents users with local listings on their Map View:
** Above is an outdated view from Google. On February 22nd 2016 Google announced a major change to their Search Results pages, which is the removal of the Ads on the right hand side. See the below image for the new page structure:
As you can see above, this dramatic change to Google’s Search Results pages places heavy emphasis on their Map functionality (which is triggered anytime someone’s search query contains a location, for example ‘parramatta‘).
From here on out only two Ads feature above the Map, which means that the majority of searchers will engage with the Map feature.
(Remember, during consumers’ research phase when they are evaluating local businesses, users tend to skip over Ads and go straight to the map to learn more information about businesses).
Within a click on the map, searchers are presented with details of local businesses (address, opening hours, contact details) and of course, independent peer-based reviews:
* Stars are given to businesses with more than 5 reviews. The number of reviews a business has are found in brackets (). In the above screenshot RA Motors has (7) reviews.
So the question is this:
If you were looking to buy a used car, which businesses above are most likely to get your call?
Now let’s play devil’s advocate:
What if you found a car on CarSales.com.au that was on sale by Wholesale Used Cars Pty Ltd?
Doing your due diligence, you’d want to know more about the dealership:
What would this review summary do for your confidence and trust in this dealership?
I’m betting one look at these reviews and they wouldn’t be getting your call!
As you can see, Google, Facebook, Yelp and other social platforms have made it incredibly easy for consumers to share their experiences online.
Reviews are powerful.
Recent studies of Millennials (Future Foundation Millennials Study, SDL Millennials Study) showed that 93% of Millennials usually read reviews prior to making a purchase and 97% of them trust anonymous reviews.
You just have to ask yourself:
As a prospective buyer, who are you more likely to believe: the salesman in the car yard, or an anonymous review with no vested interest in selling to you?
Some of our clients have even reported receiving phone calls from prospects letting them know that the reason they are not buying from them is because of bad reviews they read online!
What’s more, factors such as review ratings, the number of reviews a business has got and the regularity of reviews are all key signals that Google uses to rank competing local businesses in Maps.
In mature markets you can already see the importance of reviews:
What you’re looking at above is a glimpse into the future of your local market.
The number of reviews a business has in Google are found in brackets to the right of their star rating. For example, Freeman Motor Company (93), has 93 reviews.
The US market, which is typically 12-18 months ahead of Australia, is a useful barometer for predicting what’s next in our digital market.
And as you can see, businesses in the US with no reviews or poor reviews don’t even exist on Google Maps!
(If you find that hard to believe, just type ‘used cars portland’, or any other US location into Google Maps)
Turn this insight into your advantage:
The fact that you are reading this offers you a unique competitive advantage.
You’ve already seen how the recent changes in Google’s Search Results page structure places heavy influence on their Map feature.
Now the most important digital marketing activity a local business can perform is to rank high in Google Maps and optimise their reputation.
If you are in a market where your competitors have few or poor reviews, you have an opportunity to take measures now to out-rank them and position your business as the market leader.
To help you can take action immediately, let’s look at what exceptional online reputation is really all about.
Before we introduce Content First’s solution for managing your online reputation, it’s important that we cover the basics.
The foundation for an exceptional reputation comes down to this:
Delivering exceptional value and customer service.
If you don’t delight customers and deliver on your promises, there’s nothing we can do for your business.
Therefore before you consider investing in a reputation management service, you have to get the fundamentals right first:
- Commit to delivering exceptional customer service and value
- Aim to exceed your customers’ expectations
- Always work in the best interests of your customers
- Seek to delight your customers with each interaction
If you start with these fundamentals in place, you’ll naturally start seeing customers giving you positive reviews and referring others.
Our policy: we reserve the right to refuse to work with any business who consistently fails to meet their customers’ expectations.
If you can commit to the foundations above, and believe in doing everything in the best interests of your customers, please continue reading to learn how to supercharge your online reputation…
So you have a negative review or two, but your business is committed to providing fantastic service…
And you know it’s not fair that the negative experiences of one or two people should cripple your lead flow…
What if there was a way to bury negative reviews with regular positive public praise?
Introducing Content First’s Reputation Management Solution
Track and manage your online reputation, automate customer feedback, filter out negative respondents and ask positive respondents to leave you a public review!