Online Reputation – The Most Important Online Asset for a Local Business
How are you currently marketing your business online?
– Pay Per Click (PPC)?
– Social Media Marketing and Advertising?
– Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
If you’re currently investing money in any of these online marketing strategies, or even any offline marketing strategies like Direct Mail, then you’re probably wasting a lot of money.
Why? Because you’ve skipped the most important element of online marketing – having a 5 star reputation. A 5 star reputation is the foundation that all other marketing strategies and channels should be built around.
Think about it this way. When you
In 2013, a local restaurant in my hometown was investigated for an E. Coli outbreak. The restaurant re-opened a short time later and they appear to continue doing business as usual despite a noticeable difference in their steak tacos, according to more than one Yelp review.
Even if there were some changes made I’m not planning to take my family there any time soon, and it sounds like my neighbors are in agreement.
Their reputation has been tainted but… would you still give their food a shot? You might be more open minded than me and my neighbors but chances are you’re in the same boat as us and won’t take your chances.
Reputation Matters in Google Local Search
Moving on to another example, which of these three businesses would you choose if they had virtually identical services?
Business 1: No reviews
Business 2: 5 good reviews and 3 bad reviews
Business 3: 8 good reviews
These are the questions your customers are faced with everyday as they search for your services in Google and see you in the local search rankings alongside your competitors. Most businesses struggle to get and maintain a 5 star reputation while others are in neck and neck competitions for local dominance.
Reviews don’t just show up in local results, they’re also shown in organic results for local directories, review websites like Yelp, social media sites, private review sites, and many more.
This is why your business’s reputation is the foundation of everything that your business has the potential to do online. Recent studies have shown that XX% of customers trust online reviews as much as they would trust a personal referral from a friend or family member.
Referrals are about as personal as you can get. No one will willing recommend a friend to a business that they didn’t like and trust. Once you gain someone’s trust, you’ve gained their business.
Trust is the biggest step to get over.
Reputation is the foundation. Without a good reputation and a lot of trust, all other marketing efforts won’t matter. Social media won’t convert to customers, your online ad costs will increase per client acquisition, and the list goes on.
“If you’re going to tell people you’re great – make sure you’re great.” It starts inside the business. Spending money on ads isn’t going to help your business if the business sucks.
Business hasn’t changed. Local customers are looking for businesses that will make them feel good (quote about people remember how you make them feel).
Can your customers find you? If yes then go to the next question:
Can they trust you?