Online Reputation Management; Are you doing this?

In an era where almost everything is found online, it should not come as a surprise that potential customers would want to check reviews of your business online before making a buying decision.

So what do you do to make sure that you customer gets to read favourable reviews about your business?

Managing online reputation is one of the critical aspects of marketing your products/Services, and essentially your brand online. In the early days of internet marketing, your website would perhaps be the only source for potential customers if they wished to see what your existing customers had to say about your products/Service. This is still one of the best ways of ensuring that a visitor gets to read testimonials and reviews provided by your existing customers.

However, today most potential customers will likely visit sites such as Yelp, Amazon, and social networking sites, such as. Facebook or Google+ where they can get feedback from the network of people they trust. And these feedback/reviews by far will have much more impact than the ones on your site because these are reviews from people that potential customers trust.

While it is not possible to control what is written about you, what is possible is to respond to the reviews quickly with the objective of understanding the issue and resolving it.You may want to read one of my articles on reviews and their impact on SEO which is essentially about how user reviews impact your search engine visibility.

Customers who did not receive the service that they were expecting from you or were disappointed with your product may write something negative about you. A lot can be mitigated if you respond to a feedback quickly, and if there were genuine issues, accepting that the fault was on your part may actually help you in addressing the concerns of an aggrieved customer faster, and who knows you may end up leaving the customer with a much better impression about you. Not only does this give you an opportunity to correct something, it tells your existing and your potential customers that you care. An attitude of
trying to solve issues, of reaching out, and being courageous to admit to mistakes may help you in creating a more positive image of your brand, of a brand that genuinely cares for its customers. At least there should be an effort in place to do as much damage control as possible so that you do not lose out on potential customers.

Customer feedback must be given priority because not only will it help your image if you are found to be addressing and mitigating issues and concerns, you can also use the feedback to improve your existing services. This will go a long way in building loyal customers. Selling a product is just the beginning of starting a relationship; it needs to be nurtured into a mature and trusting relationship.

An instance of how you can use reviews to your advantage is to publish content that answers those concerns. Using SEO best practices to optimize the content will ensure that the content gets visibility across all channels. This way potential customers will
also get to read the solutions or possible reasons behind those negative comments.

If you are not doing it already, you may consider including reputation management to be a part of your Internet marketing strategy. Almost every buying decision today involves research, followed by zeroing in on the product, and going through customer reviews for that product. A negative feedback may not leave as much of a negative impact if potential customers see that it has been attended to, and substantial effort has been made to mitigate it, instead of the damaging impact of a negative feedback lying unattended.

With competition on the rise, can you ignore your existing customers and push away the potential ones just because online reputation management is not a part of your Internet marketing strategy?

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