It’s no secret that the Internet has opened a world of new opportunities for small businesses all over the world. “Those new opportunities give the entrepreneur a platform to be recognized in both a very positive as well as in a very negative light,” Jeansonne cautions. As business owners we depend on our customers/clients for our livelihood. Our goal should be to give the best value for the money that our clients pay us.
“Unfortunately, no matter how well we feel that we have performed, we can’t please everyone,” she warns. Ask yourself this question. You are looking for a local business in your area and you do a search and find 3 identical businesses for the service that you are looking for. Which one of the businesses would you buy from?
She believes, “There have been at least 3 game changers in the last few years that can affect your online presence.”
Game Changer #1
80 million Google+ pages merged with company websites and revealed your company’s reputation to your customers. Grouped into 1 result are your company’s reviews front and center. She challenges, “Google your company and location. Everything that has happened online about your company is available for everyone to see.”
Game Changer #2
Businesses have reviews to compete online. Reviews are a major part of the search market. They appear on Google maps, social media, local directories, SEO links, and they are factored in SEO rankings. Your reviews are front and center in every corner of the web when it comes to searching for businesses or searching for your company name directly.
Game Changer #3
How many businesses get calls from SEO and web design companies? We are all bombarded with them. Everyone is selling SEO, web design, mobile design. They are pushing all of this stuff on businesses. The fact is: that is the old way of doing things. Monitoring your reputation is essential to your online presence. If you are not monitoring your reputation you may be not be aware of a bad review. Having no reviews doesn’t mean that you have a bad reputation, it just means that you have no reviews.
Your business will fall into one of these categories. Which one do you think your customer will choose to do business with? The business who has only one bad review, the business who has no reviews, or the business with a 5 star review?
Today, online marketing has taken on a whole new strategy. We used to do all of the SEO marketing and social media first. Jeansonne recommends, “Lead with your reputation first, because if we optimize your site and you don’t have any reviews, or worse yet, you have bad reviews, we have just made your situation worse. Now more people are going to see your lack of reputation or a bad reputation.” Most SEO specialists are ignoring the 300-lb. gorilla in the room, now your reputation appears everywhere online.
“Did you know that 70% of buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?,” she asks. “There has been a huge shift in marketing. People go online to find reviews before going to your branded website and 52% of people look for online reviews and ratings after being referred to a business.” The next thing that people do is type in the name of the business and look for anything that is published about this business. They check out the website, check the reviews, look for conversations about the company they are researching and then move on to make a buying decision.
“Bottom line,” says Jeansonne, “it’s crucial to monitor your online reputation diligently and use your good reputation to get customers who are ready to do business with you.” Leslie Jeansonne is the Senior Success Partner with Local Web Traffic solutions. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (225) 806-2422.