Angela Wright MBE, Founder of Optimising Business, has been successfully building profitable companies across the world for many years. She works with businesses that want to grow fast and sustainably and knows the easiest way to grow sales is through repeat and referral business. However there are new challenges many business owners are not aware of that can negatively impact their success.
Angela Wright says: “Your online reputation can be like referrals on steroids. However most businesses are naked online and their reputation is out of control unless they take charge of it. People can say anything they like about you, anytime, anywhere, anyhow and unless you have a good reputation process in place, you won’t even know these things are being said and your business will suffer. The way you treat someone today and the reviews they give you determines whether you will have customers tomorrow.”
Most of us will know the growing importance of online reviews. When thinking of taking a holiday you likely search TripAdvisor to see what other customers have experienced and say about the destination and accommodation you are considering. Or when looking for a restaurant for a special event, online reviews will influence your decision to book a table or not. It goes without saying any business that has a stream of negative or bad reviews is unlikely to get your money. Online reviews are the new currency of customers. It gives them power to choose, or not to choose in advance without actually having to expose them to your business.
Ms Wright says,“If you don’t have a good reputation online, it doesn’t matter what marketing you do. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you get or how many enquiries are made. If people are not convinced about what they see being said about you online, they won’t trust you and they most likely won’t buy from you. Your reputation online is now the number one priority for every business.”
Time Magazine agrees. In a recent article they stated: “Your reputation’s online, even if your business isn’t. Take control of how the online world views your business, and protect your bottom line. Before the Internet connected the entire world, your business reputation was something that you built, not managed. Fallout from the customer complaints you couldn’t fix was of limited scope. Today, the Internet acts like a lens that magnifies every blemish, perceived insult and mistake—and then broadcasts it with a bullhorn.”
Reputation management is already old school. It’s now all about Reputation Marketing. You need to proactively manage your reputation to ensure you get love from Google as well as current and past customers. It’s important to have accurate and consistent contact information about your business across all the relevant online directories in your area and make it easy for genuine customers to leave genuine reviews. Not only will you get valuable feedback from customers which will help you improve your business, but prospects can see the shared experiences which they will trust more than anything you could ever say to them.
Most business owners are busy. Managing and marketing your reputation online requires commitment and dedication so it’s one of those areas that is probably best left to professionals. You don’t want to take your eye off the ball for a few weeks because you’re busy, only to find a string of less than complementary reviews waiting for the whole world to see. The effects of negative reviews can be devastating, so invest in a service that will provide regular reputation maintenance, monitoring and most importantly of all, marketing. It could be one of the best business decisions you’ll ever make.
To learn more about Optimising Business, visit www.reputation-online.net