Reputation Marketing is about getting your satisfied customers to sell for you
- Get your employees on the same page about the importance of reviews and asking for them at every opportunity.
- Request five-star reviews from your most satisfied customers.
- Get those reviews published online in places like Google + pages, Facebook pages, Yelp, Yahoo and more.
- Consistently publish the best of your five Star reviews on your website and Facebook page where they can be seen by potential customers.
- Include the social proof of your five-star reputation in all of your online and off-line marketing campaigns.
5 Step Reputation Marketing Plan
1. Create a System for Gathering Feedback
Continuous positive online reviews posted online where customers and prospects will see them is the objective of your reputation marketing plan. While this can slowly happen organically what you really want to do is motivate your customers to give you feedback and get those glowing reviews posted online. You need to have a system that monitors your customers’ feedback so positive reviews are routed to the review sites and online networks that matter most in your line of business.
2. Build a Five-Star Reputation
There are a lot of factors that shape your customers’ experience and build your online reputation: customer service, product pricing, service performance and more. All of those things are put together and distilled into the form of online customer reviews. Each consumer has their list of must-haves and dream factors for their purchases and experiences, and they are combing customer reviews to find the business that can come the closest to giving them what they want. Studies have shown that most consumers like to see at least 10 five-star reviews before they even consider a business. Also almost all consumers (85%) are looking at least 10 reviews with the fastest growing group of consumers looking at reviews being those that look at 20 or more reviews (7%). That’s just about everyone shopping for the products or services you are providing.
You need to create a company culture that strives for five-star service, provide a quality product, and make a true commitment to always improving the customer experience. Use your customers to feedback to make changes that need to be made and put more resources into what is really working for your business. So when your customers are posting their reviews and comments online your realistic expectation is that they are five-star level.
3. Manage Your Five-Star Reputation
If you are gathering feedback and getting your five-star reviews posted online, you may feel that you are doing all you need to do to manage your online reputation. But you also need to manage the ugly side of online reviews and have a very simple system in place for addressing and handling any negative reviews that may pop up online. Even the best companies can fall prey to a Negative-Nancy who complains about everything or a rival business trying to lower your overall rating. How you handle negative comments and reviews is another part of reputation marketing that enables you to respond to negative reviews in such a way that you actually win over any customers who read through the negative comments and get to read your timely, empathetic and thoughtful response that showcased your level of care for your customers.
4. Market Your Five-Star Reputation
You’ve been gathering feedback from your customers and you need to be doing one of two things with this information. Directing positive reviews to the sites that matter most to your business or turning mediocre or bad reviews into new-believers in your business. Depending on your industry there are different review sites that are going to be drivers of new customers to your business. When developing your reputation marketing plan you want to make sure you aren’t putting all of your eggs in one basket. Diversify and find a few review sites where you can promote your business with amazing reviews.
While Yelp is a top of mind go-to for consumers looking for reviews on almost any business with an actual location, you also want to keep in mind that getting reviews on Google is a huge deal for your search engine marketing. With Google reviews the best and most reviewed local business have the advantage of showing up prominently in local search results on the first page and your star ratings are a very visual part of your businesses appearance in search results.
5. Monitor Your Online Reputation
For a small or local business it may seem that online reputation monitoring is for the Coca Cola and Walmart level businesses in your industry. But it is even more vital that small businesses monitor what is being said online. When comparing large and small businesses, your local super store does not live or die by customer reviews – they are literally too big to fail. If you do a local search for your closest Costco, Walmart or Kmart it’s possible you will see an average of two and three star reviews and they are still packed every day. But the opposite is true of small and local businesses. Negative reviews will drive customers away and spell the end for your business. With so many choices in your niche, the race is on to get the consumers’ dollar and one bad review can knock you out of the running. Keep in mind that random monitoring could have disastrous results, allowing bad reviews and comments to go unchecked and scare off new business.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is very difficult to get negative reviews written about your business removed from any review site. There are a few exceptions such as outright slander and salacious content. There are some reputation management companies that have claimed that they can remove them for you because of “loopholes” or “legal means” that they use to get them taken off. The majority of these cases is simple not true and is a waste of money and time in doing so. The most effective way to remove the influence of negative reviews is to have a large quantity of positive reviews that either push the negative reviews on to the following page or simply overwhelm negative ones with a bunch of positives.
You’re not alone in finding out about this very late in the game and most studies show that every negative review that people read result in the loss of approximately 30 customers per year depending upon your industry. It is very important that these negative reviews are dealt with quickly because they can have a negative impact for a very long time.
One of the services we offer is a 24/7/365 review monitoring program that gives you specific alerts about your business from over 45 different review sites. This makes it possible to find out within hours (sometimes minutes) of any negative reviews posted about you so you can then take action right away and not just let it sit there driving more and more people away from your business.
This is one of the most important questions on this page and this issue must be handled very delicately. The first thing is that when someone leaves a negative review about you, no matter how preposterous or emotionally written, it is important that you respond to whatever they say so as to not leave it out there for everyone to believe everything that is written.
But it is also not in your best interest to try and defend yourself and/or make the person appear to be a liar or an idiot. This can cause a boiling teapot to become a volcano of emotion and accusations. If what they say is true, no matter how difficult it may be for you, admit the fault. Apologize as best you can and point out to the reader that “Yes, we are human, and we do make mistakes. We did reach out to do everything possible to fix this issue but nothing was resolved.”
But whatever you do, don’t pour gas on a burning fire by claiming they are wrong, even though sometimes it is extremely difficult to do. When people are highly emotional and in a distressed state they will say many things that just aren’t true but you cannot accuse them of inaccuracies. It will only make things worse. Just wish them the best and say something about your sorrow for things not turning out as you had hoped.
There are several ways in which to try and collect positive reviews from your customers, some are more effective than others and some of them far more time-consuming than others. If you choose to do it yourself we recommend sending them an email thanking them for their business and asking for a positive review. If you decide to go with our partner with us our process makes it extremely easy to acquire a large variety of positive reviews over time. It can be as simple as having an iPad, other tablet device, or a computer on your front counter that is open to 5StarMax and asking the customer to rate their experience with you right then and there. This device can be conveniently placed near the receptionist while they pay the bill, or an iPad or tablet can be taken in a delivery van on location. Another way to acquire positive reviews quickly is give your customers a small poster or postcard with a QR code that will lead them to your review page. This can be accessed via mobile phone with the same system generating more reviews for your business or practice. You can also send an email to your customers asking for their review with a link to your review page; and/or give your customers a destination phone number to send a text message to which will text them back the link to your review page. You can even have your customers call in on a phone line and leave an audio testimonial which is then automatically transcribed and placed on your website. Our Reputation Management System provides you with eight different ways in which we can collect reviews from your customers all of which are handled automatically. No one in your office has to lift a finger! We do it all for you and we do it seamlessly . . .
It is very important that you DO NOT incentivize your review program. It is highly unethical to offer a free coupon, or literally anything, to try to get somebody to leave a positive review. It has been “rumored” that Google and Yelp.com will punish businesses they catch performing such actions. It is perfectly okay to send your customers free coupons after they have left a positive review to thank them, but we urge you not to tell them ahead of time that’s what you’re going to do.
Each of the review sites that are available such as Google, Yelp.com and others do not appreciate business owners trying to take advantage of their system for personal gain.
There are a few things these sites look for when any review comes in about a particular business. They use a detailed and sophisticated algorithm that monitors everything from how quickly individual reviews came in, how soon they came in compared to others, the actual IP address of the computer where they came from, and whether it was the same or similar in details as other reviews sent in.
If they determine that something fishy might be going on and that a business owner is trying to game the system they can, and usually will delete the majority of those reviews.
Make no mistake about it, although rare, business review companies such as Google and Yelp can and occasionally do completely de-list business websites because of flagrant violations.
Yes reviews are extremely important and it can completely change the online world for any business. It is fascinating to see that even someone who is paying for an ad on Google now has a review strip of stars that give people’s opinion about this product. It’s no longer safe to just have the money to pay for an ad to gain credibility; the reviews are always taken into account.
However, this is also a good thing because it has forced businesses to be more customer centered and not just money centered. It has given tremendous control back to the consumer and so if they are treated right, they can be your best ally.
The sad thing is that the opposite has also occurred where customers threaten to use negative reviews about a business in order to gain some advantage with that business. Some want free service or free installation, others just want money and it’s all over the map. It’s a crazy world out there.
A: There is a notification instantly sent via text and email to the business owner so they can deal with the issue before it becomes a major problem online. When people leave a positive review they are given an opportunity to leave an additional positive review somewhere else online. When people leave negative reviews they are not given that automatic opportunity. Of course they are free to do as they wish and leave one if they want to, but our system does not make it as easy as it is to leave a positive one.