6 Reasons Why Small Business Should Care About Reputation Management
A growing number of online businesses understand that reputation management is crucial for their progress. A 2018 study confirms that 97% of the businesses consider brand management significant for their business. Similarly, 92% and 98% of the business owners also said that social presence and online reviews are important.
Some small business owners may, however, think that reputation management is not for them. The reason being their small size. Small Business Search Marketing corrects this view though. They interviewed a leading expert in reputation management and co-author of Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online, Andy Beal.
Beal commented, “larger companies have the marketing budgets to help with their reputation management. Small companies often don’t have that luxury, so reputation management is a way for them to compete on a more equal footing.”
Beal also pointed out that small businesses survive on the foundation of customer referrals. This makes reputation management all the more important. Here are six more reasons that explain why small initiatives should care about brand management:
- The buyer journey is changing
Long ago, shopping and reputation were simple concepts. The buyer would hear of a good shoe shop in his town, head over there, try on a pair or two, and get back home to show off the new shoe to his friends and family. This last step would further polish the good name that the shoe shop had.
In the present times, however, as the internet has come into the picture, the buyer’s journey to the product has changed. When a person is ready to purchase, he Googles his needs and comes across several companies. From there on begins the elaborate procedure of reading testimonials, reviews, and so on.
Consumers also compare deals and prices until finally, they select a place to buy. Once the shopping phase is over, the customer heads over to a review platform to rate or write about the product. This can be anything between positive and negative. During this entire journey, you don’t want your customer coming across anything negative about your business, which sets the needs for online reputation management.
- People are increasingly learning about your reputation
Since the buyer’s journey has significantly changed, it is clear that an increasing number of people are actively seeking out information about your business. During this process, you need to ensure that nobody comes across information that is wrong.
A study by Kredible learned that 52% of the vendors opened up that they had lost business due to the online information that potential clients found. Some of these also lost business due to the unavailability of any information online. Again, this drives the need for brand management for improved business progress.
- Consumers search for a positive experience
A virtual screen governs online shopping between you and your customers. On top of that, the universe powered by the internet is also saturated. Consequently, an average buyer consumes over ten information pieces before buying something.
What’s more, the Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group reveals that 92% of the consumers hesitate before they buy something that does not have any reviews at all. Negative or fake reviews can leave a negative impression on your small business.
Besides, just checking out your business’s ratings, 73% of the shoppers say that they prefer written reviews over number or star ratings as the written word forms a great impression on their minds. All these findings make it clear that your small business needs a Reputation Management Tool to help maintain a positive impression on your potential customers.
- Responding to reviews is essential
One of the positive implications of testimonials and reviews is that they serve as social proof and humanize your brand. However, not acknowledging reviews that require a response dehumanizes your brand. In other words, it shows the reviewer as well as the people reading through the reviews that you don’t care about your customers.
In businesses, this is a big ‘no,’ and it takes a significant toll on customer experience, which is set to become a chief factor. By 2020, customer experience will rank as the key brand differentiator. In fact, it will hold a position higher than product quality and price.
As a person who runs a small business, you don’t need to go to extreme lengths, but you need to do whatever you can do to improve customer experience. This involves responding to their reviews, which is a crucial factor in reputation management. Handling negative reviews properly also tells others that you care for your customers. What’s more, responding to reviews also improves your site’s SEO.
- Saves you from unknown web listings
It’s possible that your business is part of several online directors. Some of the prominent ones include Trip Advisor and Yelp. These directories give backlinks to your business that help improve your SEO positioning.
However, there is a possibility that some directories may not work perfectly and may end up sending negative backlinks to your site, which can impact your business. Again, to save yourself from this trouble by disavowing such links, you need to take into account brand management.
- Boosts your business
Lastly, reputation management assists in the growth of your business too. It helps to increase sales, online visibility, as well as brand recognition. A survey of 224 digital marketers by Clutch agrees with this. The survey learned that 25% of the respondents agreed that online reputation management (ORM) helps in sales growth.
23% and 18% confessed that ORM helps improve brand visibility and aids in standing out from competitors, respectively. Additionally, the survey showed that 17% of the respondents also agreed that brand management helps ante up online visibility as well as improves Google positioning (8%).
Summing up, reputation management is crucial for the success of any business. Small businesses are no exception as they need to develop a positive digital say about themselves to attract customers. Besides, brand management prevents your customers from coming across fake reviews that can potentially damage your sales.