To understand why online reputation marketing is essential for every business, it’s important to grasp just how much consumer behaviour has changed with the evolution and availability of computer and smart phone technology.
Understanding consumers’ habits and choices and engaging in online reputation marketing will leave you visible and viable while other businesses that do not will be left stranded.
In the past ten years print has slowly devolved to novelty. Where once physical directories and print advertising were regarded as the foremost avenue of promoting a business, the explosion of the information age has morphed into a cybermarket where the opinions of strangers holds as much sway as a personal referral from a friend or family member.
“For better, or worse, there is no escaping the power of online opinion”
Whether looking for a motel, a restaurant, a dentist, a travel agent, an electrician, a plumber or an architect, consumers look to the digital world to inform their decisions. For better, or worse, there is no escaping the power of online opinion.
The inescapable truth is that consumers are motivated to post their experiences with products, brands, tradespeople, and service providers. They want to do it. They want others to benefit from what they post – either by picking up on a positive recommendation or taking heed from a negative one.
And more than that, those who read online reviews are discerning. They don’t read one review, they read at least five. They question reviews that are older than a year. They are driven to create a picture of a business before they decide to pick up the phone. They research before they engage and that research is what others have experienced – not what a business may say about itself via a website or a Facebook page. The sheer power of online reviews is something that every business cannot afford to ignore.
Oftentimes business owners are suspicious of consumer behaviour – treating it as some convoluted science that has little bearing on how they should further their business. In actuality, it’s all about alignment and connection – how to present yourself in a way that connects with the customers you ideally want to attract.
Consumers are looking for online reviews and if you’re not actively marketing your reputation, then you’re invisible
Marketing an online reputation and managing one are two vastly different endeavours – one is proactive and the other is reactive. Managing online reputation is about attempting to control and manipulate what has already been said, while marketing online reputation is about creating and nurturing your greatest asset – your reputation – through the feedback of your customers. By engaging and encouraging your customer base to place feedback about their experiences you have made yourself transparent and trustworthy and more than that, you have made yourself visible; a real choice for new customers.
Marketing your reputation is essential
The best plumber in the world is only successful if they market themselves online. That may sound over-simplified but it’s true. If nobody knows just how good a business is through the feedback of past consumers, then that business will struggle to survive. Relying on archaic and analogue means of promotion are just not helpful anymore. Even good old fashioned ‘word of mouth’ is taken as an invitation for further scrutiny online and if there’s nothing to see then there’s no choice to be made.
The information age is evolving at a faster pace than we imagined
When the information was first coined there were no smart phones and the personal computer had just begun it’s journey into most homes. Email, the internet were in their infancy. Today most consumers are connected at all times by some type of smart phone and have immediate access to any information they may need – how to get somewhere, what the weather will be like in five minutes, what plane is flying overhead, what shops are still open, what the NASDAQ is doing right now and what the latest sports results are. When they need to make any choice, at any time, they can. Information flows directly to them. The object in their hand is a business’ greatest marketing tool.