Over the years I’ve seen a number of business owners make one of the biggest marketing mistakes without thinking of the consequences to their business and it’s so easily avoidable. Marketing a reputation is not something that you turn off because you are ‘too busy’ – it’s something that you keep and nurture even when you are busy. Plus in the plainest terms – the driving factor in staying busy is having reviews visible to customers – it’s what brought them to you in the first place. Turning it off, without realising and accepting the benefits is just ludicrous.

I hear this often – ‘we are just too busy to take on new work’. Firstly – that’s great. Having successful marketing that brings customers toward you is fantastic. Taking the time to accrue feedback and build a solid and honest reputation online is evidence of transparency and giving consumers what they most desire – reading and analysing the feedback of past customers. But suddenly deciding to end all of that because you are booked out for some months is absolutely the last thing to do.

Even if you are booked out for a while – the customers who have commissioned you to work for them are still going to expect to see reviews online and they are going to be mightily confused when they are not there. Those reviews encouraged them to connect and schedule work in the first place, so if the feedback is no longer there they are going to imagine things you most certainly do not want them to. Are you still trading? Has your reputation changed? They are likely to have significant doubts about continuing with the work.

In a broader sense – turning off marketing during boom times is one of the cardinal sins of marketing over all. Reputation marketing is not about dipping your toes in, getting results, and flying the coop. It’s about building something that is there when you’re busy for consumer assurance and driving customers toward you when you are not. Whether boom or bust, marketing a reputation is essential and marketing when times are tough is the hardest time to do it.

All of this is avoidable and online reputation marketing is not expensive. Deciding to turn it off to ‘save dollars’ when substantial amounts of dollars are flowing in because of it is rather silly. It would be like thinking that your car is driving well at the moment and deciding to stop maintaining it to save a few bucks. The good odds are on that backfiring, requiring more money to fix larger issues that could have been prevented or dealt with more cost-effectively beforehand.

It never surprises me when business owners who have let their online reviews go to waste come back in subsequent months or years, desperate to return to where they were when they were ‘too busy’. By that stage they are disheartened, cashflow is dire and bills are mounting up. New customers are few and far between and the overall health of their business is terrible.

It’s all avoidable by knowing absolutely that online reputation marketing is for the life time of a business.