You’ve spent years building your business. You’ve invested time, sweat, and tears. You’ve missed dance recitals and soccer games as you’ve toiled to create it. You finally feel as though you can relax… until the day when the phone calls stop, the new customers vanish, and you can’t understand why.
You’re still providing excellent service and your existing customers love you, but your business is struggling. Finally, you learn from an existing customer that your company has some very negative reviews posted online. It dawns on you that your online reputation is presenting a twisted perception of reality that is really killing your business.
Sound like the plot of a B-movie drama? Unfortunately, it’s true for hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses across the country.
Local Business Reviews = Reputation
What people say about your company online has become the single most important reflection of your company’s quality, reliability, and skill. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, a plastic surgeon, a carpet cleaner, or a painter. In Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising study, 70% of global consumers indicated they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions.
Your number one marketing priority should be developing a 5-star online reputation. Why? All your other marketing efforts, whether they be online such as SEO, social media, PPC, or offline such as direct mail, magazines, radio, or TV, will ultimately lead the consumer to learn more about you online. There, your less than sterling or non-existent reputation drives them away.
Most business owners fail to realize is that what consumers want is information that will help them feel confident they’re making the best, most well-reasoned purchase. Today, quite a bit of that confidence comes in the form of online reviews reflecting others’ experiences.
A Hidden Benefit of Great Online Reviews
Clearly, your business needs to put a review-gathering, reputation marketing culture, and process in place. The investment you make will return outsized profits from the new customers you’ll attract. But there is one other “hidden” benefit that an outstanding online reputation will bring: pricing power.
For years, nearly every business has struggled to defend its price in a world of “me too” competitors. Imagine how easy it will be to respond to “Why should I pay more for your service?” when you can simply reply, “Have you taken a look online to see what our customers say?”
Companies need to leverage the power a 5-star reputation brings. You’ve worked hard to establish your business and sacrificed plenty along the way. Are you willing to let that hard work get flushed down the drain because of a single disgruntled customer or competitor?
Develop a system to ensure your biggest fans are louder than your biggest enemies; the payoff is worth it.