Why Your Digital Reputation Matters and How to Leverage it for Success
How your brand is perceived online has a very real influence on your business performance. Here’s how you can ensure it stays positive.
Marketing and advertising is, at its core, an exercise in capturing the attention of consumers and creating an emotional response to a product or service. Over the years, marketing experts have accomplished this trick by relying on a range of tactics. From vibrant ads and catchy slogans and jingles to emotionally impactful visual content, the tools of the trade are designed to tug at the heartstrings. As social media and online directories have evolved and become increasingly important to a consumer base focused on not only value but also what reviews say about a product or service, the importance of your business’s online reputation has also gained value in the overall strategic marketing stack.
In this discussion, we’ll provide a breakdown of what makes up your online reputation and how you can leverage it to generate increased inbound leads, drive conversions, and increase revenue.
What’s Your Digital Reputation Made Of?
Your business’s digital reputation is influenced by its relationship with past and present clients. With both positive and negative experiences in the mix, clients have plenty to say about your products and services. Their opinions, scattered across the internet on review sites, your own social media pages, industry-focused directories, and myriad other platforms all come together to form the basis of what information potential clients can then find about your brand when they search for you through a search engine. What sort of information are customers trying to find about your business?
Product or Service Reputation
When potential customers conduct a search in your industry for options, they are generally focused on an array of questions designed to help them get a feel for how you’ve helped others in the past. Do your products and services help to actually solve the pain point they’re advertised to solve? How does the quality of what you have to offer your clients compare to the competition? Do you take a fresh and innovative approach that other brands don’t to set yourself apart? Would they stand behind your product or give you up if a better alternative came along? By discovering how you’ve helped other past clients solve similar challenges, clients are either reassured that you are the right fit for what they need to accomplish, or they confirm that they should keep looking.
Corporate Financial Performance Reputation
Overall financial success is more of a driving factor in business-to-business (B2B) services and product relationships. Overall, B2B clients need to be assured that their service and product providers are stable and have a reputation for success. They will be looking for information such as how your organization ranks in profitability versus competitors, how much risk is associated with your business model, and how much growth your business has experienced in the past and anticipates in the future. These are all indicators of a stable model that assures clients the organization is safe to trust with their business needs long-term.
Brand Culture Reputation
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, social responsibility and the workplace environment have become increasingly important to potential clients. In fact, in many studies, clients are putting these components of your business on the same level as product value. Just as they want to back a brand that is concerned with profitability and providing high-quality products or services, they also want to back a brand concerned with community and environmental responsibility. They want to know that the quality and value they are getting as clients aren’t at the expense of the well-being of those responsible for delivering on the corporate promise. As a result, many businesses are creating videos and articles focused on the activities they are participating in that support and give back to the community, whether it’s charity work or some other form of community involvement.
From this same point of view, employee opinion about a brand’s vision and leadership are also valued inputs for potential clients in the perception of your digital reputation. It’s easier to respect and feel good about doing business with a brand whose employees back the vision and goals of their leadership. Providing your staff with a clear path forward can be one of the best methods at your disposal to engender their trust and respect, which will translate over time in the same respect of your brand across digital platforms where employee opinions are captured. Having a great relationship with your employees also means that your clients will have just as amazing an experience with your brand, and your staff will be motivated and inspired to share their own experience through high-quality service to the client base.
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How To Use Your Digital Reputation to Your Advantage
Business decisions in the modern economy are driven by data. In using the various tools necessary to manage and maintain your overall digital reputation, your team will be gathering a wealth of insight into how to truly create a competitive advantage. This stems directly from the audience insights and the market research your business gains from scouring reviews and collecting feedback from customers to understand not only where you’re successful, but also where you’re missing the mark.
Negative reviews in this context can be devastating to your inbound marketing efforts. A single negative review can cause 22% of clients to count your business out of the running on a purchasing decision, while three negative reviews can drive away as many as 59% of potential customers. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your reviews and work to repair any negative relationships you might have created in the course of doing business, as these become opportunities not only to salvage an existing customer relationship but also to inspire and attract new business.
Through the management of your online reputation, you’ll build trust with the community and overall brand awareness. This will help with other business-building tactics such as backlinking to your website, content generation across social media, and keyword-focused PPC campaigns. By improving these mechanisms and strategies, your website should start to see more qualified leads landing on your virtual doorstep, so you should also ensure your sales team receives the necessary training and that you’ve brought in staff to handle the increased sales traffic.
What Your Company Does Matters, So Make It Count!
We live in an age of absolute transparency and visibility. While this can make it difficult to manage and mitigate the impact of missteps made in the client management process, this visibility can also be worked to your advantage. Properly managed and maintained through active engagement and strategic marketing initiatives, your digital reputation can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for building sales and increasing profitability.