Reputation Marketing 101: What Your Small Business Needs to KnowMonika Jansen
“Reviews have become the new online currency of trust.”
As a B2B small business, you might not think much about gathering reviews from clients. That’s just for restaurants, right? Wrong!
My friend Mimi Davidson set me straight during a recent chat – and she would know. Mimi is the founder and President of Mongo, a website optimization and Internet marketing company, and reputation marketing is one of her specialties. For a small business owner like me, she’s a really good person to know!
Anyway, to illustrate how important reviews are, Mimi told me about her search for an orthodontist for her son. She had recommendations from friends, but she wanted to check them out online before she made an appointment. One orthodontist had no reviews, one had a few, and one had dozens.
Guess which orthodontist her son is now going to? “If you have no reviews and your competitor has 60, I’m going to call your competitor first,” Mimi stated.
So yes, reviews are a really big deal, even for B2B businesses. The ones that leverage reviews are the ones that stand out.
Let’s go back to basics first and define what reputation marketing is:
Reputation marketing is brand marketing and reputation monitoring combined. It’s a proactive approach to crafting a favorable online image that your business needs to be successful.
It’s a pretty complex field, but Mimi said there are four things small business owners can do themselves:
Claim your Google My Business page
Your Google My Business page is free, which is great, but once you set up your online profile, you enjoy instant visibility and credibility in Google’s eyes. It also allows you to get reviews in Google, the importance of which we’ll talk about again in a bit.
You can also set up free online profiles on Yelp and in other directories. If you do, make sure your information – name, address, and phone number – is consistent from listing to listing.
Shoot for 10 reviews
Mimi has results from a focus group around how many reviews a business needs on Google before it’s trusted, and that magic number is 10. The more reviews, the better, of course – as long as a majority of them are five-star reviews. (Coincidentally, 10 is about the maximum number of reviews most people will read.)
If you don’t already have one, put together a systematic process to get reviews from your clients.
Set up Google Alerts
Set up Google Alerts for brand mentions of your business and name. Because you’ll get email notifications when someone mentions you online, it allows you to not only track what’s being said, but jump into the conversation immediately.
Mimi also likes socialmention.com, a tool similar to Google Alerts but specific to social media.
It goes without saying that you need to respond quickly to any mentions, but especially to negative comments. It can be really hard to not take a bad review or comment personally, but before you fire off an angry reply, think about your brand’s reputation. Do you really want to damage it?
I asked Mimi to name the biggest mistake she sees businesses making when it comes to reputation marketing, and her answer was swift:
“Not owning the entire first page of search results for their company name.”
When someone does a Google search for your company name, they should see your reviews, video testimonials, press releases – only content that you created. You don’t want your competitors to show up, but sometimes they do.
If you regularly gather reviews from clients, what’s your system? How has it helped you grow your business?