Does your online reputation precede you? And if so, is it a good or bad representation?
In the past, it was easier for companies to control how the public perceived their business. But with the internet, it's become increasingly difficult to regulate what people say or read about your company.
This makes it even more essential for small business owners to take their online reputation management serious.
But to paint you a better picture of its importance, here are some stats.
1. 90% of Consumer Buying Decisions Influenced By Online Reviews
Before a consumer decides to make a purchase, they're going to use the internet to research the business they're considering. Now, this can either be a good or bad thing, depending on your online reputation.
If you have an online reputation management plan in place, you can ensure that what they read sheds positive light on your business.
Obviously, positive reviews will help here. But when it comes to negative reviews, you can respond with intent to investigate the issue and find ways to resolve it. This is always a plus for consumers!
Be sure to create a protocol in your online reputation management strategy for responding to bad reviews.
2. 68% of Consumers Are Willing to Pay 15% More for a Better Experience
Now, how does a consumer determine whether or not a brand will offer a good experience? They'll look to see the experiences others have had with the business.
Once again, online reviews come into play.
But what's more, is that price is no longer a key indicator for which product to choose. Consumers are willing to spend as much as 15% more for the same product if it's from a business that can offer a better experience.
So if your product or service costs more than competitors', you'll need to prove it's worth top dollar. You can do this with an online reputation management strategy that involves consistent customer service.
3. 59% of Consumers Trust Online Reviews as Much as a Friend's Advice
This says a lot about today's e-commerce community. People have always relied on word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends when making purchasing decisions.
It's human nature to ask others what they've done to resolve a common issue they're having. And this includes determining the best product or service for the job.
Today, these recommendations come in the form of online reviews, and people find them trustworthy because it's coming from peers.
It doesn't matter how cost-effective your offer is -- if it's not backed by positive reviews, then it's going to be tougher to sell. This is especially true when your competitors have a lot of positive reviews.
This is likely because they're using online reputation management methods like consistently asking customers for a review.
4. 87% of Consumers Comparison Shop Before Buying
Here's another consumer behavior that can hurt or help your business.
What's different about today's consumers is that they're not committed to brands. This makes it harder to retain customers.
However, this doesn't mean it's impossible to achieve. You just have to focus on delivering the best quality at the right price and ensure there's a consistent customer experience.
This way, you'll always be a top contender in your industry. To solidify this, you'll need an online reputation management plan that includes SEO and content marketing.
5. 70% of Consumers Won't Buy a Product from a Brand they Dislike
So we have consumers who aren't loyal to brands, but yet they care about the brand behind the products they purchase. That's because they veer towards companies that have morals that relate to their own.
This is why you'll find many of the larger companies taking part in causes like breast cancer, global warming, eco-friendliness, and so on.
If you can make your brand relatable and likable, then you have a higher chance of connecting with consumers. Once this connection is made, you'll need to deliver on your promise or face the backlash from your customer base.
Don't make the mistake of pretending to care about something and then turn around and contradict yourself. It'll be difficult, if not impossible, to bounce back from such a dilemma.
You can avoid this by being proactive about your online reputation management.
6. 42% of Consumers Google a Brand Before Doing Business with Them
We're in an age where consumers are research-savvy. With tools like Google and Siri at your fingertips, why not use it to your advantage as a buyer?
Not only are people searching Google for brands, but 45% said that what they found made them decide not to make the purchase. And another 56% said it solidified their decision to buy.
As a small business owner, you can play into this by taking your local SEO strategy to the next level. By adding this to your online reputation management plan, you can push your business to the top of the search engine results pages.
Local SEO mostly revolves around the quality of your Google My Business listing. It's easier to rank for than traditional, organic search results on the SERPs page -- and tends to get you even greater traffic.
In summary, there's no better time to start implementing an online reputation management strategy than now. Your customers are looking for you, but won't purchase unless they feel they can trust you!