Your Reputation IS Your Marketing
One of the saddest things for me to see, is a business that has worked hard to get to the top of the Google search results, only to drive business into their competitors arms because of 1 star reviews complaining about their products, service or staff.
Today EVERY business immediately has their reputations potentially exposed as soon as someone does a Google search. It’s true, that a small firm in a small town may not be exposed for now…but as people get more and more used to the concept of leaving reviews after a transaction, it’s going to happen, and sooner rather than later. How much do you want to be that a smartphone app will come out this year that quickly and easily allows you to leave a review on different review sites easily and conveniently.
Google Serves Up Reviews
You don’t have to look for reviews, Google serves them up automatically.
In this image you can see that only two restaurants have their actual scores exposed to view. But that is at least partially a function of how short a time it has been since Google implemented their latest changes, making review results, or access to reviews visible.
People want information when they search for business results, and among the most critical pieces of information they are searching for is the answer to the question, “Can I trust these guys not to rip me off?”
Everyone’s Reputation is Exposed
And lest you think it is only the food joints that are getting rated…
Right there, under their company’s name, is access to some previous customers opinion on 5 of those care dealers.
It won’t be long before having NO reviews is just as bad as having BAD reviews. I mean, if a consumer has a choice of two places with five star reviews, two places with three or two star reviews, and two places with no reviews, which ones are they going to pick? Why would they take a chance on some place has critical past customers or that hasn’t been able to create happy fans?
You might as well get used to the term “social proof.” You will be hearing it a lot soon. It is already one of the biggest marketing drivers around. If you shop on Amazon, you are spoon fed previous customers reviews of everything Amazon is selling. And that’s not all. As you are reading the details of your prospective purchase, Amazon shows you what other products previous consumers chose, to go along with the item you are looking at.
Future Shop, Canadian Tire, almost all the large retailers now feature customers reviews of products on their websites. A recent survey showed that over 70% of the people who responded said that they trusted online reviews from strangers as much as advice from a friend.
If you are in business, you need to pay attention to this growing trend. Start cultivating your happiest customers, and try and think of ways to add Reputation Marketing to your total marketing effort. When you live in a rural area like I do, a lot of businesses depend on seasonal, tourist or vacation traffic into their stores. The businesses that can prove to strangers that they are trustworthy will scoop up a lot of the available dollars. The ones who ignore reputation marketing are going to be left wondering where all the customers went.