No local business can succeed without having any idea what their customers are thinking or saying about them. Dry cleaners, florists, dental clinics, plumbing companies and even the fast-food franchise around the corner all benefit from some access to buyer perception and public feedback, which together comprise their reputation. In the digital age, leveraging these aspects before a negative review drops or a public relations (PR) crisis hits you is what online reputation marketing is about.
What is reputation marketing in a nutshell? It refers to the strategy that merges branding and reputation management efforts. It deploys a proactive approach toward existing positive feedback, tools and tactics like review monitoring and response. In turn, it generates more leads, demand and revenue than reputation repair does. With four out of five consumers changing their mind about a product or service after reading negative reviews online, you might be better off enhancing rather than repairing.
Growth and competitive gain are just two major benefits of reputation marketing for local business owners. Let’s delve deeper and explore more of the positive effects you can expect when you engage with this marketing channel.
Reputation Marketing for Small Businesses: Quick Stats
Your online reputation is the combination of customer reviews, social media comments and local search rankings, among others. As such, it is “an ever-expanding part of search engine optimization, lead generation and digital presence,” said Courtney Quigley, Rize Reviews’ reputation consultant.
“Statistics indicate that nine out of 10 consumers will check online reviews of a product or business before buying from or patronizing a business. Reviews are often your first impression to consumers as a business owner,” she added.
Here are some more statistics that show how important online reviews, and your online reputation, are to your business:
• Around 72 percent of buyers will write a review if a local business or franchise asks them.
• Positive reviews boost trust in local businesses for a whopping 94 percent of customers.
• Lastly, 92 percent are less likely to patronize a company with negative reviews.
Source: BrightLocal, 2020
These figures underscore changes in consumer behavior that demand something beyond small business reputation management or franchise reputation management. What they require is online reputation marketing, which lets you monitor your brand and reputation to prevent adverse news and negative comments from influencing purchase decisions.
Benefits of Reputation Marketing for Local Business Types
Think of a positive online reputation as a marketing asset. When employed properly – by your marketing team or reputation marketing agency – it enhances your search ranking, social media visibility, site traffic and sales.
What is reputation marketing for local business categories going to achieve for small enterprises, multi-location businesses and franchise subunits? Here are the top four benefits:
Improves Online Presence
Recent studies show that online reviews rank second among the top search ranking signals for Google 3-Pack and sixth for localized organic search results. The Local Pack is coveted real estate for local businesses, as it appears below paid advertisements and above the organic results.
Reputation marketing solutions ensure you’re listed and earning reviews on local directories. They improve your chances of taking one of the three spots for people’s “near me” queries by optimizing your information, consolidating third-party reviews on your website and obtaining more reviews as you move forward.
The online reputation management digital marketing experts focus on now is not just crisis management. It’s review generation and monitoring. And it works for your local SEO goals.
Initiates Competitive Advantage
Reputation marketing for small businesses helps build credibility. The primary reason for this is that people are likely to trust reviews and recommendations from previous customers. Particularly, 91 percent of those aged 18 to 34 rely on authenticated online reviews. So, the more quality reviews, recommendations and comments you get across multiple channels, the better your reputation fares.
When it comes to purchasing decisions, customers choose the more reputable brand or business over its rivals. Thus, it’s critical to establish dominance using reputation marketing services like review generation, review monitoring and review response.
In small business reputation management or franchise reputation management, your online reputation is usually determined by how you deal with negative feedback. But with online reputation marketing for local businesses, your positive reviews are front and center. A reputation marketing company or an in-house marketing team promotes your brand reputation, making it the main attraction.
This reputation management marketing effort is right within the path to purchase. When potential customers read positive reviews about your business, they will likely check out your website or social media profiles next. Then, they’re going to learn more about your offerings, which influence their decisions and gain conversions for you.
Impacts Your Bottom Line
Let’s return to the stats regarding online reviews. Imagine an overwhelming 92 percent changing their mind about your business because of negative feedback. No online reputation management digital marketing professional, no matter how good, could easily revert the cumulative impact on your bottom line.
The lesson: It’s more important than ever to secure your spot in the local market with the right reputation marketing solutions and ensure your brand perception won’t be affected badly by negative comments.
What Happens if You Ignore Reputation Marketing?
We just discussed the benefits of reputation marketing for small businesses, multi-location enterprises and franchise companies. But what if you choose to ignore this marketing channel?
“Ignoring reputation marketing could lead to missing out on great reviews for your company, which helps to boost local SEO,” said Rize Reviews’ Courtney Quigley. “Businesses often have loads of happy customers who just need a reminder to leave a review, and if you neglect to be proactive in reputation marketing, those happy customers’ feedback won’t help you generate more leads and future or repeat business.”
She added that you’ll likely lose out to “competitors in your space who do focus on reviews because they will have a better ‘first impression’ online.”
Streamline Your Reputation Management Marketing
So, as a local business, you may be busy serving your city or community. But you also know now how crucial it is to proactively get great reviews and use them to market yourself. Here are a few ways to achieve a sustainable operation:
• Unify your reputation management marketing efforts through reputation marketing software.
• If you have an existing small business reputation management or franchise reputation management strategy, fine-tune it as a component of your reputation marketing services.
• Enlist a reputation marketing company for the effective implementation of reputation marketing solutions.
A reputation marketing agency is well-equipped to turn your positive reviews and ratings into one of your most prized marketing assets.
What Is Reputation Marketing Going To Mean for Your Local Business?
The online reputation management digital marketing professionals recommend right now goes beyond handling PR nightmares and controlling negative reviews as they come. It’s harnessing the power of positive feedback, turning it into a lucrative selling point for your brand or business. That’s reputation marketing for you.
To reap the rewards of reputation marketing, you should be able to generate, monitor and maintain the outpouring of favorable reviews. For those whose plates are full or those who believe the benefits outweigh the costs, hiring an experienced reputation marketing company to do these is the smarter, sustainable and more cost-effective choice.
Rize Reviews is the reputation marketing agency that embodies this choice. We simplify the process by providing you with reputation marketing software that integrates and automates all the essential reputation marketing services. And in true digital marketing fashion, our review widget makes it easy for you to display all of your reviews on your website, impressing users and search engines alike.
Let’s talk about how we can promote your positive reputation and give a competitive edge today. Call us 866-325-0303 at or drop us a message.