How your online reputation is impacting your business
It’s a fact of life that you can’t please all the people, all of the time. And while a negative comment here or a bad review there may not seem like a big deal,if left unchecked,this kind of negative feedback can quickly have a negative impact on your business.
Managing your online reputation not only helps presents your company as an industry expert or authority, but it can be instrumental in driving more business to your door, and that translates into real revenue.
Using tools and strategies to enhance your online reputation can be a game-changer, in the current climate. What people say about your business matters, and negative comments can be damaging.
Did you know that;
87% of customers will read online reviews before buying
83% will depend on word of mouth recommendations
67% said that online reviews directly influenced their decision
Those are big numbers, and with so many buyers being affected by what they read, it really is important to pay attention to how your business is perceived online.
If your company is relatively new and you are lucky enough to not have any negative reviews, you may still be affected as potential customers looking for information perceive not enough reviews almost as badly as negative reviews.
What can you do?
Tracking and improving your online reputation may seem like a monumental task, but it’s not without its advantages. Evaluating and improving your online reputation will help you to represent your business well in the digital space. Managing your companies reputation effectively can help you to reach more potential clients, grow your customer base, and succeed in the long term.
Element62 supports companies by providing a Digital Marketing Toolkit to help small business users and solopreneurs to manage their online reputations, listings, and reviews all from one easy to manage location.
Improving your online footprint and brand presence can be done by using our one-stop platform to –
Evaluate your current online reputation
Assess your business image
Be more active on social media
Manage online content
Encourage positive reviews
Building a positive image by getting active across all of your social media channels will help you create trust and by personalizing your business you can drive more engagement. Being active and accessible may also help to remove or negate negative content as it ages.
Along with reinforcing your brand, good online reputation management shows your client base that you are responsible and trustworthy. Improving credibility with transparency and a consistent brand message can turn your company from one that looks questionable, into one that customers want to do business with.
Among Millenials and Gen Z buyers, a digital footprint is essential to review the activities and review suitability of possible businesses. So if your product or service targets a younger generation, having a good online reputation will reach this market segment where they interact most.
While solid management of your online presence will drive business and attract new customers, it will also help you to retain existing clients. Being active and maintaining social accounts and other online outlets help to keep your business in front of clients both new and existing.
So the next time they are looking for a product or a service that your company provides, their instinct will be to visit your website or online store first. If you need any more convincing then check out this fact.
In a survey by BrightLocal, 94% of customers said ‘that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business. “
With statistics like that, isn’t it time you took a good look at your company’s online reputation and used it to generate more business?
If, like many of us, you are wondering where the money is right now, the short answer is Tech. And the figures are mind-blowing!
Tech companies dominated the Best Global Brands 2020 report from Interbrand with Apple, at an estimated $322.9 billion as the company with the largest brand value. Amazon follows at $200,677 million, demonstrating an impressive 60% increase in brand value, compared to last year.
In the relentless disruption of the covid-19 pandemic, communication brands and social media have flourished. Instagram (#19), YouTube (#30) and Zoom (#100) are all appearing in the rankings for the first time. Although a diverse list, there is no doubt that Silicon Valley technology is on top in every sense of the word.
So why does Brand Value Matter?
With numbers like these, it’s clear that brands offer the potential to create incredible commercial value for companies and corporations. The old adage that “People buy brands, not products” – is particularly relevant in the Covid-19 climate. Differentiation is key to long-term profit, growth and staying power. Brands that have achieved differentiation fared better throughout the covid crisis than those who failed to exploit their differentiators. This is because people don’t have relationships with products; they are, however, loyal to brands.
An ever-growing school of thought insists that brand is essentially more important than any product or service. There are several reasons for this, the first and most obvious being that brands are immortal, products date. Brands build communities, inspire ideas and motivate change at a time when one-dimensional products are struggling to satisfy the demands of a technology-driven, global communication society.
Secondly, increased internet access in developing countries and a boom in e-commerce and online business practice have opened new geographical markets. A blossoming middle class across Asia, Africa, and South America is increasing competition for relevant brand names, keywords and descriptors in multiple languages, but mainly English. These are large population countries with enthusiastic audiences and a wealth of opportunity for hungry, new entrepreneurs driven by the need for change. Increased competition drives up the value of existing brands while forcing new brands to be more creative in defining their brand identities, value propositions and other brand assets.
In this maelstrom, the challenge of brand performance management continues to be a demanding one that requires highly experienced professional partners and a complex multi-discipline strategy to deliver.
The hard truth is simply that great products, branding and advertising are simply not enough to differentiate businesses in a climate of intense competition for the attention of today’s discerning buyers. They want brands to be more than just product or service providers. They want them to be community builders, problem solvers and allies for change. They want human experiences with technology-driven efficiency, which meet them halfway – after all, attention is currency. If you want them to spend it on your brand, then you must return on that investment with something of value. Because in this world, where time is at a premium, that is essentially what attention is – an investment.
Changing buyer behaviour highlights how brands can potentially be worth more than all the other assets of the company combined – many of which depreciate in a way that brand doesn’t. Brand valuations can be complex to ascertain, but experts report that the share of brand value across industry segments can equate to around 40%, on average, of a company’s value. Not a percentage to ignore.
Brand is no longer just nice to have. It’s a long-term investment which can pay for itself – if you look after it. If you want to know more about how your brand is performing, please contact us to find out more about how our brand audit service can reveal opportunities for improving your brand position and value.
Between the price war and a pandemic lies some seriously tricky terrain for businesses to traverse. A cacophony of well-meaning voices, scream conflicting information, leaving behind the awkward moral dilemma: to invoice or not to invoice?
Good business practise would dictate that, logically, you should be chasing every penny owed to you. It’s yours by contractual right, your client has benefitted, you have delivered whatever product or service it relates to, and you will have incurred the costs of doing so. So far, so good, right?
If only life were so simple. The thing about having a business is that all business owners have one. It’s impossible not to recognise the challenge facing other business owners and employers when it’s the same challenge that currently faces you.
So, maybe, following an honest conversation with an important client, who is also under strain, you are now offering deferred payments, massive discount or not charging certain clients for services at all to protect your relationship. They will remember you when its over right?
Maybe they will, but assuming you can continue to burn costs without your usual revenue streams for an unknown period, will they still hold the position, power or business that you need to pay the piper when things to return to ‘normal’? More importantly, will you?
At times like these, it’s hard to know how to reduce the burden on clients, colleagues and suppliers without devaluing your own business to the point of unsustainability through nothing more than well-meaning human decency. This is particularly true for small businesses where relationships are critical to the long-term future of the enterprise.
Small business owners are often closer to the day-to-day operations of the business, having a direct relationship with many of the clients. This can taint their view, creating opportunities for informal discussions where promises are made that can have longer-ranging ramifications than the current lock-down will.
Sometimes, the line between business and relationships is very thin, but there is always a line. Issuing nil invoices to support clients is noble but short-sighted. Businesses need cash flow, and the taxman expects to see believable invoices – even in times of disruption.
We all have a duty to our staff, suppliers, clients and families to at least try and secure our survival in these unprecedented times.
If you are providing a service that adds values and creates opportunity for your client base – charge for it. Review your fees if you must, but giving your primary product or service away for free, even temporarily, is a short walk to a ‘closed’ sign. Even if you survive, your client’s perception of your product value will have tanked, and it’s a hard climb to reinstate a paid product or service when people received it for free – at precisely the moment when it became most valuable to them.
Reserve incentives for easy-to-deliver services which cost little and use minimum resource, they can provide a useful passive income at times like these. These can be discounts, payment plans, early-bird discounts on services which will be reactivated when things get moving again. Barter, look for reciprocal deals, but please don’t offer freebies in attempts to buy loyalty. Loyalty is earned by reliably adding value. Know your value and respect it.
Every business is different, but the basics still apply – stall/shelve products or services that are currently undeliverable, focus on where you can add value and charge for it. Pay for the services you value to keep your business afloat and endeavour to keep costs low on all non-essential services – even the ones you like.
Frankly, if it’s not adding value to your clients in some way, then it’s probably not adding value to your business. We have a long road ahead, and it’s going to be hard enough – there is no need to make it harder on yourself. Pay for what you get, and charge for what you can offer. Simples.