You might find it unbelievable, but there are still a lot of companies and organisations who are only just working out that going online is good for business but that their online reputation can make or break them. With no idea what dangers lie on the Internet, they just wade in head first without wanting to pay for advice about protecting their reputations. Brands with 10 or 20 years of success offline could find that ignoring brand mentions and online reviews could be risking their well-earned, good reputations.
1. Google Defines Your Reputation
How many times have you heard someone say, ‘Google it’ when they want to know something? It’s become a household saying, and when someone wants to find a restaurant, the meaning of a word, medical practitioners, and just about anything else, they Google it.
If you don’t have an online presence, then your competition probably does, so you miss out on a sale and risk being unable to correct false information about your company which could be ranking at the top.
What you don’t want is potential customers looking up your business or brand and being pointed in the wrong direction rather than to your website.
2. Whether You Have a Website or Not – Your Brand is Online
You might not be aware that Google and others index brands and businesses big and small and with or without permission. So if you think that by staying away from online marketing our company will be left out, then you might have to think that one again.
Also, people will discuss your brand on social media sites whether your presence is online or not – so you are online in a manner of speaking whether you like it or not. If your customers are looking for you and you aren’t online, they’ll find your competitors and comments that might not be in your favour.
3. Your Brand Will Be Discussed on Social Media
Without an online presence to promote your brand, respond positively to negative reviews or comments and post testimonials your business is at the mercy of the two billion or more users across the major social media platforms. With that amount of people on the Internet, there’s bound to be someone chatting about your brand to followers and friends, and if you’re not there to answer queries, you risk losing customer loyalty.
4. You Have to Be There to Build Brand Loyalty
With an online presence, you can build your brand loyalty, whether that’s in search results or on social media because you can be sure someone will want a question answered about your business, service or product. Local businesses are not immune and if you can build a following it a good bet that those searching are very loyal to their favourite brands so don’t leave them wondering and moving to a competitor.
5. If You Let Them, Negative Reviews Will Control Your Brand
This cannot be stressed enough – if you don’t have an online presence there will be nobody to keep an eye on what customers are saying and they might be negative comments that could be quickly addressed and corrected.
Every day new sites such as PissedConsumers, RipOffReport and Yelp are appearing online, and without being there to counteract any inaccuracies, they are accepted as truth. By not watching your brand online you’re definitely jeopardising your business success.
6. The Advertising Action is on the Internet
One of the big mistakes local businesses make is thinking local advertising is what works best, which is one reason they focus their money and attention on that rather than going online for their marketing.
Yes, banner advertising and signage is vital to your success, and you need quality printing on any shop-front signs. But local advertising based on radio, print and TV is heading for the rubbish tip because it costs too much and the reach just isn’t there any longer.
It’s better to put your money and time into online marketing and branding because by ignoring your online reputation you are, in fact, destroying it.
7. Online Branding Can Highlight Your Best Points
Rather than merely advertising to your local customers through traditional methods, an online presence means you can highlight your best points to the world. You can do this through blogs, with a social media profile, building up a long mailing list, emailing coupons and specials or promotions, having loyalty rewards and more. Your potential customers can browse through your products from home and with a click or two you’ll have a sale to post out to your new buyer.
Finally, the reality is that the Internet will just keep on growing, it will index your business or brand anyway, and your competitors will be laughing. Customers will post negative comments and reviews that you won’t know about and won’t be able to defend yourself. So, go online for your company’s sake. And if you need someone to write the copy, see below: