More and more small businesses are establishing an online presence – and so can you. More and more small businesses care about their online reputation – and so should you. In this article, we present seven reasons why small business owners should care about their online reputation:
People are spending more time online. The Internet has created a new world order where people are spending more and more time online to research products and services in their local area. Whether looking for a good deal at a nearby spa, a reliable plumber for a leaking pipe, or a last minute restaurant recommendation, people will seek the Internet in search for answers.
Online searches drive customers to your doorsteps. A recent comScore study shows that most online searchers follow up offline with an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase. This suggests that the balance of power is shifting to businesses that have an online presence and good reputation.
Your online presence defines your online reputation. With the advent of social media, information about your business is flowing in both directions faster than ever before. Businesses no longer control of their “brand”. However, a businesses website, a Facebook Page, a Twitter feed, or a Yelp account can certainly ensure that you are participating in the discourse.
People are talking about you online. Small businesses are likely to be impacted by what people say about them online. When someone goes online to research a business, product or service, the results returned often include information published by the business owners and facts posted by happy and disgruntled customers. If a business has poor customer reviews, less people will be likely to call for its services or purchase its products.
Online feedback represents an opportunity to engage with customers. Businesses can improve their reputation by engaging with customers online. In the case of a positive review, a simple “thank you” will go a long way and bear customer loyalty. On the other hand, unattended negative feedback can harm a business for a long time, as the Internet doesn’t forget.
Customers are only a click away from moving on. Despite the advent of social media and the power of social recommendations, people are still dependent on search engines and online directories to find what they are looking for. And if they don’t like what they see, they’ll simply move on, as the next choice is only one click away. Making sure you have a good reputation across a broad spectrum of online destinations is more important than ever.
Stepping onto the world stage. Small businesses often do best when marketing their products and services to a local and targeting customer base. However, the Internet represents a unique opportunity to reach new customers visiting the area, or who would like to buy your products from away. In this case, a good reputation will make all the difference.
As Benjamin Franklin once said: “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Customers can be extremely judgmental online, which can have devastating effects on your business. Establishing and managing your online presence can only help improve your reputation, grow your business, and make an impact on your local community. Visit Happy Planet Central to see how you can get started managing your online presence and reputation.