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How to Build a Strong Reputation for Your Business

A lot goes into building a solid online presence for your small business. You need a professional, mobile-friendly website, and you need to drive visibility in as many ways as possible, including digital advertising, SEO, social media marketing and beyond.

However, even if you have a great website and a visible online presence, your job isn’t quite done. You also need to be able to stand out from the competition, and one of the best ways to do that is with a strong reputation.

Here are a few things you can do to build a strong reputation for your small business.

7 tips for building a strong reputation

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#1. Prioritize customer service

Your business’s online reputation may not always be a fair representation of the kind of service you provide, but it forms the foundation of your online reputation. That’s why building a strong reputation online starts with providing next-level customer service day to day.

Focus on great customer service with every interaction. Be polite, friendly and on-time, and always apologize and make it right when you make mistakes.

Of course, providing great customer service won’t guarantee that you get reviews, but when you do get reviews, you’re more likely to get the kind of reviews that you want.

#2. Get more reviews

When deciding whether or not to shop with a new brand or work with a new local business, most people will turn to customer reviews. Reviews help to build trust and help to give consumers more peace of mind (if they’re positive).

Every small business needs reviews, but not every customer will write one on their own. In fact, in most cases, people who are unhappy are more likely to write reviews unprompted than even your most satisfied customers. This can leave you with an unfair, lopsided reputation that doesn’t really represent your service. That’s why you need to take matters into your own hands.

Here are a few ideas to help you get more reviews:

  • Ask in person - If someone is happy after a service or a transaction, take a moment to ask that they leave you some feedback on your most important review platform.
  • Send email requests - Set up an automated email campaign that asks whether or not your customers are satisfied with their experience. Direct happy customers to your review platforms, and direct unhappy customers to a feedback form on your website.
  • Offer incentives - Incentivizing reviews can be a slippery slope, but in most cases, it’s OK to offer an incentive as long as you’re not asking for a specific star rating or only incentivizing certain customers.

#3. Respond to your reviews

It would be great if every review your business gets is five stars, but the likelihood of that actually happening isn’t high. The truth is that you can’t please every customer every time, and sooner or later, you’ll get a negative review.

No business likes getting negative reviews, but with the right response, you can turn the situation around. With the right response, the customer may even be willing to adjust their review.

Here are a few tips for responding to negative reviews:

  • Own up to your mistakes - Whether or not you agree with the review, apologize for the negative experience. This shows that you’re the bigger person and are willing to take responsibility.
  • Don’t argue - Never argue with someone who has left you a review, even if you think it’s unfair or inaccurate. If you need to have a discussion, invite them to talk with you offline.
  • Take a breather - Some reviews can be upsetting, but it will do you no favors to your reputation if you respond in an emotional way. Take a break, gather your thoughts and be professional in your response.

#4. Monitor your reputation

It’s nearly impossible to effectively manage your small business’s online reputation without having a full understanding of where you currently stand and what your reputation looks like.

Keeping a close eye on your reputation will help you identify what needs attention and what’s working for you. It will also help you stay alert to new reviews, which will make it a lot easier to respond to reviews promptly.

To do this, routinely search for your business name on search engines, like Google and Bing. Also, monitor your reputation across multiple review sites with reputation management software, like Marketing 360® Reputation.

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#5. Display reviews on your website

Trust is a huge piece of the puzzle for a small business’s success these days, especially when we’re talking online marketing. People need a reason to choose you over the competition, and often, your reviews and online reputation will be the deciding factor.

One way you can build trust and use your reviews to your advantage is to display them on your website with a reviews widget, like the Top Rated Local® widget. This dynamically displays your best reviews right on your website.

Displaying reviews on your website is an easy way to quickly build trust with prospective customers and can lead to more leads and conversions.

#6. Optimize your review profiles

Your reviews aren’t the only thing people will look at when they find you on a review platform, like Yelp or Google My Business. They also pay close attention to your profile.

At the very least, you should make sure that your profiles have accurate, up-to-date information, and that your information is consistent across profiles. But, anything you can do to optimize your profile will help it to be more visible and stand out.

Here are a few things you can do to optimize your review profiles:

  • Claim your listings - In order to customize your listing on review sites, you first need to claim it. This will give you the ability to optimize your listing and make it stand out.
  • Add a detailed business description - Write a detailed description of your business so that prospective customers know who you are and what you offer.
  • Include links and images - Personalize your page by adding images that are relevant to your business, like your logo, storefront, team, etc., and make sure to include a link to your website.

#7. Listen to feedback

Feedback, especially when it’s negative, isn't always easy to hear (or read), but if you care about your reputation and you want to make your customers happy, it’s important that you learn to listen to it and take it seriously.

It’s easy to be shortsighted about your service or products, especially when you only have the ability to see it from your own point of view. That’s where customer feedback can give in invaluable insight.

Your customers are the ones using your products and working with your team on a regular basis. Therefore, they have the most knowledge about what’s working and what’s not. Listen to that knowledge, and use it to get better.

Having an attractive, professional website and a visible online presence is a great start, but every business needs a strong online reputation to seal the deal and drive leads. Start building and managing your reputation with Marketing 360’s reputation management software. See our plans and pricing.