In a society that relies so heavily on digital content, companies without a strong virtual presence face a growing lack of visibility.
There are many business owners and professionals out there who have been slow to join the online sphere in a meaningful way. They avoid setting up an online presence at all so they don’t have to deal with negative reviews or keep up with the demands of virtual trends. Even those running online businesses often don’t understand how to establish or manage their digital front, making the company look questionable due to a weak online presence.
The problem is, having a weak online reputation (or no reputation at all) leaves you with nothing to protect.
Purchase habits have changed.
Customers are doing basic searches to check credibility before they may online or in-person purchases. They no longer rely on your website or storefront alone. A weak or nonexistent virtual presence may discourage leads from trusting your brand.
Why is an Online Reputation Important for Sales?
It’s becoming increasingly unusual for someone to walk into your store or office and make a purchase or book a service without ever looking into your company online. Whether you sell strictly online or have a physical location, there is more to your digital presence than your primary location.
Look up some of your local competitors to see what a quick Google search reveals about them. Do they look real and active? Are their solutions clearly outlined? Do the reviews and ratings near the top make them look trustworthy?
Your business reputation is going to form online in some capacity, whether you manage it or not. It could become:
- Largely lacking, making your company look like a scam or unable to compete.
- Unmanaged with unanswered complaints and few positive reviews.
Or, your online presence could be:
- A powerful tool that you’ve built to attract customers and top talent.
The best way to look capable as a company, is to build a reputation yourself.
How to Build a Positive Online Reputation
So, how do you start building an online presence? It’s important to start small and stay focused to create a robust brand reputation over time.
Your website doesn’t have to be complex to be valuable and help build your online reputation. Simple pages should include:
Home page with messaging that is clear and explains who you are, where you are based and what you offer. Keep your Home page text extremely short, relying mostly on headlines, bullet points and buttons.
About Us page should dive into your brand story and mission. This page can be much wordier and spell out important things you want the customer to know about your brand.
Products/Services page should cover what you offer, break down options and include pricing. You don’t have to build an eCommerce store, but be clear about the cost and process because many customers start their research online. If your pricing varies and requires a quote, explain what impacts pricing and use a call to action (CTA) for the customer to contact your team and get the quote.
Locations pages are more optional, but you should have a page for every location you serve if your business is at all location-based. This will help you with local search since the results are likely to pop up if someone types the service or product you offer and the city you serve. If you serve five surrounding cities, you can create five location services pages similar to your home page but only focusing on one of the five locations per page.
Blog posts are extremely helpful to brands increasing your reach in a very cheap way. A blog is where you can cover topics your audience will care about, attracting qualified leads and retaining customers. This allows you to create more indexed pages for your site on specific topics, questions, and announcements without hiring a web developer to add more pages.
Google My Business
An easy and very important part of your reputation management is claiming your Google listing for your business. Google My Business will add you to the local map if you have a physical location, allow you to post pictures of your business, enable you to respond to reviews, and allow you to add important details—like your company phone number, website, social pages, address and hours of operation. This allows your customers to quickly see information about your brand if they want to schedule something with you or visit your location.
Publishing press releases on 3rd party site, like PRWeb or PR Newswire, can help show a history of activity for your company. Press releases should be timely announcements on news from your company. The news could be statements your company owner wants to make about industry topics, trends you want to weigh in on or local events your company is participating in.
Reviews and Ratings
Some company owners want to avoid dealing with negative reviews, so they avoid establishing an online presence. However, negative reviews can be posted whether you are there to respond appropriately or not. Studies have shown that companies who handle negative reviews professionally actually build trust with other browsing bystanders—especially if the reviews are perceived as unfair.
You can also ask top customers to share their experiences and provide a positive outlook on your brand, building a positive picture of your company.
It’s a good idea to create a social media profile for your company, but you shouldn’t create more profiles than you can keep up with. Start with the social platform where you believe your audience is most likely to spend their time.
Focus on posting at least once a week—including deals, new products, company announcements or advice you want to share with your audience. You can use social media posts to point back to your website and increase traffic.
Outsource Your Online Reputation
You may not have time to build and maintain a robust online presence.
Outsource your reputation management to save time and boost sales. Our professional team is experienced at helping companies build their online reputation, increasing visibility, credibility, and popularity.
We can help—whether you have a digital presence that is lacking and needs a facelift or has never built a presence online at all. Build something online that will support your brick-and-mortar presence. You have to HAVE an online reputation built in order to manage and protect it.
Talk to our team about online strategies and reputation management today!