Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home.
The days are longer and the sun is shining; spring is here at last. This is the perfect time of the year to throw open the windows and spruce up your home after a long winter spent indoors. But, your home might not be the only thing that needs sprucing. You may find that your business’ online reputation could use a little spring cleaning as well.
A business’ online reputation is everything these days. When most people are looking online for local businesses to work with, your online reputation is often the first impression they’ll have of your business. If it’s less than flattering, it’s going to hurt your ability to keep existing customers as well as to attract new ones to your business.
There’s no time like the present to get your online reputation cleaned up. It won’t happen overnight, but with a little consistency and know-how, you build the kind of online reputation you want.
How to Clean Up Your Online Reputation
#1. Know where you stand.
Your business’ online reputation is a many-faceted thing, and although there are basic steps that can help in any situation, you’ll need to fully understand where you’re at before you can design a plan to get where you want to be.
One of the best ways to learn about your online reputation as a whole is to claim your business listing on Top Rated Local®. Top Rated Local isn’t a typical local business directory, nor is it a typical review site. One of the ways it’s unique is that Top Rated Local will give you an idea of how your business is ranking on verified review sites across the web, not just on Top Rated Local.
When you claim your Top Rated Local listing, you’ll also be able to take advantage of several tools that will help you monitor and maintain your online reputation. These include real-time notifications when you get reviews as well as monthly reports on your online reputation as a whole. Claim your Top Rated Local listing today!
#2. Claim your listings.
Every local business needs to be listed on as many applicable review sites and business directories as possible. Wherever people are looking for your products or services, you want to be there. You’ll need to make it a point to get your business listed, as well as to claim any existing business listings that are out there.
The one downside to having your business listed across the web is that, if your phone number changes or you move to a new location, you’ll have to go back through and update all of those listings and review sites. If you don’t, it could absolutely damage your business’ online reputation. After all, if someone visits your old empty office building or tries to call you and only gets a dial tone, it doesn’t exactly send the best message. Not only is ensuring that your listings are up to date and accurate important for setting the right impression online with potential customers, but it’s also helpful for organic rankings.
Does the idea of visiting dozens of review sites and directories seem like a big, time-consuming job? That’s because it is. But, you’ll be glad to know that there’s an easier way. The Local Listing Ads® program makes it possible to get your business listed on more than 50 popular review sites and directories in mere minutes.
#3. Get more reviews.
Did you know?
- Ninety percent of consumers will take the time to read a business’ reviews before deciding to work with them.
- Almost half of all consumers will not work with a business that has less than a four-star average.
- Three out of four consumers say they trust a business more that has positive reviews. A whopping 93 percent of consumers say that reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions.
- Consumers only need to read seven positive reviews before they’ll start trusting a local business.
Reviews matter. In fact, the kind of review you have can make or break your business’ success online. But, unfortunately, many people won’t write them on their own, unless, of course, they weren’t happy with your business. People are much more likely to spread the word about negative experiences than positive ones, which is why it’s easy to develop a negative online reputation if you’re not taking an active role in managing it.
Luckily, most people will be willing to write a review for your business if you simply ask them to. As long as your service is up to your customers’ expectations, consistently asking for reviews will help to dramatically increase the amount of reviews you have, as well as your average star rating across review sites.
Check out this reputation management case study to learn about the power of consistency when it comes to requesting reviews.
#4. Respond to your reviews.
If you’ve started making it a point to ask for reviews from all of your customers, let the ones who follow through know how thankful you are by responding to them. You don’t need to include a long, drawn-out response; just a quick thanks for your service and your review will suffice. But, be sure to make it personal by using their name and (as long as you’re not violating HIPPA or anything) make a reference to the service you provided for them.
Even more important than responding to good reviews is responding to the negative ones, and that’s true whether what’s said in the review is accurate or not. Any time you get a negative review, it’s important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself if you could have done something differently to better service the customer. Sometimes, though, customers only know what they can directly experience and don’t have the full story of the situation, which could lead to painting an unfair picture of your business online.
When you respond to a negative review online, it gives you a chance to share the other side of the story, as well as to apologize, show the world that you own your mistakes, and demonstrate your commitment to customer service. Not only do you have a chance to win back the customer who left the negative feedback online, but it also gives prospective customers a great reason to work with you.