As the economic climate deteriorates, shoppers are becoming more finicky in where and on what they spend their money. In these times, reputation becomes an important consideration. It is no longer good enough to have a neutral reputation, your reputation management program needs to focus on building the positives around your business and your products.
In the past, you could get by with a little PPC advertising along with a little marketing in through the various social marketing channels. If someone searched for your business or product, they may not have found much information, however, so long as they found nothing negative, everything was fine.
Today, shoppers are looking for recommendations. They are looking for that positive reputation. If they find nothing, they will look elsewhere. This is a major shift away from that previous train of thought.
It should also be understood that humans are creatures of habit. Once they get into the habit of looking for product recommendations, even when times improve, they will continue that habit.
The lesson for small businesses online, forget about protecting your reputation from a crisis, start building your reputation. If I do a search on your business name, rather than a vacuum, I should be finding positive reports, recommendations and product endorsements. Give me a reason to buy from you and not your competitor.
How do you improve your reputation and gain recommendations. There are several avenues you could investigate. Satisfied customers could be encouraged to leave positive reviews; a strong social marketing program can help; and encouraging bloggers to write reviews can also help – offer them samples in each exchange of a review.
There are many other channels that can be used including off site marketing for local businesses. Your main aim now is to not only increase the awareness of your business or products, it is to increase the reputation of your business and products.