Your online reputation can make or break your business. On the one hand, a great online reputation with overwhelmingly positive reviews can help you get new customers and set yourself apart from the competition.
But, on the flip side? A negative online reputation can keep prospective customers from even reaching out to your business for more information. And, it doesn’t matter whether that reputation is warranted or not.
Nobody wants that.
Let’s face it: Your online reputation is important if you want to win new customers and build trust with existing customers.
In this post, we’re going to explore:
- What your business’s online reputation is.
- The importance of a business’s reputation, in general.
- Eight reasons a good reputation is crucial to the success of your business.
What Is Your Business’s Online Reputation?
Before we get into why your business reputation is so important, let’s talk about what it actually is!
Your online reputation includes any other factor that can play into how a customer or potential customer perceives your business online.
- Online review sites.
- Local listings sites.
- Your website.
- Your social media sites.
So, when it comes to building a good online reputation, it’s important to keep all these factors in mind – even if you’re focusing mainly on your online reviews.
The Importance of Your Business’s Online Reputation
Reviews and online reputation play a critical role in how customers search for new businesses. In fact, online reviews impact purchasing decisions for 93% of people.
You might be thinking: Yeah, but what if I don’t have any reviews – isn’t that better than having a negative online reputation?
First of all, no reputation is just as bad as having a negative business reputation – you want people to find information about your business, don’t you?
Plus, just because you don’t have any reviews doesn’t mean you don’t have a business reputation – consumers can still develop a perception of your business based on the aforementioned factors like your website, your social sites, and more.
Now let’s go into detail about why a good business reputation matters.
The Value of a Good Business Reputation
You know that your business needs a reputation, and you know that you want a good reputation, but do you know why you want a good reputation? Of course, every business owner wants people to like their business, but feeling good shouldn’t be your only reason for pursuing a positive image.
Here are eight reasons why having a good reputation is important to your small business.
1. A Good Online Reputation Gives You a Competitive Advantage
Having an online presence and good products and services are great for getting customers. But, what about getting customers to choose you over your competitors?
Remember, we said that 93% of customers are influenced by online reviews. So, a good business reputation is important because it can help distinguish you from competitors and can even be the deciding factor in whether someone chooses you over them.
Think about it: If a person is researching a new landscaping company and they can choose between a 4.5 star-reviewed company or a 2.5 star-reviewed company, which do you think they’ll choose? As long as pricing isn’t too far off, they’re probably going to go with the 4.5-star business.
2. A Good Business Reputation Can Make You More Money
It literally pays to have a good business reputation. People will pay 22% more for certain products if the company has a good reputation.
Customers are willing to pay a little more if it means working with a company that’s perceived as trustworthy and delivers quality goods and services.
This is something I’ve personally done when I was looking for a new hair salon. I made an appointment with a salon that had okay reviews but great prices until I found a salon with amazing reviews – we’re talking life-changing haircuts — so I canceled my appointment with the other salon and went to this one instead. I was willing to pay a little more to experience that level of service and satisfaction.
3. A Good Online Reputation Facilitates Engagement
Your business reputation helps people determine how to engage with your business, but a good business reputation determines whether people engage with it in the first place. If you have a bad reputation — even if that bad reputation is skewed or misconstrued – you’re at an automatic disadvantage. It’s going to take more effort to get people to trust you, let alone even warm up to you.
4. A Good Business Reputation Gives You a Little More Control Over Your Brand
While your products, services, and marketing messages are in your complete control, your business reputation isn’t. Yes, you can do things that build your online reputation and influence how people feel about your business, but ultimately you have no control over what people say – or read – about your business online.
If you have a positive online reputation, chances are that customers are amplifying what you also love about your business. So, even though you can’t control what they’re saying or how they’re saying it, you can feel confident that people online are seeing positive messages about your business – giving you a little sense of control you might not have with a negative online reputation.
5. A Good Online Reputation Plays into Word of Mouth Marketing
With all of the social media applications, online customer review sites, and content platforms available today, people have more encouragement, ability, and convenience than ever before to voice their opinion about a business.
And, people trust the opinions of other people, even if they’re total strangers. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends!
Having a good business reputation and managing your reputation is important because it’s not just you that spreads the word about your business, it’s everyone. Plus, with a good business reputation, customers will feel more confident in referring you to others.
6. A Good Reputation Mitigates the Impact of Bad Reviews
The unfortunate truth is that people are 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one. And, even worse – it takes about 40 positive experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review.
Online reviews are powerful, and negative reviews can cause serious damage, but a good business reputation can help mitigate that damage. When your business does encounter difficult customers or unlucky experiences, the negative reviews that result will have less clout. Far fewer people will adopt or be influenced by that unhappy customer’s opinion if they already have a good opinion of you to start with.
7. A Good Business Reputation Enables Growth
Your business reputation impacts all of your relationships — not just those with your customers, niche markets, or target audience. Your reputation also applies to the people who work for you, invest in you, welcome you into their community, partner with, and provide services for you. A good business reputation is important because it establishes trust and will facilitate growth in your most valuable relationships and will have a ripple effect throughout your entire network.
8. A Good Online Reputation Is Easier to Build On
As mentioned in the previous point, a good reputation leads to better relationships in your network. The more people you know, and the more people who like you, the more opportunities you’ll have to spread the word about your business, which in turn increases the number of people who know and like you. If you don’t have a positive reputation in the eyes of your community, it’s going to be harder to plan events and carry out the very campaigns that you need in order to build your reputation.
The Benefits of a Good Business Reputation
If you want to get more customers, you need more customers to want your business. Having a good reputation is crucial to getting people to pursue, trust, and engage with your business. While people have the last say in what they do and think, your business reputation is a major factor in their decision making.
A good online reputation benefits a business because it:
- Distinguishes your business from competitors.
- Helps you win new customers.
- Mitigates the impact of negative reviews.
- Builds resiliency with respect to non-supporters.
- Creates opportunities for growth.
Reputation isn’t just about making your business look good. It’s about ensuring that your business survives in the larger business ecosystem and continues to grow. So, take your reputation seriously, and make having a good online reputation a top marketing priority.