Reputation Management: How Can You Protect Your Online Reputation?

By Brett Lewis

Not sure what Reputation Management is all about?

Watch this Google Hangout and you’ll understand why it is so important for your business, regardless if you sell things online or off!

Want to know your current reputation?

Go to www.GetMyReputationReport.com for a FREE report.

All you need to supply is your business phone number and the software will do the rest.

Video transcript:

Hello everybody. This is Brett Lewis from L4 Group and thank you for taking the time to watch this Google Hangout or participate in this Google Hangout on why reputation marketing or some of you may know it as reputation management.

So let’s jump right into it. So I’ll start off by asking a question. Would you buy a product or would you buy a service that had bad ratings or bad reviews? No. Of course not. Neither would I.

Here’s a different angle on the same question.

If you had two products that were absolutely identical or two services that were identical but one had 10 great reviews. The other had three great reviews but had one bad review. Which one are you going to buy?

For me, I’m going to go to the company that has the 10 great reviews. I’m going to read all those reviews. I’m going to go to the one that has more good reviews than bad reviews, absolutely. I’m sure you would too.

So that gets us into reputation marketing which I believe it is THE most important way that you can market your business today.

Now let’s take a look at some search volume. Now I just picked a niche out of the hat. I just happen to pick chiropractors. Actually, I do not currently work with any chiropractors so I was interested in seeing what kind of search volume there was. I pulled up some search volumes for different areas throughout the United States and you can see people searching for a chiropractor in Newark, New Jersey. There are 88 people a month searching for that exact phrase.

In Edison, chiropractors Edison, New Jersey, 96 people a month searching for that one. As we get into some bigger cities like Philadelphia, there’s 415 people and chiropractor Denver, Colorado 440 people.

Now the point here is, people are not just typing in “chiropractor” with the city name after. They’re typing in “lower back pain,” “neck pain,” “back adjustments,” whatever the other related phrases are. So when you add up all of these [search terms], it doesn’t matter if you’re in a little city or a big city. The search volume starts to add up to a lot of monthly searches and you can easily see that in Denver or in Philadelphia, the search volume is going to be thousands of people searching and even in smaller cities like Edison, New Jersey. You’re still going to have a cumulative effect of probably over 1000 people a month searching for those phrases.

So the point here is that there are people searching online for your product or your service and you can go to the Google Keyword Planner or any other keyword tool out there, and take a look for yourself. You will find that there are people searching for you online – every single month!

So the online marketing game has changed and the cool thing about this is your competition doesn’t know about it, at least not yet. Next up, I’m going to talk about four game changers:

Game Changer #1

If you type in your company name and the city, it’s going to reveal that company’s reputation. Now remember two slides ago I showed you people are searching for services that you offer. So if I were to search for a dentist, I’m going to Google that dentist as well and take a look at their reputation and people are doing this.

This is an example, now I have no affiliation with this person, I just happen to pull his listing out of the hat. I did a search for dentist in Charleston and then I saw a couple of dentists. I grabbed one of them and I put his name exactly how it showed up in the search. I put his name into the Google search bar with Charleston at the end of it and boom, this is what I got back and the point here is that your company’s reputation is bare-naked & exposed for everyone and anyone to see.

That’s what I mean here where you see underlined is he has a reputation score 15 out of 30 with 10 reviews. I mean that’s a terrible reputation. But if somebody is searching for a dentist in Charleston and they happen to pull this guy up and then they want to find out how to get to his office, the reputation is there. You cannot hide from it.

Game Changer #2

Customer reviews are a major factor in almost every type of online marketing that there is now. So whether you do pay per click, Google Maps or Local whatever they want to call it these days, just normal website rankings, organic rankings, even local directories, reputation is showing up everywhere as you can see with these arrows.

Game Changer #3

SEO, social media, pay per click, local marketing, none of it works anymore if you have bad reviews online. I take that even a further step and say it doesn’t work if you have no reviews, if you’re in a niche where your competitors have reviews.

It [your online reputation] is really important. So what I tell people now is – everybody comes to me and says, “Oh, I want to get SEO going. I want to get my search engine optimization running.” I say, “Hey, you should really start focusing on your reputation first and then we can layer SEO on top of your stellar 5 star reputation.”

But reputation is really important especially if you’re a local market and you are in that local field where – let’s say you have a brick and mortar or even a service-based business. You want to get into the seven-box, the Google Maps area on the first page. Reputation plays a big part of that.

Game Changer #4

Game changer number four, reviews send you pre-qualified, pre-sold customers because the bottom line is buyers trust reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations. Here is a quote from BrightLocal and they say:

72 percent of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Now BrightLocal is an online marketing company so I wanted to dig a little bit further than just relying on that. So I looked at Nielsen. Now Nielsen (everybody trusts Nielsen) is a huge firm. They do a lot of these surveys and they asked, “To what extent do you trust the following forms of advertising?” and the number one trusted form of advertising, no surprise, is recommendations from people that I know. Ninety-two percent of the people trust that.

What’s surprising is the number two is consumer opinions posted online.

That’s 70 percent. Seven out of ten people trust the opinions posted online. Now, that out ranks things like editorials in newspapers, your branded websites, ads on TV, display ads, etc.

But what did surprise me was that online reviews out ranked editorials in trust. I mean if you had an editorial written in the New York Times about your company, it’s not as trusted as an anonymous review that’s posted online. So think about that. Sally down the street might post a review about your company and then Bob on the other side of town doesn’t know Sally at all and yet he’s reading that [review] and making a buying decision based on what he reads. Reputation marketing is vital for your business. This is why.

Here’s another factoid that I found. A group of economists at the University of California, Berkeley, featured in an Economic Journal did this study on what impact an increase in a star ratings would have – how would an increase in ratings impact the bottom line for a business. They found that a one-half star increase in someone’s online ratings boosted business by 19 percent.

What would a 19 percent boost do for your business?

Now why is reputation vital to business? Well, I mean if you haven’t guessed it yet, I mean I’ve been pounding this but consumers are looking up on average about 10 reviews before making a purchasing decision.

Really and this quote is coming from Economist.com, BrightLocal and SearchEngineLand.com all contributed to this data. But the thing that caught my eye was 70 percent of consumers trust the business with a minimum of six to ten reviews. So the bottom line is if you don’t have 10 five-star reviews, your business isn’t as trusted as other businesses that are out there, bottom line.

So what is reputation marketing? Well, I define it as building a five-star reputation and market that reputation to get more customers. Now here’s the rub. Here’s the difference between reputation management versus reputation marketing. Reputation management is purely management. I mean do you make any kind of money managing? No. You make money when you market.

I can apply that to reputation as well. When you do reputation management, you’re just managing. You’re in a reactive mode. Someone posts a review and you’re reacting to it. Reputation marketing is a very proactive approach and you’re going to see why in a little bit. So how do you create a reputation marketing strategy? So let’s get into this. Let’s get into it.

Reputation Marketing Strategy:

Now the very first thing you have to do is do you know where you are right now. You can go out and Google your company. It’s not going to bring back everything and you’re not going to have a real good picture [of your current reputation]. I have a really easy way for you to do this. You can just go to www.GetMyReputationReport.com. It’s completely free. All you have to do is put in your business phone number and it will run for a few minutes and then spit back a report.

It’s going to tell you if you have terrible reputation or if you’ve got a great reputation. It’s going to highlight some things that you really need to work on, to improve your online presence as a little added bonus. But basically it’s completely free and it’s a great way to get a starting point to figure out where the heck you are.

Now there are four types of reputations that are out there, at least the way I classify it.

  1. Bad reputation
  2. No reputation
  3. A good reputation
  4. Five-star, stellar reputation

Now if you have no reputation, that’s almost as bad as having a bad reputation. Again, especially if you’re in a niche where a lot of your competitors have great reputations. So let’s pick a niche. Let’s say plumbers.

If you’re a plumber in New York City, a very competitive market, I’m sure that if you type in “plumber New York City” in the Google seven-box on the first page of the Google search results, you’re going to find plumbing companies that are going to have reputation and if you have no reputation, you’re being bypassed because again consumers are looking for companies that have a reputation.

So how do we go about building your reputation and marketing your reputation? We have a four-step process that we go through.

Step One

The first step is building your reputation and that’s in obtaining reviews. You have customers that come and do business with you. You want to get reviews from them or get feedback from them.

Step Two

The second part is you want to market that reputation. So once you get the feedback, now you want to market it. That really turns into more of a sales component and really the proactive nature of what we do.

Step Three

Then you also want to manage your reputation. A lot of these companies out here that are selling reputation services, that’s all they do. This is one little segment here which is manage reputation, which is monitoring and engaging. So if you got a bad review, reaching out to the person and talking to them and trying to get them to turn that review around a little bit or at least responding publicly and say, “Hey, we screwed up and we took care of it,” that kind of thing. That’s the management side of reputation.

Step Four

Then we do a fourth thing where we constantly work on creating a culture of reputation marketing within your business, so with your employees and your staff. We want to make sure that everybody is on the same page as you, the business owner.

Developing Your Reputation

So let’s get into each one of these. So how do you develop your five-star reputation? Well, you can do a whole variety of things and you can get very creative with this. So we utilize things like postcards or business cards, a private review page, a posting strategy, email templates and so on. So here’s an example of some postcards that get mailed out, business cards, email marketing where the hard – snail mail marketing. Whenever you’re touching the customer, basically asking them to give you feedback.

One of my favorites is a private review page. This is a screenshot of one where basically we ask for reviews and we send the customer to an online page for them to fill out the review. But when they’re on that page, we also stream other people’s reviews so that they can see [other people’s five-star reviews]. That gets your customer thinking, “Oh yeah, this company did do an excellent job with that component. I think I’m going to mention something similar.” That’s how the streaming of other reviews works – it triggers positive thoughts.

The other thing that we really love about this is when somebody is on the fence, shall I give the company a four-star or a five-star and they see a whole bunch of five-star ratings, that might push him over to say, “You know what? Yeah. I’m going to give them five stars. They did a great job.”

The other really cool thing with the private review page is if somebody gives you a one-star or two-star, well, we’re intercepting that. We can reach out to the customer and say, “Hey, OK, maybe we did do a bad job” and this gives you opportunity to reconcile that and do something to make them feel better. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding. But it gives you the opportunity as a business owner to interject before that bad review goes out into the public eye.

Now as far as doing these private review pages and catching this stuff, one thing I do want to stress is businesses really can’t post the reviews. They can’t go out and create a whole bunch of fake reviews. That’s unethical. We don’t do that for anybody. We certainly do not condone that type of behavior and the review sites are cracking down on this because there are some unscrupulous businesses out there that do act in that manner that. Bottom line: don’t game the system! So I just wanted to put that out there because we get that question a lot.

Marketing Your Reputation

Now, marketing. How do we market your reputation? Well, we do things like video marketing, website, social media, email, maps, all sorts of marketing. One of the things I wanted to highlight here is video marketing is tremendously powerful. Video in general, like YouTube, is exploding on the internet. Youtube is behind Google, it is the number two search engine. People think Yahoo and Bing [are the 2nd and third biggest search engine] but really YouTube is a huge search engine and having reviews in a video format is really, really appealing on many different aspects.

When people do searches for your service and your city, they can find a review right there without even going to your website and then the review can drive them to your website. Place a video on the website, et cetera.

I mean when it comes to marketing your reputation, there are so many things that we can do and again creativity is the only limitation.

Managing Your Reputation

Now managing. The things that you want to do is you want to monitor your reputation daily. Creating Google Alerts just isn’t enough. You can create a Google Alert on your name and your business. It’s just not going to be enough. It’s not going to capture everything. You also want to have a reporting feature that is robust enough to give you reports every other week on a very frequent basis and of course if any negative reviews pop up, you want to get instant notice on that and any positive ones in my opinion because if you get a negative review, you want to be able to go out to the customer and address it immediately. But with the positive ones, the same rules apply in my opinion.

You want to be able to go out and say, “Hey, I’m glad that you had such a great experience with us. Hey, here’s a five percent discount coupon for your next visit. Just thank you for being a loyal member,” however you want to spin that. But everybody focuses on the negative. I like to focus on the positive as well.

Location-based reporting, if you have multiple offices, you need to monitor reviews in all those offices. It’s not good enough to say, “Hey, our core office is in this city and then we have satellite offices out. I’m going to ignore the satellite offices.” No, it doesn’t work. You need to be able to monitor across all of the cities.

Of course you want to continue to grow and build your reviews over time. You never want to stop that. I talk about not being able to post reviews on your own and you want to manage by marketing the five-star reviews. When you get those five-star reviews coming in, you really want to expose those and syndicate them out across multiple networks and we do that.

Building A Reputation Marketing Culture

So the other thing is creating a reputation marketing culture. That’s the fourth little step in our circle and what I ask is you expect your staff to give a first class service, right? I mean as a business owner, you really want that. So if that’s the case, what’s your plan to inspire your staff to give your customers that first class service and be able to get those reviews? Do you have a game plan?

This is really important. This is a piece that most people just skip over but I got to tell you, you cannot skip this because the way you run your business is not the way that your employees are thinking.

So our plan is we actually have a personalized reputation training center where we put all the employees in front of a computer to go through video training and we give them tests at the end so that we know that after they’ve done this training, that they understand how important reputation is to the business, at the same level that the business owner understands it.

So your overall reputation marketing strategy is – well, let me go through this. So basically, you want to train your staff. You want to be able to develop your overall strategy to get reviews from your customers at every possible chance that you can. You always want to be looking at your reputation on a daily basis. We monitor – if you were to engage our services, we would monitor the top review sites every day. We send detailed reports. Every two weeks, you get a report.

We give you how to respond to bad reviews and a scenario that changes based on the circumstance, but we are able to help you throughout the whole process. Obviously we would market your reputation. We post it out to your website, your blog and any other online site that you have. So if you have three online presences, we can put that reputation in front of your customers in all three locations.

We post these things out to Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media platforms and create review images to put out on Flickr and other photo style sharing sites. So – and then we also have the whole reputation media center where – remember I talked about being able to market your reputation and using postcards and business cards and things like that? Well, we have something set up that is – if you were to engage our services, basically we set this up and customize it to you so that you can just go in and order marketing collateral immediately with the click of a button. It makes it so easy.

Go It Alone or Hire An Expert?

So you could have all the tools at your disposal. So one thing I would ask you is you can obviously do this yourself. This is not rocket science. It’s just a matter of resources. How much would it cost you in time if you were to do it yourself or how much if you hired someone dedicated to do this? How much would you have to pay them to handle your reputation? If you’re not doing reputation at this level, you should be because again your business is just going to benefit over the long run month over month as you continue to build your reputation over time.

So if I haven’t convinced you yet, I hope I did. But reputation marketing is the most important type of marketing right now. It should be the foundation of all marketing going forward. I believe every company needs a strategy.

So what I’m offering is a free consultation service with me to talk about your reputation marketing.

Call Today 610-471-0001

We will take a look at your current reputation, where you stand, where your competition is and we will have a consultative phone call to discuss what you should be doing to get a better reputation and gain more market share. It’s a 15-minute to 30-minute consultative call. It’s valued at $500 and we’re offering it absolutely free to people who have watched this video and read the blog post that this Hangout is posted on. All you have to do is mention the coupon code “L4 Reputation”.

Call 610-471-0001 and mention the coupon code “L4 Reputation” to get a free consultative call again worth $500.