Is Your Online Reputation Costing You Customers?

If you own a small business, you probably already understand the importance of developing and nurturing a reliable customer base. It’s essential to develop a good rapport with your customers starting with developing a solid reputation online. Online consumers’ perceptions can have a significant effect on your business and its ability to grow.

With the ever-growing digital landscape, developing and maintaining a positive reputation with consumers online may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s one that can appreciably impact your business. According to Zippia, approximately 81% of consumers will search for a business online prior to deciding whether to choosing a product or business. Because of this, a negative first impression could easily cause consumers to take their business elsewhere.

While trying to control how your business is perceived is nothing new, it has certainly become more challenging with the development of social media platforms and the growth of search engines. Let’s take a look at how your online reputation may be costing your business customers and how smart digital marketing strategies can help you improve the perception people have of your business.


The Impact of Reviews – Good and Bad

When thinking about your business’s online reputation, the first thing you need to look at are your online reviews. Customer reviews are one of the first factors people will look at when they search for your business online. It’s important to be aware of what reviewers love about your business and what issues you may need to address.

While it’s easy to see how positive reviews can be helpful to your business, in fact, negative reviews can be turned into a powerful tool as well. When your business receives a negative review (and you will – everyone does), a quick, personal response doing your best to address the person’s complaint or concern will almost always have a positive impact on consumers reading the review/response.

According to the World Economic Forum, in 2021, online reviews influenced approximately $3.8 trillion of online transactions globally. Managing your online reputation is a crucial step to keep your business growing.


The Importance of Search Engines and Search Results

An important first step in controlling your online reputation is understanding the impact search engines can have on your business. When consumers are trying to learn more about your business, they’ll probably begin by searching for you or the service you provide with their favorite search engine.

Forbes recently reported that search engines are the starting point for online experiences for about 68% of people. Because of this, search engines have a tremendous impact on the perception of your potential customers.

Search engines not only help people to find your site, they also provide them with an immediate snapshot of what people think about your business. If consumers see positive online reviews and information regarding your business, they’re more likely to work with you.

According to a recent study, nearly 77% of consumers will visit a business within one day of conducting their online search. On the other hand, when your business’s reputation leaves more to be desired, consumers may join the approximately 23% of people who don’t visit the business they’ve searched for because of something they saw online.

One way you can attract customers is to improve how your business ranks in online search results. When you appear before your competitors in the search results, you'll increase the likelihood that customers will click on your site. According to Fit Small Business, only 40% of websites will rank on the very first page of search engine results. If people search for your business or a relevant search term and are unable to find your website, it can have an astounding effect on your ability to draw in new customers.

If you’re hoping to improve how your business ranks, it’s important to understand the impact SEO strategies have on your website. SEO strategies can help businesses improve their keyword rankings, traffic, and overall web visibility. It’s important to work with SEO professionals, like those at Hibu, to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy that will help you to stand apart from your competition.


The Influence of Social Media

In recent years, an abundance of social media platforms have sprung up online. Social media provides businesses with the opportunity to connect and interact with customers, and to learn how their business, products, and services are perceived. According to LinkedIn, around 74% of consumers utilize social media to help them make their purchasing decisions. If you’re not  part of the social media conversation, you’ll undoubtedly miss out on sales and other growth opportunities.

While it’s recommended to create accounts on different social media sites, it’s crucial to remain active on the social platforms you use, and to use your social to interact with customers.

Customers who interact and actively engage with the content of a company’s social media account spend up to 40% more on its products or services in the long run. Allowing them to become a part of the conversation can help your business evolve and gain a more reliable following.

Even though there is a wide variety of social media sites that businesses can use to engage with consumers, Facebook remains one of the most important. Currently, there are over 3 billion people, approximately 40% of the world’s population, active on Facebook every month. Failing to have an active Facebook business profile means you’re leaving the door open for customers to connect with your competitors.

Effectively using and maintaining social media accounts can have a significant impact on your business. And, if you don’t have social media pages, people are less likely to know about your business and more likely to go to your competitors who utilize the platforms.


Don’t miss out on business opportunities

By partnering with Hibu, you’ll be able to work with a team that can help you develop a rapport with your customers and implement strategies to extend the reach your business has in the marketplace.

By implementing the right strategies and understanding the impact of reviews, search engines, and social media, your business can take the necessary steps to ensure positive consumer perceptions of your company. To learn more about how we can help you improve your online reputation and develop a more reliable consumer base, contact us today at (877) 237-6120 or request your no-obligation consultation.