As a part of a special series to help launch Duct Tape Selling we’ve asked the marketing experts at many of the valuable resources mentioned in the new book to teach us a thing or two about selling. BrandYourself is mentioned in chapter 5 – Build a Reputation. Enjoy the below post from Sabrina Clark, Marketing Specialist from BrandYourself.
If you Google your business right now, what shows up? Your company’s website? Positive reviews? A mention in a local newspaper? OR, are the results less than stellar?
For many potential customers, the impression they get from looking you up online will determine whether or not they give you their business. There a few types of Google results you should keep an eye out for that could ruin your online reputation and impact your bottom line.
1. Negative Reviews on a Review Site
With the rise of sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Google Places, facing a negative review is an inevitable reality. In most instances, the review will be a legitimate customer voicing a concern about their experience. Unfortunately, it could also be a fake review crafted by a competitor or an ex-employee. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the review, it can definitely impact your business. A recent survey shows that 86% of consumers found a negative online review that influenced their decision not to buy a service/product.
What to do it about
If you do find yourself on the wrong end of a bad review, here’s what you should do:
Respond in a professional manner: Don’t ignore the review, but don’t respond with heated emotions either. Take time to calm down and craft a professional response to the reviewer’s concerns.
Take the Convo Offline: If the reviewer re-engages and you see a back-and-forth arising, offer to discuss the matter with a phone call or, if possible, in person.
Encourage Customers to Review Their Experiences: To be clear, we are NOT suggesting you pay or incentivize someone to give you a good review. However, encouraging your existing customers to give a review of their experience (knowing it could be good or bad) is a great way to get a real reading of what people think of your business. If you’re doing things right, a bad review will be the exception, not the norm.
Take it as a lesson and fix what you need to: Your gut reaction to a bad review might be that it’s fake, the customer over-reacted or that someone is out to “get you” but you might need to accept that there’s validity to their remarks. If someone comments on poor customer service, take a step back and think about what aspect of your customer service could be improved. A bad review is an opportunity to make your business better.
2. Backlash from a Disgruntled Ex-employee
It happens. As you expand your business, you will have an employee (or two) that isn’t a good fit for the organization. An issue arises if that person takes to the Internet to voice their opinions with a nasty blog post or forum comment.
What to do about it
Ask to have it taken down – Reach out to the site owner and politely ask to have it taken down (if the site is run by the person who wrote the post, they probably will opt to ignore your request).
Take Legal Action: This can be a time consuming and expensive process, but in some cases, it may work.
Fill your results with positive content about your business: This is the BEST option for managing bad press (and any other type of negative search result). The concept is to create positive, relevant content about your business in order to bury anything negative. Try building out your website, starting a blog, engaging on social media, guest posting on other blog sites, etc.
3. Securing Some Bad Press
You don’t need to be an international organization to grab the attention of the media. Getting caught up in the wrong situation or a momentary lapse of judgement can find your business making headlines. By now, you’ve probably heard of the Amy‘s Bakery owner who made national news with an epic Facebook meltdown. Whether or not you believe her claims that the account was actually hacked, the lesson stands: you never know what can result in bad press.
What to do about it
Similar to a bad review, address the situation in a professional manner. Apologize for whatever went wrong, try to fix what you can and work to do things better. Eventually, the bad press will become old news and, hopefully, all of the hard work you put into creating positive content about the business (see above) will overshadow anything negative.
4. Social Media Posts
In the same vein as our Amy’s Bakery example, your social media sites could prove to be more harmful than helpful if you don’t have the right social media marketing strategy in place.
What to do about it
Decide what your goals are with social media and engage on these sites accordingly. Avoid anything too controversial or opinionated (remember, this is for your business, not your personal thoughts). If you do receive negative posts, treat them as reviews and answer in a professional, constructive way.
5. No Search Results
Nothing showing up about your business when people search for you can be just as bad as something negative popping up. Think about it like this: a potential customer is looking for a marketing company to work with. Based on recommendations, he Googles Company A and finds the company’s website, several positive reviews and even a write-up about one of the company’s successful campaigns. When he goes to Google Company B, nothing shows up in the results. You can bet that Company A is probably going to get the business in this one.
What to do about it
Create great content! That means getting active on social media, expanding your company website, starting a company blog – whatever you can do to create a positive web presence.
If you work to maintain a positive online reputation for your business and brand, then you can avoid falling victim to one of the above types of Google results. We also recommend setting up a Google Alert for your business name to make sure you’re not blindsided by a negative search result. If you do find yourself with a bad result, take immediate action to fix the situation.
Sabrina Clark is a marketing specialist at BrandYourself, a company dedicated to helping everyone take control of Google results for their own name and improve their online reputation. BrandYourself offers the first and only free Do-it-Yourself online reputation management tool as well as custom services.