If you don’t have a good online business reputation, you can easily lose customers to your competitors. This is why big businesses hire consultants to help improve their reputation online.

Most shoppers gauge the reputation of a company before committing to a purchase. They look at various sources such as social media and review sites to see how people are talking about you. 

Small businesses and startups can also improve their online reputation without breaking the bank. In this article, we’ll cover 5 tips to give your business’ online reputation a healthy boost.

Boosting Your Online Business Reputation

1.  Solicit Reviews from Happy Customers

If you have clients who are happy with your product or service, encourage them to leave a comment or review online to improve your business’ reputation. Start with clients who have already expressed their satisfaction with your company, especially the ones that left their previous providers and switched to you. You have satisfied a particular pain point for these customers, so they are more likely than others to post a gleaming review about you online. You can never have too many positive reviews online, so try to get as many as you can.

You can ask existing customers to leave a review when they complete a purchase, use email marketing to ask for reviews, or offer a discount or reward for customers that leave a review. For example, you could give a 10 % off coupon for a customer that leaves a Yelp review.

2.  Quickly Address Negative Reviews

While you can cajole happy customers to say nice things about you, there will always be cases when you don’t meet someone’s expectations. The impact of a negative review is magnified if it’s not identified and responded to early, giving it time to grow and take on a life of its own.

The first step here is to stay vigilant and keep track of how people are talking about your business online. You can start by:

  • Conducting a Google search. You want search results to display links to your small business website, social media pages, or other sources that are under your control.
  • If search engine results do not reveal unwanted posts, visit Go Fish Digital where you can search for customer grievances posted on complaint sites such as Rip Off Report and Better Business Bureau.
  • If you still see no complaints, you can keep your eyes on the web by signing up on Google Alerts. Using a Google account, type in your brand name so you can get email notifications every time new content about your brand is posted online.

Following the steps above enables you to monitor negative comments about your business online. Use every negative comment as an opportunity to showcase your exceptional customer service skills with these tips:

  • Acknowledge the complaint by thanking the customer for sharing the issue.
  • Express empathy by saying that you understand the concern.
  • Offer quick solutions if possible (e.g. a price adjustment or an exception to your return policy)
  • If you can’t offer a quick solution, let the customer know that you’ll look into the issue and be in contact within X number of days with an update.
  • Offer incentives such as discounts or freebies for the inconvenience.

These tips should help you deal with a negative review before it gets out of hand. More importantly, your willingness and ability to handle unwanted situations show that your business is not just about making a quick buck. At the end of the day, it can only bolster your online business reputation.

3.  Create a Website & Publish Engaging Content

Creating a website and putting out engaging content on your website is one of the best ways to improve your reputation online. By adding fresh and engaging content regularly, you are feeding search engines with fodder that boosts your authority and keeps your customers informed.

Most anyone can create a blog to publish content. There’s always room for you to share your knowledge regardless of your field. In many cases, people who are looking for your service online are asking questions through search engines. Know your customers and write articles that answer their queries.

For example, if you have a clothing store, you can create posts about fashion trends that help identify you as a thought leader in the industry. If you sufficiently address their questions, they might avail your service. Here’s the kicker: if they’re satisfied with your service, you can ask them to leave glowing reviews about your business.    

4. Get Your Business In the News

People are always asking questions, and sometimes blog posts are just not enough. Sometimes, people want to learn from your expertise. If you or your company makes it into the news, you position yourself as an expert and leader in your industry. This makes people more likely to remember your business next time they need to purchase the types of goods or services that you sell.

On free sites like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), reporters post queries to find sources that can help them write their articles. Keep a close eye on questions related to your expertise.

If your response gets published, you get the privilege of being quoted in an article that could give your company’s online reputation a nice boost.

Establish yourself as an expert in your field, and customers will find it easy to trust you. On top of that, frequently appearing on the news has the added benefit of improving your local SEO.

5.  Connect With Other Businesses

Cooperation is key to success. A business with multiple affiliations can tap into the market of its partners, build its customer base, and improve brand recognition and reputation. Cooperate with other businesses relevant to your product or service. To start off, you can suggest taking the following steps:

  • Write guest posts that will be published on your affiliate’s website or shared on your affiliate’s social media pages.
  • Share guest posts on your social media pages to promote yourself and your partner
  • Develop joint contests or promos to increase engagement and get people talking about you.
  • Attending networking events to put a face to your name and get involved in the local community.

For instance, let’s say your clothing shop caters to young millennials. Find a hip bar in your area that serves the same market and discuss the benefits of working together. Chances are, the bar is active on social media but doesn’t have a good blog, which works in your favor. Write something about trendy night out outfits, which also touches on your partner establishment. Once the bar proudly posts the article on social media, you’ll get lots of attention, and people will start checking out your business.

Increasing Your Businesses Online Reputation Pays off

You don’t have to pay a media agency or consultant to improve the online business reputation. You just need to consistently monitor the web for news about your business, highlight positive reviews and comments, and do damage control for negative reviews or comments. The payoff will be increased recognition and sales for your company.