Good online reputation is a critical success factor for your business because your online reputation influences your customers’ minds.
Small business owners often struggle to build a large customer base as they don’t have a big marketing budget to sway customers. Being perceived as unreliable or unfair can make it more difficult for small business owners to grow their customer base.
Need for Good Online Reputation
It takes time to build a brand. At the initial stage, your small business might not be a popular name in your industry.
When prospects or customers don’t know about your business, they try to find information about you.
In fact, 60% of online shoppers perform a search for the company when they are unfamiliar with it. What’s more, over 93% of customers read reviews before buying online, confirms Trustpilot’s research.
It’s not like that only online shoppers perform a search. 42% of in-store customers conduct research online while in a store, says Google research.
Won’t a customer will hesitate to place an order if he/she finds negative reviews on the first page of search results?
90% of customers who don’t buy because of a bad online reputation of a company, as found in the research, don’t stop there. These customers also tell other customers not to buy from the same company.
So having just a few negative reviews can cost your business a good number of customers eventually.
Big companies have a large base of loyal customers. They can afford to lose a few customers. For a small business owner like you, each and every customer counts.
So keeping a clean online reputation to build trust with customers is no more a passive tactic.
What You Can Do to Avoid a Bad Business Reputation
Customers lose interest in brands when they find brands are silent, secretive and project outdated online presence, as stated in the research. Also, deleting negative reviews has been found to be the biggest trust breaker.
Here are factors that decrease the trust of buyers, according to the research:
What can you do to manage your business’ online reputation to build trust with your customers?
Here are some effective ways:
- Claim and optimize your profiles on reputed third-party business listing sites to build credibility
- Proactively monitor your business’s reputation
- Keep tabs on your business’s social media accounts
- Respond constructively to criticism and never delete negative reviews/ comments
- Keep your website secure and publish high-quality content that offers value
You should not wait for any negative review surfacing online to start online reputation management of your business.
As a small business owner, building a good online reputation should be your goal from day one because it is an important way to build trust with your customers.
About the Report
Zachary Pardes, Trustpilot’s advertising and communications director, says, “Small business owners continue to face the reality that larger companies are persistent in trying to take their customers. This report proves one of the most important ways to remain competitive and keep customer confidence high is by maintaining a good reputation. And a good reputation generates loyalty, which is priceless in an environment where consumers have many options.”
A good online reputation not only brings in more customers but also helps you compete with big companies. Customers choose to buy from an unfamiliar company over a reputed company known for a recent scandal. What’s more, customers find a strong brand reputation more important than price, the research confirms.
Online reputation management is a must-follow practice for small business owners in in today’s web-connected world.
What is your plan to manage your business’s online reputation?