Where do new potential customers go to find out information about your company? Where can they turn to see what kind of reputation you have, and whether your business is worth their hard-earned money?
In decades past, they might have turned to friends or colleagues who’ve done business with you before, and in some cases that could be the case. Additionally, social networking sites are becoming a popular forum for exchanging all kinds of ideas, including reviews of companies and vendors. But more often than not, both of these notions are a little bit off the mark…
That’s because, as prevalent as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become, nearly 85% of all online purchases still originate from one of the major search engines – and especially Google, which has firmly solidified itself as the world’s most popular search site. That means your company has to monitor its reputation online, since negative information about you on Google can easily prevent new customers from clicking to your site in the first place.
So what can you do with this information as a business owner, manager, or online marketer? A good first step is to make sure you know what Google is saying about you in the first place. That is, go online once in a while and enter your own company’s name in the search box – along with any frequently used product names, retail locations, key employees, and anything else you can think of that might usually be associated with your company. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to do one more search with your company name and the word “reviews” just to see what comes up.
More often than not, you’re going to find your company’s home page and not much else. Other times, you could find references to your business in the news, or other items. But what you really want to watch out for are negative opinions and feedback posted on the web about your business – tidbits, true or false, that can literally sink hundreds of potential sales before they start.
If you find them, take a moment to write to the website in question and see what you can do to have the information corrected or taken away. More often than not, a simple note is all it takes to get rid of a bad review, or at least get the chance to tell your own side of the story. Beyond that, do what you can to encourage people to write good things about your business, which is certainly better than having bad news floating around, and even preferable to nothing at all.
When it comes to the opinions potential buyers form of value, you’re only as good as Google says you are. With that in mind, it makes sense to keep a close eye on your company’s reputation when it comes to the world’s most popular search engine.
BusinessCreator, Inc. is a full service web solutions provider, with a dedicated marketing team that specializes in local search and reputation management.