One of the latest developments in today’s ever changing business world is a term called “reputation marketing.” Getting reviews from Google are an example of this type of marketing. Google, Yelp, Facebook and other sites provide customer ratings and comments about merchants and service providers.
Reputation Marketing, Social Proof and Getting Reviews
More and more consumers are using these sites to make buying decisions. These directories typically have a one to five-star rating, and they are quickly multiplying. These sites are the perfect place for disgruntled customers to complain and “get even” with employees of companies that have offended them.
Getting Reviews and Other Social Proof For Your Business
Social proof, which is having customers endorse your service or product, is becoming more and more relevant. A few years ago Google acquired Zagat, a restaurant rating organization and has integrated Zagat into Google Maps. They are now rating local businesses. Linkedin is also an important social media sites for business owners in which to be listed and endorsed.
The result of social proof becoming so popular is that business owners are under more and more customer scrutiny. The way small businesses are rated has the potential to become more important than having a website or any other marketing method in the future. Customers will quickly learn how we rate with an internet search.
Reputation Marketing For Your Business
Reputation marketing is basically getting reviews(great reviews) and other positive news for your business. The good news is this is generally easy to do if we are proactive with our clients. Below are some steps to looking great online:
Deliver great service.
The obvious! But the fact of the matter is this is a must to create great relationships with our clients. Always under-promise and over-deliver.
Begin getting reviews and testimonials from your customers.
The process is very simple:
- Grab a pen and notepad.
- Call up or visit your past and present clients.
- Catch up with how their life is going.
- Ask them for an appraisal of your service.
- Ask them to describe your service, write down what they said.
- Read back their statement to them, using their exact words.
- If their testimonial is favorable, ask them if your service is worthy of five stars.
- Thank them for their kind words.
- Tell them that you will send them an email with their testimonial to confirm that this looks acceptable to them.
How to Utilize Your Testimonials
Once your customer has approved the testimonial, ask them if they would be willing to copy and paste the testimonial into Google or the website/directory of their choosing.
- Ask to use their photo along with their testimonial. Photos will dramatically increase the credibility of their review.
- If you want endorsements on Linkedin, go to your profile link and click on “recommendations.” Send the request to your customer, asking them to copy and paste their testimonial into the provided field.
- If you want a testimonial placed on another review site, send a link to your customer of the URL in which your business is listed, requesting them to copy and paste the testimonial along with giving you a five-star rating.
- Use these testimonials on your website, in your marketing materials, in company newsletters and in the stories you tell about your service.
- Gather many testimonials. These stories from your clients will sell you faster and give you more credibility than advertising could ever buy for you.
What to Do With a Customer Complaint
- If you become aware of an unhappy client, contact them immediately. Face to face is best, and the telephone is the next best, next best would be email. Avoid online communications! Listen calmly and with empathy to your client and do what it takes to win them over. Repeat back their complaints to make sure your client knows you have listened to them and understand them and ask their forgiveness.
- If you get a negative rating, don’t ignore it. Contact your client to rectify the situation. I recommend that you do whatever it takes to make them happy, including offering a refund or free services. Respond online to the rating to show what you have done to rectify the situation. Finally, bury the negative rating with lots of positive ratings by doing the steps above.
Springboard into client referrals.
The next important thing to do with your customer is to ask them “Who do you know that could benefit from my service?” This way, you have trained your customer about how to sell you by developing the testimonial. Now they can use it by calling their contacts and referring you.
Your reputation is vital to the success of your business. Be proactive about getting reviews. A proverb tells us; “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” It’s a great quote to keep in mind as you focus on success in your business and life.