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Reputation Marketing & Your Small Business

Have you ever considered that your reputation may be tarnished and you don’t even know it? What are people saying about you offline and online? Are all your markting efforts being sabotaged by a disgruntled employee or competitor?

All your fancy TV ads, blog & Facebook posts, Tweets, and direct mail are for nil if bad reviews keep popping up all over the place. This is where reputation marketing comes into the grand ole’ scheme of things.

Reputation marketing is still relatively new and is growing leaps and bounds as more and more search engines and citation sites are jumping into the review game. And don’t expect this game to get any easier anytime soon. It’s heating up and just getting interesting. 

In my previous post about Local Marketing I mentioned the foundation. This is usually where the trouble starts, but not always.

Sometimes there’s a rogue element like someone in the business or associated with it who is having a bad streak or is possibly disgruntled. The foundation is really strong but this one person is wreaking havoc, leaving a trail of dissatisfied customers, lost opportunities and plummeting sales.

Could it be you, the owner or manager, who is creating all the collateral damage? Or maybe your partner or senior manager?

These are the questions we need to ask you, the small business owner, because your online reputation can and will have an impact on your company moving forward.

Simply just posting reviews online is not going to make it all good. You need to have a simple plan for building your reputation online and then the foundation to support the plan.

You see it all comes back to the click and mortar again, doesn’t it. In the offline world you, your partner and your staff need to do the work to keep the foundation intact. From answering the phone and emails to posting on social media sites and meeting with people in person. It all comes together as people create their opinions about you and your company and then spread the word, good or bad.

If this seems too simple that is because it really is. This is not rocket science here but there are best practices and ways to do accomplish the plan and grow your business.

The bottom line is that every prospect and lead you come in contact with can either have a positive or negative impact on your business. These people you deal and work with everyday are the ones who will post and share their experiences online with other people.

Reputation marketing, or what some call reputation management, is the key. Yes, it is the key for small businesses to attract and connect with new prospects and existing customers. Reputation marketing (I prefer this term) is where small businesses can make it or break it online.

That’s why you need to be working on your foundation and reputation at the same time. It’s an ongoing process that requires work and planning.

So get started now and touch bases with the Small Biz Mechanic if you need a little help fixing the foundation or bad reviews.

To your reputation marketing success!

Dave Krygier


Local Marketing – Will Your Business Survive?

Local Marketing is today’s topic here at Click and Mortar Blog headquarters. And when I say local, I mean local as in 1 to 50 miles of your location.

The web has forever changed the landscape how we as small business owners market to our prospects and customers. This landscape is further changed as more and more small businesses struggle to figure out how to integrate their offline efforts with online channels.

Add to the confusion the rapid growing mobile and video sectors and media sales people yelling, “we’ve got what you need and you need to buy from us” and you have one big info overload headache coming on.

With all the changes coming down the pike, it’s really amazing that anyone can keep up. For a local business owner, manager or even hired gun like a business consultant, you need to be on top of all this stuff and if you’re not then your business’ reputation might be suffering.

Not only are we needing to embrace the weavers of the web, but we also have to be really concerned with our reputations, because the consumer now has the power to praise or persecute.

It’s no longer just the better business bureau but now citation sites and reviews are becoming the norm with Google + Local, Yahoo and Bing filling in the gaps really fast.

Much harder it is today for businesses to get away with lousy service and quality issues because their mishaps, shortcomings, oversights and lack of attention to the customer will forever be shown for all to see.

So you can hopefully see how important it is to have a solid foundation in your business and this way your reputation won’t haunt you.

With all that said, let’s talk turkey and get down to the bottom of all this.

Local marketing is no longer just offline media as in newspaper, radio, television, direct mail and billboards. Local marketing has merged both offline and online channels which means you as the business owner need to narrow your focus and engage your target market.

Engaging your target market means that your efforts need to be more focused than ever before with an eye out for what people are saying about you.

This brings me to the topic of reputation.

If your reputation stinks, then you are going to have a tough time growing your small business and all the local marketing you can do will be like swimming up river. No longer can you leave a customer hanging or in a lurch as citation and reviews have become the norm, allowing the consumer(and business) control over what they really think about your business.

If on the other hand your reputation is good to great, then you’re off to the races. Because all you need to do is maintain, monitor and continue to grow by using positive reviews to boost awareness and increase traffic.

So what can you do about it?

1. First work on your foundation. Get all the cracks fixed, leaks plugged and foundation in solid shape. Do whatever it takes to make your small business’ foundation a solid structure that can support your sales and local marketing efforts.  This means from the person answering the phone, to those that answer email and deal with live customers, patients and clients, it’s very important that a positive, uplifting message is left for all.

2. Set up a system for capturing customer reviews. In some cases you might direct people to Google. In others you might direct them to Yelp, Kudzu, Insiderpages or a specialty site that pertains to your industry. No matter how you do this, it’s important to continually work on getting positive reviews and if a bad review ever shows up you can deal with it immediately.

So build a solid foundation and then engage the people who come across your doorstep. Treat people right and the reviews they leave you will help build and reinforce your existing foundation. 

Until next time.

Dave Krygier