Gone are the days organizations would employ online reputation management (ORM) in the guise of Reputation marketing. These ideologies differ and mean totally different things.
While online reputation management is an active way of clearing a brand’s already smeared image, reputation marketing is a pro-active way to use a brands’ success stories to sell the brand‘s products or services.
A study done by Neilsen in 2012 suggests that 70% of consumers trust online reviews (15% more than in 2008), second only to personal recommendations. Online reviews are more or less what reputation marketing is and is indicated by the study above, customers trust it more.
The reason why people trust online reviews isn’t far-fetched. Reviews when genuine is people’s experience with a particular product and service.
And it’s assumed that these reviewers have no reason why they’d put out a false account.
Therefore, people tend to believe it more as a form of reputation marketing.
With this in mind, we will be looking at what reputation marketing is, and how it will work for you in your attempt to increase sales.
What is Reputation Marketing?
This is the process of managing and influencing consumer perception of a brand or business.
The idea behind reputation marketing is to amplify the good qualities of a brand. This way, it’s promoted in a way that will convert shoppers or those reading it into customers.
The discipline involves collecting and amplifying positive brand content in order to use your brand reputation as an asset that enhances your marketing efforts and campaigns.
Importance of Reputation Marketing
The internet has made the world a small global place where information reigns supreme. And in this multichannel world, consumers actively seek information from all types of sources to guide their purchase decisions.
So naturally, if your business is online you have an advantage over your competitors already.
However, just because a business ranks number one on Google or has larger online engagement does not mean that it has the trust of consumers.
One of the key factors in an organization’s ability to develop meaningful, trust-based relationships with customers is online reviews and similar forms of user-generated content.
This is what and where reputation marketing can help. Better reviews and a positive brand reputation — not more follows and likes — work strategically to help improve your influence, trustworthiness, and flexibility.
With reputation marketing, you can use reviews, social media comments, and customer feedback in ways that drive search engine performance, social media strategy, and consumer engagement levels.
According to Steve Olenski, contributor for Forbes, reputation marketing can help businesses achieve competitive differentiation.
Olenski wrote, “Reputation ー consisting of mentions, comments, recommendations and reviews across a buzzing, shape-shifting universe of online publishers and apps ー isn’t a problem center but a value center for brands and businesses.
“We need to think about our reputations as a constant, competitive advantage, a driver of growth and prosperity, and a strategic asset. We need to think about reputation marketing.”
So you see, it’s pertinent that you include reputation marketing in all your marketing campaigns. And you don’t just include it but give it all the attention it deserves.
How Online Reviews Drive Reputation Marketing Strategies
Customer feedback is vital for both businesses and end consumers. Shoppers place enormous trust in feedback from faceless individuals on review sites. Sadly, fraudsters take advantage of that misplaced trust to manipulate the system.
That all boils down to bad news for brands that have been crushed by 1-star reviews. Staggering reputation management statistics indicate that negative comments and bad star ratings drive potential customers away by the busload — and executives agree.
But let’s look at that from another angle: Online review sites can be a powerful marketing tool when filled with positive customer reviews. Why?
Great reviews improve conversions throughout your entire marketing funnel:
- Awareness: Prospective customers learn about your brand through review articles.
- Interest: People begin to search for your brand to learn more about your company through customer reviews.
- Consideration: at the bottom of the conversion funnel, shoppers compare your product vs your competitors’ to see what worked for others like themselves—and what didn’t.
Consumer reviews are at the core of all reputation marketing efforts because they heavily influence a brand’s reputation and purchasing decisions.
How To Make Reviews Work For Your Brand?
Handle negative reviews
Review websites rank very well for branded queries. So, if you have bad reviews online, then potential customers will see them.
In most cases, you can’t delete negative reviews unless you provide hard proof that they violate user guidelines. What’s worse, sites like Ripoff Report won’t remove bad reviews even if you have evidence to prove complaints are fake.
Earn positive reviews
Whether you have negative reviews or not, always strive to earn positive ones. Build it up as much as you can, because someday you’d need to leverage it for promotional purposes.
To get good reviews may not be the easiest thing to do, but it can be achieved through various means. They include;
CMOS and small business owners alike know that good reviews are important, but they rarely ask happy customers for feedback.
Since the majority of people write reviews when they’re angry, you could have an imbalance of opinions if you don’t actively solicit feedback. In fact, it can take ten times as many good reviews to offset one bad review.
Remember, online reputation marketing won’t work without lots of great reviews. So set aside some funds from your marketing budget to aggressively earn and manage online reviews.
How To Build A Reputation Marketing Strategy
This shouldn’t be too burdensome, see it as a necessary thing you must do for your business to thrive. Look at it as a fact-finding step that you must take, that will be followed by intentional actions to focus efforts on things that matter.
First Step: Research your current reputation
You need to understand your current position to be able to see where you’re going or why you must go there.
And you don’t have to assemble this information manually. There are numerous tools available to automate and speed up this process.
You could use Hootsuite or anything similar to compile brand mentions across the social media ecosystem, for example.
Awario will clue you into any mention of your brand across the web including in forums, blogs, and news reports.
Step 2: Send a NPS Survey
NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a scale that runs from -100 to 100. You ask a series of questions and then apply the scale to measure how willing your customers are to recommend your local business.
It helps you to understand loyalty and sentiment, which is useful when developing your reputation marketing strategy as it shows you what you’re working with, highlights any reputation problems to address, and indicates where your focus should lay.
Step 3: Find out what matters to your customers and what helps them build trust
Trust is subjective. What gives one person peace of mind may not matter at all to another.
Data from PWC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey paints a very telling picture; consumers have a louder voice than ever before thanks to social media. They also demand more from the brands they do business with.
The purpose of this step is to find out what your customers expect from you.
Are they likely to forgive slow shipping if your customer service and product quality are top-notch?
Do they expect a highly personalized service or do they appreciate more straightforward communications?
The answers you get here should influence the steps you’d take in marketing the reputation of your brand.
Step 4: Set goals
For the time you invest in your reputation marketing strategy to really pay dividends, your actions must be both measurable and accountable. The goals you set will directly influence the tactics you adopt to manage your reputation and help you gauge whether or not your approach is effective.
If you get great reviews, perhaps you want to put a process in place for regular review monitoring to ensure they stay that way.
Step 5: Decide on your tactics
Deciding on the tactics you’ll use is the final piece of the strategic puzzle. From review generation to social media monitoring, you’ll need to choose the activities that help you meet your reputation goals.
To market your reputation, you must actively seek feedback from your customers – your happy customers. It’s these positive reviews that you can use to market your brand’s reputation.
Occasionally, you might get negative reviews, you must prepare for these things and as well devise a strategy to tackle them when they come.
However, to ensure that you have little or nothing to worry about when these negative reviews come in, have a reservoir of positive reviews.
Finally. make conscious efforts to include reputation marketing in your marketing plans.