Internet marketing is, above all, a sales driver for entrepreneurs engaging in e-commerce. However, there is a myriad of reasons why things won’t go exactly as planned.
Near the top of the list has to be the reputation your brand has acquired while it has been in operation. For a traditional “brick and mortar” business, reputation is based on word of mouth, past customer service experience, current product selection and media reviews.
Similarly, online reputations are built around the type of “buzz” that your Internet business actions generate.
You may have heard how some unethical business people attempt to manipulate online opinion via various tactics:
- Paying off people to write glowing reviews of your company.
- Creating fake review sites to boost the number of “positive” reviews that come up on search engines like Google.
- Using fake accounts to flood social media and established review sites.
There are so many ethical ways to improve your reputation and increase sales based on trust. Here are some novel ideas about ethical reputation enhancement:
1. Review Your Reviews
If you do a Google search, you are sure to find a mix of both positive and negative reviews. Right now, the percentages, either way, are not important, just the fact that people have taken the time to rate your products and services.
Learn from what the positive, but especially the negative reviews are saying. It’s important to look at your various processes to see how they can be improved. For example, is there justification to add staff to speed up service? Should you offer current employees more specialized training so as they know your product better?
Perhaps there are problems with the product itself? All these reviews offer clues as to where to spend your hard earned sales revenue.
2. Reply Directly and Immediately to Negative Reviews
A growing trend in marketing these days is to respond to negative criticism as soon as it’s posted. You don’t want to leave such feedback unanswered, lest other people browsing the site think that you deserve the bad review. In addition, there is a risk of a “pile-on” or tidal wave of copycats repeating similar criticism.
Therefore, take a reasoned approach. Fully evaluate the comment and separate out the accurate and improper remarks. Immediately acknowledge where you are in agreement with the review, and explain how you will work to improve the situation with regards to the rest.
Courtesy works at all times, if not with the original complainant then with the other people who read the comment. Explain any specific shortcomings or mishaps, and apologize for the inconvenience as soon as possible. This is an honest, no-nonsense way of reputation enhancement.
Responding to review and comments on social media is something you may want to consider delegating or outsourcing to a social media marketing manager for your business.
3. Reconsider Your Internet Image
Does your current web presence need some fixing? There is ample studies and information available from sales, web design and copywriting that can be used to boost your presence. Don’t forget about the readability of your information on mobile devices(smartphones, tablets, notebooks, etc.). They are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world these days.
Keep a clean and attractive profile on the major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.). Keep your contact information accurate and updated on all the review sites.
It’s important to stay active with the main review sites once you get started. If you don’t respond to reviews for weeks and months at a time, it can leave a very negative impression. It will appear that you don’t react or run an up to date.
Stay visible and stay active!