Thanks to technology, if you’re a service-based business owner, chances are you have a reputation online, whether you know it or not – and whether you WANT it or not. The question is, how much control do you want to have over your online reputation? If you choose to ignore your reputation online, you’re leaving your business to the mercy of your most unhappy customers, are you willing to do that?
Unhappy customers are 5 times more likely to leave a negative review, than happy customers are to leave a positive review. What this means is if you choose to do nothing to manage your reputation online, you’re 5 times more likely to have negative reviews online than anything else, including no reviews at all.
Here’s another thing to consider – what others say about you is 100 times more effective than what you say about yourself, even if you’re 100 times more eloquent. It makes no sense to dump your hard-earned money into marketing for your business that is in ‘your voice’, but ignore the absolute best marketing your money can buy: 4 & 5 star online reviews – written in your ideal customer’s voices.
If you’ve owned a service-based business for any amount of time at all, you’ll relate to this. When a new customer walks in your door who was referred by another happy client – you’re almost guaranteed to have a better experience with that referral than with a cold prospect (someone who finds you on their own, or responds to an ad). Referrals come to you pre-sold on your service and abilities, “If they’re good enough for aunt Tina, you know they’re good…”. They’re less likely to complain about your prices and they’re more likey to refer you to someone else they know. The benefits of referrals are clear, and you get referrals because a happy customer talked about you.
With that in mind, think about this for a moment. Research shows that 93% of consumers now read online reviews1, and 94% of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating2.
Similar studies found that 72% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations4 and 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant3.
One more huge piece of research – 4 out of 5 consumers reverse their purchase decision based on negative online reviews.5
This means 2 things: 1. Online reviews are now as effective as a personal recommendation (!!) and 2. If you don’t have a steady stream of 4 and 5 star reviews online, your online reputation is in trouble.
Bottom line: Reputation Management is one of the most important things in your business! The question is – how to make sure you’re tapping into the gold mine of new clients that an effectively managed online reputation can bring you. In my next post, 5 Reputation Management Best Practices, we discuss the five actions you can take right now to make sure your online reputation is the best it can be!