Imagine for a minute a you’re a fighter pilot about to launch your jet from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Suddenly, you get a fire light from your engine just seconds before you get slung down a 200-foot-long catapult where you need the full power of that engine to get into the air. Without the engine, you do a nose dive into the water directly in front of a 95 million ton displacement aircraft carrier.
But no one outside the airplane sees any fire. You have a choice: take action to guarantee your future success, or just manage it later, and hope for the best based on what no one else sees.
In the Navy, on an aircraft carrier, no one just manages anything, or leaves their future up to what one else sees. They take decisive personal action to guarantee success when called for.
When you choose reputation management as a solution, you choose to hope for the best from someone putting out fires they may or may not see while your launching your products and services to consumers/clients/patients, etc.
Do you think there might be a better way? A way that not very many are seeing as of yet?
The Reputation of Reputation Management
Though many businesses use these services, many leading business owners and corporations see reputation management as a fear tactic because it is crisis management. The crisis occurs online, and when left on its own, is proven to cost you customers.
Because 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, you should consider a bad reputation online a crisis you must handle in some way.
Thus, the reputation management business is commonly seen as building on your fears selling what can be desperate solutions to business owners feeling desperate.
When you do a Google or Bing search for “reputation management” you shouldn’t be surprised to find a host of “solutions” using black-hat SEO, creating fake reviews, or buying reviews from overseas.
Some even promise to have your bad online reviews removed.
However, neither search engines nor consumers are so stupid not to recognize these frauds.
The popular fraud finding site, Rip Off Reports runs this warning has this,
“Reputation Management the new “digital extortion” Are you thinking about hiring a Reputation Management Company or an SEO company to help “repair” your reputation or hide negative complaints? WARNING!”
They call these services the new digital extortion, and to a large degree, they have a valid point.
It’s not that all these reputation management services provide fraudulent offers. They don’t.
But from our point of view at Integrity Reputation Marketing, managing something bad is not proactive, and isn’t what makes you money because you must be marketing to make money.
So if reputation management is so questionable as a success strategy, what should a business owner do?
Taking the Fight to the Reputation Economy
Wired Magazine has coined a term referring to the online market as a reputation economy. It’s difficult to argue against this perspective because 85% of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews of your company or any business before they decide to do business with you (source: Bright Local 2014 Consumer Review Survey).
To the consumer – your potential customer, client, or patient – the online reviews are the modern social proof. If you don’t have them, or you don’t do anything proactive to create and/or influence them ethically, then you literally hand customers to your competitors that do.
It’s great to say you’re the best at whatever your business delivers, but that’s just platitudes.
But it’s real selling power when consumers repeatedly say you’re the best in the form of 5-star reviews in Google, Bing, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Lawyers.com, RateMds.com, etc. This is real people tooting your horn, and doing it very loudly.
In today’s market, many business owners recognize and have felt the power of a Yelp or Google review in both positive and negative ways. But few do anything to control their destiny and leave it all to fate.
This is a dangerous move in a reputation economy because as Dimension Research states, “These reviews are very impactful. The vast majority of participants who have seen reviews claimed that that information did impact their buying decisions. This was true of both positive reviews (90%) as well as negative reviews (86%).
Do see how having a marketing system leveraging these facts brings in many more customers from online?
The Integrity Marketing Reputation Marketing Solution
Forbes Magazine says that confronting your online reputation as a marketing channel seems odd because it’s not like any other.
However, as business owners, our online reputation is our “key differentiator” in the marketplace, regardless of what we sell, or who we sell to.
So it makes sense when others say you gotta be on social media because it literally puts you out there in the digital world. But there’s a problem with this…
Simply being in social media like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. is not good enough. If you can, in some way, ethically “force” consumers into these media to write about you (in a glowing way), you can literally dominate your market and not have to always compete on price.
This must be done in a way that is not a reward to the consumer, and is truly representing the consumer’s personal experience. This sounds difficult I’m sure.
But if there were a way to do this would this make a difference in your business revenues?
As Steve Olenski and John Hall tell us in Forbes,
“Online reviews therefore have insane influence over consumers’ beliefs and behavior. Reviews determine not just whether a brand or business is visible in search engines and “social media, but how people perceive it and whether or not they would buy from it.”