If you still believe that the growth of your business or professional practice is based on referrals, the proverbial “word of mouth” advertising, I have some shocking news for you. The most recent consumer studies indicate that even when referred to a business by a trusted friend, 87% of consumers will first go to the internet and investigate the company they have been referred to (source: Bright Local and Real Strategic).
Think about that for a moment. Almost 9 out of 10 people who are referred to your business go online to check you out before calling! What are they looking for? Two things. They want to see your website, because that tells them yours is a “real” business. Second, they are looking for comments from other customers about their experience. If you have bad reviews, or no reviews at all, they are not going to call you.
If yours is a successful offline business that has enjoyed a lot of success in the past, but are ignoring your online reputation, then you are putting your business at risk. Here are 4 reasons why your online reputation is so critical.
- Your reputation is what Google says it is. When someone wants to find information they go to Google. That could be as simple as an address or hours of operation. When someone clicks on your business they will now see your “star rating,” it is automatically displayed. If the rating is low, less than 4 stars, or even worse is no rating at all, you have a good chance of losing the business.
- Social Media is talking about you. Whether you have a Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest account, or have registered on Yelp or another of the major sites or not, people are talking about your business there. If you are not a part of that conversation your prospects can easily go to your competitors who are.
- Your brand is online, whether you like it or not. There are over 2000 “citation sites” on the internet, indexing businesses and brands of all sizes. Not just the national companies, local business is their primary focus. You ignore this fact at your own peril.
- Local advertising is out–the internet is in. There is still a place for print, media, and broadcast advertising; but only as part of a more comprehensive on and offline marketing strategy. The cost per reach ratio for off line advertising has been eclipsed by the web, and you will not grow your business if that is your only means of attracting new prospects.
Ignoring your online reputation is ruining your reputation. Let us help you join the conversation, preserve and enhance the good name you have invested years in developing.