Read on to discover why online reputation is important for local businesses – and what you can do to build a better online brand.
For local businesses and brands, your reputation is more important than you might think. This is something many local businesses are finding out for the first time every day. Most local businesses are given a negative or positive first impression when someone searches for your brand name or looks for online reviews. What a person finds will likely lead to whether they deal with you as a customer or not.
Before jumping into the many different reasons why local businesses must invest in reputation management, let’s first list some of the most affected businesses influenced by online search results and reviews:
- Plumbers, electricians and self-service
- Local restaurants and food chains
- Doctors, dentists and local professionals
With just those three areas mentioned, we’ve covered nearly every local business out there — which is exactly what we were trying to accomplish, by stating that every local business must invest their time, money and efforts into making sure they have a great first impression when someone searches for them online.
Why Online Reputation is Important for Local Businesses
Your Online Reputation is Your Business
Local businesses are still trying to figure out the internet and how it’s affecting their “small local area”. While many people are still set in their ways and think their local business is only a few square miles, the truth is that the internet and the content on it is affecting everyone.
In addition to knowing what’s ranking for Google when someone searches for your business and also what appears on top review sites, it’s also important to understand how much this content actually influences potential buyers and the people who are finding it. In Nielsen’s recent “Global Trust in Advertising” report, it was shown that over 70% of global consumers trust online reviews from strangers when making their purchasing decisions.
In short, this means anyone can say anything about your brand or business, whether it is true or not, and it WILL influence what others think about your brand and business.
Not Managing Your Reputation Could Cost Millions!
Imagine you are a local medical professional that has a few negative reviews online and not currently ranking well on the first page of Google when someone searches your name. This might not seem like a huge deal at first, but then when you start to crank the number, you could be missing out on a ton of business and revenue. If just one person is getting turned off by your online reviews and search listings, you are looking at over 300 lost patients per year.
Now if you are a high-end professional, such as a lawyer, doctor or dentist, each of your clients is potentially worth $3,000 per year… that’s nearly a million dollars in itself! This alone is more than enough reason to invest some time, money and effort into cleaning up your search rankings and taking care of those negative reviews on sites like TripAdvisor.
Doctors also have their own troubles, as there are plenty of doctor review sites to worry about as well.
Building a Reputation Management Plan for Your Local Business
The good news is that it’s never too late or too early to start preparing a reputation management plan for your business. The last thing you want to do is to try and repair the damage after it has already been done. It’s much better to prepare ahead of time and to build a fortress and protective wall around your brand, so your best first impression is always available to everyone.