As 2014 draws to a close, we look at 2015 and wonder – will it be any better for our business? Will we be seeing better growth and higher profits?

Then suddenly you think about your online reputation and wonder if it really matters for you and your business. I mean, you have a very good reputation and everybody around your area knows that so do you really need one online?

The answer to the question above is a resounding yes. Online reputation marketing is vital to the success of every business and especially so if you are running a service based business such as a restaurant, spa, hotel, an accountancy or dentistry practice, or any business that provides service to a customer. So let’s have a look at some of the reasons why business owners such as yourself need to focus on reputation marketing.

Google has integrated 80 million Google + accounts with a business’ corresponding website listing into the organic results. This means that Google is now advertising your online reputation for the world to see – for free.

Below are some examples you can check out to better understand the implications of a good online reputation.

Example 1:

You are planning a weekend trip to London with some friends and have no idea where to go for dinner.  You decide to do a Google search for “restaurant London”. You notice that Google has now integrated Google Maps listings straight into the first page of its organic results. Isn’t that convenient? You can easily check out those restaurants.

But then you notice that Google is showing the restaurants’ online reputation based on their customers’ experiences.  For instance, the very first restaurant The Ledbury has a rating of 4.7 out of 113 reviews which is the best rating of all the restaurants and has, by far, the most reviews.

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Which restaurant do you call first to enquire about a booking? Chances are, you are going to call The Ledbury first. The reservations person on the other end of the phone does such a good job describing the food and atmosphere that you end up booking a table there.

After the call, you might be thinking – sure, it may not matter that my business is not one of those featured on the first page of the Google Maps results and I get my business from referrals. But have a look at this:

Example 2:

You mentioned you are going to London for the weekend with a few friends.  It came up that you don’t know any good restaurant to dine at during your stay.  I point out to you that while I was in London a year ago I went to the The Ledbury, however I can’t remember the phone number but tell you to look it up online.

You go to Google and type “The Ledbury London” in the search box.  Guess what happens next?

Google has integrated the restaurant’s Google + account with its main website listing so everybody can now view The Ledbury’s online reputation.

(In this example I used the “the Ledbury” because I knew they had a good reputation. )

Meanwhile, have a good look at the listings from the search results and you will see that Google is now showing the whole world The Ledbury’s online reputation. This means that potential customers are going to see the restaurant’s actual reputation before they even see the phone number. If a restaurant or business has a poor reputation, they are more likely going to lose sales.

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Now if that was not bad or good enough depending on the business’ reputation score.  We now need to take into account all the other review sites as well.

So let’s look at example 3.

So after you looked at the Google Maps listings displayed for the search term “The Ledbury London” you continue to scroll down the results page. What do you find? You find that the results are from other review sites, all of them sharing your online reputation for the world to see.

online reputation marketing2online reputation marketing3Can you imagine what a poor online reputation can mean for your business? You may be losing sales without you even knowing about it! Take action now before it’s too late!

Without having a 5 star online reputation, you are wasting your time and money marketing online with pay per click, SEO and even social media. There is no point being on the top of the search engines if you don’t have a 5 star reputation.

 

So yes, online reputation marketing is really all that important for your business.