A lot of people are still confused about the difference between reputation marketing and reputation management. Despite being around for years, some business owners believe reputation management is for when your business name is tied to something horrible in the news. And they think reputation marketing might have something to do with buying fake five-star online reviews from the Philippines.
As a digital marketer or agency providing reputation services, you have the opportunity to remove these misconceptions by educating clients and prospects on the differences between reputation management and reputation marketing and how to use them to grow their business.
While both are important marketing functions for presenting the best possible image online, they each use different strategies to meet mutually beneficial outcomes your business clients will easily understand.
What is Reputation Marketing and Who Needs It
First, let’s get clear on some definitions:
Reputation Management - Online Reputation Management (also referred to as ORM) is the practice of attempting to influence public perception of a person or business by managing content and information that can be found online. Primarily, activities focus on online reviews, online content, and social media mentions.
Reputation Marketing - Reputation marketing is a combination of reputation management and brand marketing. Here is where you take the five-star reviews and testimonials gained through your reputation management efforts and promote that positive content through various digital marketing channels.
Reputation marketing focuses on three main activities:
- Monitoring what customers are saying
- Acquiring more and better reviews
- Amplifying the reviews and mentions to generate sales
When done right, reputation management builds a stellar online reputation, and reputation marketing leverages that reputation to promote a business.
What are the benefits of reputation marketing?
Managing and promoting a positive online reputation gives a business a competitive edge that is hard to beat. Beyond the first page of Google results and popularity on social media, reputation is effecting search results and consumer behavior across the internet.
When you look at statistics from the latest BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, it’s crazy how much influence reviews and reputation have over consumer behavior:
- 91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business.
- 82% of consumers less likely to use a business after seeing negative reviews.
- 76% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends
- Only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars
- 82% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, including 93% of people aged 35-54.
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
Reputation and online reviews have become even more important to businesses as review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List have become first-stop destinations for consumers looking to find and compare products and services.
Customers simply put more trust in what other buyers like them have to say about their experience with a business. And they rely on actual customer reviews more than any ad or expert opinion to make informed buying decisions when it comes time to make a purchase.
With reputation marketing, businesses are leveraging a multitude of benefits:
- A higher perceived value of products and services which means they can charge more
- A boost in local search rankings while converting more search users into leads
- Increased brand awareness and trust
- Decreased cost per acquisition and increased customer lifetime value
The business risks of neglecting online reputation marketing:
- Loss in profit/revenue
- Low trust from search engines and people means lower rankings and fewer conversions in search results
- Higher customer acquisition costs and lower customer retention rates
Do Small and Local Businesses Need Reputation Marketing?
The most recent Local Search Industry Survey ranked the most valuable local marketing services as:
- Google My Business optimization
- On-site optimization
- Reputation management
- Citation management
- Website design
When 90% of consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions, reputation marketing is a necessity - especially for small businesses operating in oversaturated local markets.
In fact, most consumers will reverse a purchase decision if they see negative reviews. And when researching purchases, consumers just aren’t invested enough in one specific provider to dig deeper. So while local SEO and digital ads can put a business on the map and in the game, a stellar reputation is a huge factor in which company will win the customer.
Luckily, smart small and local businesses recognize that online content such as reviews and social media mentions have a direct impact on how well a business performs against the competition. By providing reputation marketing services, you can ensure a business is constantly gaining positive reviews and ratings, and that those reputation builders are highly visible across the web to influence buying decisions.
A positive online reputation is one of the most valuable marketing assets a business can invest in. It’s critical to move beyond just managing their reputation and focus more effort on reputation marketing to increase sales and protect the future revenue potential of a business.
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