Everything You Need to Know about Online Reputation Management

Have you recently ‘Googled’ your name? Today, people regularly search other people online, before an interview, a meeting, or even a date. Consider the following statistics:

  • 44% of adults online have googled the person or company whose services or products they require in a professional capacity, like an electrician, lawyer, or dentist
  • 50% of all adult internet users gave an online review of a service they used
  • 78% of internet users usually perform product research online, and trust the reviews they read online
  • 80% of people claimed to have changed their purchase decision because of a negative review they read online

If a prospect Google’s your name or brand, you want to ensure that whatever comes up is positive as it will shape their impressions of your business.

What is a reputation?

As a business, you have probably experienced the joy of a radiant online review and the sting of a negative online comment. Your reputation is a product of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you and/or your business.

It has become increasingly easier for consumers to share their opinions about your products or services on social media networks, which often appear within the top results of name searches. It is important that the information posted online about your business be accurate and reflect you in a positive light.

A good reputation will lead to increased prospect confidence and more sales. Conversely, a bad reputation will result in diminished consumer confidence and subsequent reduction in sales and profits.

What is online reputation management?

Whether positive or negative, any social media feedback is a valuable source for guiding improvements and spreading the word about your business. If any negative information appears, you want to be able to address.

This is online reputation management, and it has a direct bearing on whether or not prospects will buy your product or service. ORM involves managing search engine results and protecting your brand’s reputation from negative exposure online.

If done well, ORM will prevent negative buzz from happening, protect and cultivate your brand, and have a positive impact on your sales. It will deliver high rankings and visibility for good publicity, which will help to dilute and push bad publicity down search engine listings, and out of public view. This is likely to work because online searchers rarely view more than 2 SERPs.

Impact of Reviews on your Online Reputation

Studies show that online reviews can significantly impact a brand’s reputation, and subsequently sales. These reviews are widely read, and tend to influence consumers’ purchase decisions. This implies that reinforcing or rebuilding your online reputation largely depends on promoting positive reviews, or highlighting what’s good.

Consider the following statistics:

  • 59% of users consider customer reviews to be more valuable than expert reviews
  • 60% of online shoppers offer feedback about their shopping experience, and usually feel more inclined to post a review based on a positive experience rather than a negative one
  • 70% of Americans claim that they check out product reviews before purchasing a product or service
  • 70% of consumers worldwide trust online consumer reviews. This makes them the second most trusted form of advertising after word of mouth
  • 71% of online consumers read reviews, which makes it the most widely read consumer-generated content
  • 71% of consumers use keyword searches to find products or services
  • 80% of the time spent by consumers shopping online is used to research items rather than making the actual purchase
  • 92% deem customer reviews as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ useful
  • 92.5% of adults often research products online before proceeding to make an in-store purchase.

How to Get Started with Online Reputation Management

It is important to listen to what is being said online about your business, brand, products, or services, even if it is negative. Listening gives you the opportunity to respond and address in-house issues or deal with adverse information online, both of which can negatively affect your image and reputation.

Here are the steps involved in a standard ORM strategy:

Step 1: Research and Analysis

Before you can initiate your ORM efforts, you should first examine how your online reputation currently stands. This involves your brand/business/product research on search engines to see the results concerning your business that visitors and prospects see when searching for your keywords.

You might need to use several social monitoring tools, including:

  • Google Alerts – Receive email alerts every time a user mentions specific keywords you are tracking
  • Social Mention – Tracks Twitter, blogs, images, audio, video, blog comments, and mainstream news so you can easily stay up-to-date
  • Technorati – Do your research on keywords or key phrases related to your brand or competitor brands here
  • ReputationDefender – Intended to help online business preserve and restore their reputation in social media. This tool offers robust monitoring services to help you track your brand and deal with the results that show up in SERPs

Step 2: Competitor Backlink Assessment

More research is necessary to analyse your industry rivals and their online standing. It helps if you know where your business matches up to industry rivals as this also impacts your brand’s reputation.

Step 3: Review Building and Influencing

At this point, you can post genuine customer reviews of your products/services/brand in leading web properties so they can surpass the negative reviews in SERPs. The objective of this process is to reduce the number of negative reviews while increasing the number of positive comments and favorable reviews of your business. It’s important to work on growing online reviews.

One of the best ways to counter attack negative comments is by responding with a positive one. You can influence the outcome by actively participating in the conversation to improve the perception of your brand. Even a simple comment like the one below can do wonders:

‘Thank you for your feedback. We are working on resolving this issue’

Step 4: Social Media Profile Creation and Optimisation

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Here is an example of Linkedin power profile

If you don’t currently have a presence on different social media platforms, it is important to identify those that are most relevant to your business. Set up social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or any other platform where you can easily reach your target audience.

Choosing the right social media network is key to building and promoting your online reputation. To deliver better customer service to your market, it is crucial that you engage in the right and appropriate social network for your industry.

Beyond creating these profiles, dedicate some time to optimise them with regular updates, comments, and participating in group discussions. If need be, seek professional help with customising your social network profiles as per your promotion efforts.

Step 5: Social Media Promotion

Consider hiring a professional SEO or SMO team to provide valuable and informative content on your social media profiles, and to maintain a high level of activity to enhance your reputation. This process involves regular updates and discussions to boost engagement and friend/follower acquisition.

Keep in mind that two-way conversations need not use official tone. Use language that shows you care. You need a particular way to confer to your audience and it should coincide with your company’s tone of voice.

Step 6: Content Generation

Consider outsourcing on/off-page content creation techniques such as article creation, blogging, and press release. Optimise the content with the right keyword usage, anchor texts, and links. Keep in mind that visitors and search engines like valuable content. The more valuable the information on your site, the more visitors you will be able to attract.

Conclusion

Online reputation management is fast becoming a critical strategy for organisations. This relatively new field in today’s online landscape is not just a personal issue for today’s internet shoppers, but a critical marketing tool for all business, whether online-based or otherwise.

Remember that customers and prospects go online to learn more about the companies they want to work with. A positive review will likely get you a new client, whereas a negative comment from one unsatisfied customer could easily destroy everything you’ve built.

With a concise online reputation management strategy though, you will be able to build back your clean reputation online.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hill is the Outreach Coordinator at TechWyse, an SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. While she isn’t building relationships with bloggers and influencers in the marketing world, she can be seen rooting for the Blue Jays.

7 ways to create a winning email strategy for your startup

Many business owners may find it hard to believe but email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for digital marketing. In fact, one report claims that email marketing returns $38 for every $1 spent. Additionally, 59 per cent of B2B marketers still find email as the most effective channel for revenue generation. In the year, 2014, email marketing was listed to be one of the best marketing tools for customer retention as well. However, many businesses fail to get the desired results with email marketing.

We are all aware of the fact that a good email marketing practice will pay out. But where to start? How to create a winning strategy for email marketing?

To help you out, here are some ways that will not only ensure that your email marketing campaign is a success but will also give you some link building ideas alongside as well:

Plan

Just like you plan your marketing efforts for newspaper ads, social media channels, and signboards – your email newsletter also needs a strategy.

Make sure that your email newsletter is planned for the core target market. These are mostly people who are or will be interested in the product/service you offer. Take the time out to research. Make sure that the email newsletter template you select is aesthetically appealing for the target audience and also reflects your brand image thoroughly.

Additionally, keep in mind that content is always king. Besides taking care of all the other aspects of your email newsletter, don’t forget to work on creating quality content to engage your readers.

Segment the list appropriately

One of the biggest mistakes novice entrepreneurs make during email marketing is address the entire email contact list as one entity – regardless of whether they are long-term customers, new clients, prospects, or even decision makers.

If you do your research, you will find out that there are a variety of personas that make up your email lists and if you send all the contacts on your list the same boring, run-down of your company, then you are likely to lose a lot of business.

This is why, it is important that you segment your list appropriately and send out content that is suitable for the specific group.

Set a specific time and day for emails

While most business owners presume that most emails are opened during the office hours, i.e. 9 – 5, the Experian Marketing Service reports that 8 p.m. to midnight receives the best open rates. This time block not only received better open rates but also better click through and sales.

Sending emails on a wrong day can also lower the response rate of your efforts. In fact, MailChimp previously did a survey on the same and found out that weekends had the lowest opening rate while Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays have the highest opening rates.

Give something away

Let’s admit it, we all like freebies. Of course, we are not encouraging you to give away free iPhones or plane tickets but a small token of appreciation can be a good gesture for your customers and of course, helpful for building your email list as well.

Not many are aware but when the renowned candy company, Tootsie Roll released a new lollipop flavor, it failed to attract much attention. However, the company organized a giveaway where they asked fans and followers to enter for a chance to be one of their taste testers. The interested participants were asked to share their name, email address, phone number, and other basic information to participate in the giveaway. In the end, the company not only succeeded in receiving feedback of their new candy flavor but also got access to email addresses of many fans and followers allowing them to engage with them frequently.

The same tactic was also used by Josh Earl, a freelance writer and programmer. He had a list of 5,500 email subscribers for his text editor called the Sublime Text. However, he wanted to acquire more subscribers and for that, he created a giveaway in which a free license for Sublime Text (priced at $70) was offered. After just 11 days of promoting the giveaway, Josh managed to acquire 187,991 email addresses along with 398,896 visitors on his website.

Optimize email for mobile phones

Did you know that 36% of emails are opened from smartphones? And if your email newsletter is not optimized to be open on mobile phones, chances are it might stay in the customer’s inbox for many days.

Think about it, if your email lists accounts for $100,000 in sales each month, can you afford to lose $44,000 just because your email does not look appropriate on a mobile phone.

Thus, make sure your email is designed in such a way that the text and images are easily scanned from mobile devices. The call-to-action buttons should also be visible and easy to tap. Additionally, ensure that you follow the guidelines of different mobile phones.

Re-engage with inactive visitors

Congratulations, you have succeeded in growing your email list. However, have you ever noticed how many inactive recipients are there on your list? Research shows that average inactivity for an email list is 63 percent. This means that most of the recipients of your email don’t follow up. Well, the best way to interact with them and keep them interested is to re-engage with them by sending them a follow-up email.

Additionally, don’t forget to welcome new visitors by sending out a welcome email. This not only shows a friendly gesture on your part but is also a powerful way to set expectations.

Re-check before you hit send

Once the ‘send’ button is tapped, nothing can be undone. This is why it is important that you re-check all aspects of your email before sending it out. Is the layout correct? Are the font and images set in proportion? Have you ran spelling and grammar check?

Make sure that you check everything and then send out your email to minimize the occurrence of any errors.

Develop a better email strategy

Discussed here were just some basic tips that you can apply to your email marketing strategy. With the right fundamentals in place, we are sure your emails will get better results and perform better. Good luck and do let us know how your email marketing strategy works.

AUTHOR BIO

ABOUT Alycia Gordan

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness, and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia

Why Buy New When Slightly Used Will Do? The Pros & Cons of Buying an Existing Website

Image Credit: Pexels via Pixabay

Starting your own online business is an attractive idea for many aspiring entrepreneurs. After all, the ideal scenario is that you can run your business from anywhere in the world, with minimal running costs, and access to a global audience.

Of course, these things are rarely as straightforward as you might hope, and the time, energy, and resources required to establish a new brand can be substantial. You need to choose a suitable niche, understand your audience, scope out the competition, and then create an attractive, functional website. And all this comes before you’ve even begun to attract a following, let alone make any sales.

On the other hand, you could take on an existing website, and build your brand from there. Whether you choose to turn around a struggling business, or purchase a successful online store and help it to grow further, this strategy is a helpful alternative for anyone who feels underprepared to simply start from scratch.

Even so, there are two sides to every coin, and while there are many benefits to taking on an established website, there are also potential drawbacks. So to help you reach a decision, here are some of the primary advantages and disadvantages to skipping ahead and building your brand on a pre-existing business.

Startup Capital

Launching a startup requires capital. Yet, while this sum can be kept relatively low, depending on how you structure your initial marketing and content delivery, you will always be gambling that capital on the success of your business.

However, the same applies to some extent when purchasing a business. Depending on the prior success of your chosen website, the initial costs could be even higher than those of simply launching your own site. And of course, there is still the risk that your investment could be lost if things do not work out.

The difference with making a purchase of this nature is that you can make a more informed decision about the potential value of your investment. Looking at the website’s history, and conducting your own research into its potential for growth can give you a comprehensive insight into the worth of an online store at any point in time. Don’t be afraid to ask the owner these questions if you cannot access the information you require.

If you are purchasing an ecommerce store via a verified website marketplace, you can even investigate past transactions involving that website, as well as prices paid for stores with a similar profile. This can help you to avoid paying over the odds for a website, and get a sense of the earning potential of a struggling business should you choose to take it on.

Pre-Existing Content

One of the strongest arguments for purchasing a website is that it should come with a body of content already in place. This can save you a huge amount of time and effort in the early days, as your website will already have useful information for visitors to browse when they find your site.

This content can even help to boost your search engine rankings, not only through the age of the site itself, but by providing a selection of relevant, engaging content which will help guide people to your site, or even to a specific section of your online store.

However, it is vital to perform a content audit when taking on a website. Not only do you need to know the age, subject, and performance of existing content, but you will also need to verify that it will have a positive impact on your SEO.

This means checking it uses the correct keywords for your niche, and that it is accurate, timely, and original. Plagiarism can be extremely damaging not only to your rankings, but to your brand’s reputation, so be certain to vet all existing content thoroughly when taking over a website. Tools like Small SEO’s Plagiarism Checker can help you with this.

Naturally, the problem then becomes that additional time is expended checking through old content, instead of creating new. However, this can still be a worthy investment, providing the bulk of that content is usable. Furthermore, some items may be suitable for reworking into other forms, giving you the additional benefit of a range of free, easy-to-implement content ideas.

Once again, you should investigate the website before making an offer, so you have a firm sense of the work required to make it profitable.

Do you need a logo for your website? Why not give a online logo creator  a go?

An Established Reputation

When choosing whether to purchase a website, you will also want to investigate whether it has any additional accounts connected with it, such as social media pages, or storefronts on global marketplaces.

Not only does this help you to determine how much work will go into maintaining the business’ current level of activity, but it can also give you an insight into its reputation. This, in turn, will inform your marketing decisions during the transition into your ownership.

For example, a successful, popular business with good reviews and a loyal following may expect things to stay largely the same when you take control of the website. However, if you choose to take on a website with a bad reputation, more work may be required to win the trust of your followers, and reverse any negative social proof.

Fortunately, you can make a big impact in this area in a relatively short amount of time by being as vocal as possible about the change of ownership. Seek feedback, and interact honestly with your audience. This will reinforce that you have their interests at heart, and that you seek to change the business for the better. The news may even spark the return of former customers, keen to find out how things have changed.

Traffic & Revenue Streams

Building your audience and steady revenue streams can be tough when you are new to the world of ecommerce. However, with an established website you can grow your business from the traffic and sources of revenue already in place.

The important thing to remember is that you need to be sure that the sources of traffic and revenue are in line with your business aspirations. Look into the website’s history to ascertain whether the traffic is steady, or has been artificially inflated by a recent spike. You should also research the variety of demographics that comprise the existing audience.

Depending on your plans for the business and any changes to its practices, you may find that you are no longer catering to the same audience. This again will likely mean extra work reaching out to potential consumers in a manner that suits their needs, and your business model.

Experience & Originality

If you have never run an ecommerce store before, purchasing an existing business could be a good way to get a sense of how things work, and build upon a successful model, rather than having to start from scratch with no experience.

However, the flipside to this is that without experience, you could find that an established online store comes with greater demands from its customers. While much of the initial legwork has already been done for you, to ensure the continued success of the brand, you will need to be able to meet consumer expectations. Too many changes too soon could risk costing you a proportion of your audience.

Meanwhile, the more established and recognized the brand that you purchase, the harder it can be to leave your own stamp upon it. This can be fine if you are happy to build upon an idea that was not your own. However, if you seek to create something completely original, you may find that attempting to do so via an existing business holds you back.

Part of the problem may be that your ideas simply don’t gel with the existing business model, or established policies. This could then either mean extra work adjusting these to suit your aspirations, or having to compromise on your vision.

Alternatively, you might find that your fresh point of view, and commitment to your concepts for the business are just what’s needed to breathe new life into an existing brand. As ever, the key is to conduct careful research before making your purchase, so you know what to expect, and where improvements could be made.

Image Credit: StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay

Whether you set up your own business, or decide to invest in a website that is already in existence, you should work to ensure your own aspirations are not lost along the way. It is your business, after all, so don’t be afraid to shake things up, and make your mark on it.

There are pros and cons to both choices, but if you have any uncertainties, you may be safer investing in a business that has already make it through the early stages of its life. Keep the guidance above in mind, and remember that it is only through continuous testing and improvement that any online business can be sustained.

Nevertheless, if you are prepared to give a pre-owned business the time and attention it needs to thrive, you can not only make it your own, but leave a mark on the industry that will boost your reputation, and your confidence for future endeavors.

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and how writers can hone their craft. She is passionate about using her experience to help other businesses grow their online brands through great content.

How to Get Backlinks That Really Increase Traffic

Backlinks are active hyperlinks that, when they are on different websites, link to the original Internet resource. Often, the text of such links is a search query, which is used to optimize the site in search engines.

There are many advisers on the Internet, who truly believe, if you write a good content, the followers and customers will stand in a line to buy from you. In some cases, it’s really so, but if you expect that readers will “self-refer” to your site, then to get several thousand subscribers, you will have to wait months, if not years. How is it possible to get backlinks without spending a few hours in a day? Just follow these 5 points listed below and you will begin to notice the increase in the traffic.

Tip 1: Answer questions in blogs and services where people seek help.

All you need is to search the questions on your topic in the different searching engines using related keywords. Then after getting hundreds, if not thousands of questions, you can start answering them. If you have an article or blog that will help people to find the appropriate answer, you can provide a link.

Nevertheless, it should be understood that you shouldn’t paste a link to the site just for the sake of reference. Of course, you won’t be willing your answer to look like cheap spam. Remember, only if the answer is really useful and the main aim is to help this option will attract targeted traffic.

Tip 2: Share links to thematic forums and portals

Have you ever used forums to create the links? Mostly often marketers are afraid to use this method due to the risk being fined by Google. I would like to destroy the delusion. If you participate in forums on the topic and don’t paste spam in the answers, you have nothing to worry about.

Answering the topics of the forums, follow the same principles that are stated above. The answer should be useful and reference to your site should really make sense. When adding a link to your site, do not overuse the anchor text.

 Tip 3: Link to relevant sites

I know this may sound crazy, but links to other sites in your own materials are a great way to create backlinks. For example, you can create a post in which you need to insert the links to other sites (ideally at least 20). Moreover, you’ll need to do several things:

Visit each of these sites and find email addresses of employees. If you cannot find the address of a particular employee of the marketing department, you can always look at the email in the “contact us” section on the site. Then send a message in which you thank for a valuable resource and tell that you simply could not help sharing it in your blog. In the letter, specify a link to your blog too.

Do not expect that people will massively share links to your site. Of course, if the tip in your article is really strong, some will share the link in an organic way, but this will be less than 5% of the audience. Approximately 20-25% of those to whom you sent a letter will share your link on Twitter, Facebook or Facebook. When the post goes viral you’ll get the desired backlinks on your page.

 Tip 4: Write reviews on your topic

Do you know which posts on the Internet are the most popular and collect a huge number of links? Of course, the expert reviews on the topic. Think about writing one of these posts. All you need is to find several experts and their opinions (for example, video) on one particular topic. Uncover their point of view in the perspective of your own. It is not necessary to write devastating/negative articles. On the contrary, write it in a positive way. Then refer to these experts, as in the previous tip.

Tip 5: Stay active on social media

Use every chance to establish long-lasting contact with the audience. Whether you have written a blog or an article – post it on all social media, where you’ve marked your presence. Remember, you should use only the appropriate format for each of them. The more buzz you will create around your brand, the more will be your chances to get noticed.

Conclusion

Creating a quality product or service, writing quality content can’t guarantee that people will refer to you or your content. If you want to receive backlinks and, more importantly, generate traffic, you need to be active. You need to promote yourself and everything you are doing. If you try the methods described above, then in addition to the growth in the number of backlinks (and as a consequence, search traffic), there will also be an increase in referral traffic. If you have any question or queries don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Your comment matters to us.

About Author:

Ashish Sharma is the Chief Marketing Officer at WeDigTech, a Mobile App Development Company in LA California US. He is responsible for marketing activities that have to do with creating, communicating and delivering offerings that have value for clients or business partners.