What's The Right Way to Respond to Online Reviews?
Consumers have more ways to make their voice heard than ever, thanks to social media and dedicated review sites (e.g. Trustpilot, Yelp). Whether their experience is good, bad, or somewhere in between, a customer can tell the whole world about it within a few clicks.
And one person’s review can influence another’s decision more than some businesses may realize. A massive 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from their friends — so negative feedback could push them towards a competitor even if they have no way to verify a reviewer’s claims.
But the way in which a business handles a review can also make a difference to consumers.
More than 50% of people expect to hear back from a brand within seven days of writing a review, especially if it’s critical or negative. And creating that response is an opportunity to win (or restore) the reviewer’s trust — and potentially make a positive impact on other consumers at the same time.
In this post, we’ll explore the right way to respond to online reviews as a key part of your ongoing online reputation management strategy.
Address reviewers by name to show you value your customers
A generic, automated response to a review suggests your business places little value on feedback, the customer’s experience, and the perception other consumers may have of your company.
To get off on the right foot, start by writing the reviewer’s name as you would at the beginning of an email or letter. Keep it simple. Keep it friendly, no matter the nature of the complaint. For example:
It’s a tiny part of your response — but it should make the customer feel seen and valued.
Always be gracious for the time a reviewer has invested into communicating with your business
Expressing gratitude might not be your immediate concern when you read a negative (or even slightly critical) review for the first time. You and your employees work hard to provide products or services of the highest standard — and it can be hugely frustrating to see someone complaining about them in a public forum.
But you MUST bear in mind that the reviewer has taken the time to think about their feedback, write it, and post it. They may have done this because they want to:
So as hard as it may be, take a moment to thank the reviewer at the beginning of your review. This is especially important if the customer’s tone is impolite or even aggressive, to show your business is keen to avoid a heated argument.
And this leads nicely onto our next tip …
Resist the urge to respond in an angry or argumentative tone
Consumers checking reviews want to learn more about your business before they buy from you. They want to know that your company is professional, reliable, and responds to reviewers in a responsible manner.
They DON’T want to see your team hurling abuse at someone who wrote a negative review on Yelp or Facebook.
Not only will you come across as unprofessional and potentially untrustworthy, but they’ll wonder what sort of treatment they can expect if they do business with you.
Maintain a courteous tone at all times when you respond to online reviews. Even if that’s difficult. Even if you want to tell a reviewer EXACTLY what you think of them.
Your anger will pass over time. But the negative impression you make on a prospective customer may not.
Be apologetic if your business has genuinely made a mistake or treated a consumer badly
Even the biggest businesses in the world can make mistakes and prompt customers to look elsewhere.
Perhaps a product purchased as a gift for a special occasion arrives weeks later than it should have and the buyer is rightly frustrated. Maybe a hotel has no record of a guest’s booking even though they paid for their stay days earlier. Or it could be any number of other oversights.
Whatever the situation, you MUST apologize to the reviewer sincerely early in your response. Fight the temptation to unload the blame onto the customer: accept responsibility, explain what went wrong (if possible), and detail actions taken to prevent this mistake from happening again.
The reviewer is likely to appreciate your apology and may be convinced to do business with you again if they see that you genuinely want to do better. It may also build trust and credibility with prospective customers as they research your company.
Invite reviewers to contact you through another channel for further discussion if necessary
You can only say so much on a review site. You might feel that a customer’s feedback warrants a more detailed discussion, especially if you believe their details are inaccurate or they’re maliciously spreading lies about your business.
In either case, invite the reviewer to contact you by email or some other way for a private chat. And if you believe the reviewer is deliberately lying about a negative experience, dispute their claims in your response — but in a professional manner.
For example: “our night manager made a record of your conversation and the solutions they offered to help you, and we believe this may contrast with your claims. Please contact me directly so we can discuss this further. Thank you.”
Direct communication with a disgruntled customer, whether or not their dissatisfaction is justified, could lead to a mutually satisfactory conclusion. They may share their experience with you on social media, building brand awareness and showing your business in a positive light.
The right way to respond to online reviews may not always be the easiest, but taking the time to do it properly can pay off.
Never underestimate the importance of effective online reputation management to your business’s success. And to discover how Reputation Mart can help to protect your reputation, get in touch with our friendly team today!
5 Tips to Engage Your Audience in Your PPC Campaigns
An engaged prospect is more likely to click on your ad and visit your site. That’s where a killer landing page will convert them from a curious shopper into a motivated buyer.
But engaging your target users in the first place is tough, especially in highly competitive markets.
You need to stand out, grab them by the scruff of their neck, and make them realize your ad is the ONLY one they need to click on.
How do you do that?
Here are 5 tips to help you engage your audience in your PPC campaigns and achieve better results.
Take a closer look at your audience to develop a deeper understanding of your target customers
You can’t bring your ideal customer what they’re looking for if you don’t know that that is. Sounds obvious? It is.
But your current understanding of your audience might not be as deep as it could be.
Yes, you might know you’re looking for buyers in their twenties and thirties with lots of disposable income to spend on gym clothes. But do you know what fabrics they like best? Do you know which manufacturers are the most ethical in sourcing their materials and paying their workers? And do you know what other gear they take to the gym?
Answering any of these questions will give you a deeper insight into your buyers and help you appeal to them further.
And pay attention to the different demographics within your audience. To stick with the gym example, perhaps you could start targeting older shoppers who want to wear more conservative clothing while they work out. Or try stocking smaller gym gear for fitness fanatics who want to get their kids involved.
Define different audience segments and start building PPC campaigns to reach them. Use comprehensive personas to create ads tailored to their pain points, goals, values, etc.
Invest more time into your ad copy to maximize brand appeal
No business can afford to skimp on ad copy in their pay-per-click ads. Words matter. Language matters. Tone matters.
Go back to your audience research and buyer personas. Think about your target demographics. What ad copy seems most appropriate to each segment? What would they consider a turn-on and turn-off?
For example, let’s say you run a yacht hire business. Your ideal customer is unlikely to find “cheap” or “lowest prices guaranteed” attractive — “luxury”, “premium”, or “exclusive” would make a bigger impact.
But if you’re targeting a more mainstream shopper, “save”, “free,” and “discount” can all leap off the page. You MUST honour these promises, though. Prospects may abandon your site if they realize a freebie or discount isn’t what they expect.
Look at your highest-performing competitors’ ads. Study their language and tone. Do they use a humorous style to break the ice and create a friendly persona? Or do they opt for a more formal approach?
Think about how you can improve on their ads with your own, based on your in-depth audience insights.
Experiment with eye-catching images and videos across social media
More than 3.5 billion people worldwide use social media, and 11 newcomers join every second. That’s why every business NEEDS to invest more time and resources into building an active social media presence.
While social PPC is incredibly competitive, using visual content is one of the most effective ways to engage audiences and gain a foothold.
Images and videos stand out more than text-based posts on Facebook and Twitter. But Instagram and TikTok both revolve around visual content, so creating impactful ads on these channels is even more difficult.
Here are a few things to remember when experimenting with images and videos:
Incentivize users to click through to your site and convert
Engage your audience and motivate them to click on your ads with simple but effective incentives.
For example, free shipping is increasingly important. Around 90 percent of shoppers claim that free shipping meant more to them than fast shipping (particularly around the holidays), and more than 60 percent would not pay more for expedited delivery anyway.
Another option is to offer discounts, even if only 10 or 20 percent. Customers may click on your ad if you stock the same products they can find elsewhere at a slightly lower price.
Speaking of prices, including costs in your PPC ads can increase their appeal. Visually, numbers break up text and help ads stand out.
But only include prices if you know they’re competitive — avoid them if you know other businesses might run ads featuring lower rates near yours.
And include words that inspire a sense of urgency, e.g. “limited”, “must go”, “clearance”. Prospects may be motivated to click through if they feel your offers are time-sensitive.
Take advantage of sitelinks to boost your ads’ appeal
One final quick tip: include sitelinks in ads to boost audience engagement in your PPC campaigns.
These bring extra content to your ads in the form of links to various pages on your site. They can show off different categories, and take customers directly to pages they might be interested in. This can help your ads stand out from those without sitelinks and contribute to a smoother customer experience.
You could include links to Top Sellers, Holiday Sales, Shipping FAQs, What Makes Us Special, or any other page you believe customers will be looking for. Consider what steps you want users to take when your ad appears and help them do so with clearly titled sitelinks.
Follow these 5 tips to engage your audience in your PPC campaigns more effectively.
And if you want to take your paid ads to the next level, our PPC experts are here to help. Contact us today to discover what we can do for you!
Online Reputation Management: Expectations vs. Reality
With more than 85 percent of shoppers starting product searches online, a positive reputation has never been more important.
Too many negative reviews could chase prospects away to your competitors and cost you valuable conversions.
But effective online reputation management can make a difference: a skilled team will cultivate a more positive perception of your business, and boost your appeal in even the most crowded marketplace.
However, some business owners and executives underestimate the importance of online reputation management. They may miss out on its benefits because of certain misconceptions.
Here are four common examples — and why they’re wrong.
Your business is too small for online reputation management
Every business can benefit from online reputation management. As we’ve already established, the majority of consumers begin product searches online. Even if they think a local brick-and-mortar shop may carry the goods they want to buy, they’re still likely to check for a better deal online.
Let’s say a customer in the market for hand-made men’s shoes, just like those you offer, comes across your small company. They like the look of your products, and your website appears credible. But they look up your reviews before they buy, just for their peace of mind.
And because you run such a small business, you only have three reviews online. All of which are poor.
The customer looks elsewhere but finds no other information about the quality of your shoes or your service.
What else can they do to learn more about you? The only impartial details they can find are negative. They may take a chance on your business and hope for the best, but in the end, they could choose a competitor stocking similar shoes at the same price.
With online reputation management, that customer would be able to find more information about your company during their research stage. Positive information highlighting the quality of your products, adding credibility to your growing brand, and increasing the likelihood of a conversion.
You should just ignore negative reviews
Sadly, bad reviews won’t vanish if you ignore them. They’ll stay on TrustPilot, Google, and other review sites (unless you can have them removed for breaching guidelines).
But a key part of online reputation management is monitoring reviews and responding to them. The good and the bad.
Why? Because customers want to know that you care.
According to research by Forrester, more than 70 percent say that the most important thing a business can do to deliver quality service online is to value a customer’s time.
At the very least, responding to a review shows the individual responsible that you have recognized their feedback. But if you respond to their review in a professional way, perhaps by apologizing for their negative experience, they may still give your business another chance.
And, crucially, other prospective and existing customers will see your response too. If they like your tone and accountability, their trust in your company is likely to increase.
You can’t get customers to write reviews
You need positive reviews to build credibility and trust. But how can you get people to write them for you?
It’s easy: just ask.
But it’s only that simple if you provide customers with service of the highest standard. Service so good they have no reason to even look at your competitors’ websites. Service you’d love to receive yourself.
And delivering an outstanding customer experience depends on understanding your customers. Research your target audience, their buying habits, their budgets, their goals. The more you know about them, the better you can meet their needs — and exceed them.
Another essential part of asking consumers to review your business, products, and/or services? Make it simple.
Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to complete a five-page questionnaire about your buying experience and write about the quality of the service in detail?
Or would you rather type a few lines, give a star rating, and hit ‘submit’?
The faster and easier the review process is, the more likely a customer is to help you. Especially if you’ve earned their loyalty.
You only need social media accounts if your audience is young
Social media is a core aspect of good online reputation management. But don’t buy into the myth that it’s just for Gen Z and Millennials: research by Global Web Index shows that baby boomers use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube in high numbers.
You can reach audiences on social media through paid and organic posts. Each type is important in online reputation management. And people may comment on both, offering praise or criticism. That’s why you should always monitor public feedback.
Do people like an ad? Do people find that new blog post you shared on Facebook to be offensive in some way? Has someone thanked you for taking the time to create a tutorial video?
Be available to interact with social media users quickly: 84 percent of consumers expect a response within 24 hours.
Reviews on social media play a major role in online reputation management too. Customers can rate your business on Facebook (for example), providing others with an at-a-glance insight.
Building a large collection of positive social media reviews will help to secure trust from newcomers, so invite consumers to leave feedback for you. It’ll take seconds.
Prospects may head to your social media after (or before) they visit your website. Expect them to scroll through your posts and your interactions with followers.
A good, active social media account could help to drive traffic to your site and encourage conversions. A bad one could put prospects within moments.
Online reputation management can improve public perception of your business, help people find more information on your products/services, and build your credibility over time.
But managing your own online reputation may be difficult, especially when you’re trying to run a successful enterprise.
So, let Reputation Mart handle it for you.
We use proven methodologies to get more real reviews from your customers and help your company grow fast.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with our experts now!
You Don't Have To Be A Big Corporation To Start with Online Reputation Management
Why is a solid online business reputation more important than ever?
Because the Internet has empowered consumers.
Anyone with an internet connection can write reviews that countless potential customers may see before they choose to do business with your company.
They can post unflattering videos about your products on YouTube. Or construct a critique of your services on their personal blog. Or share their own negative experience with your company on social media and bring your inferior customer experience to much wider attention.
And the fallout could be devastating.
More than 60 percent of people consider online search the most trusted source of information related to businesses. Two negative reviews on the first results page will cost a company 44 percent of customers — and this rises to more than 59 percent with three negative articles.
So, it’s not just global corporations serving millions of consumers that need to worry about their online reputation. Even the smallest company could be affected by poor reviews or articles.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is the practice of cultivating a positive perception of your business on the Internet through various techniques.
A huge corporation may implement an online reputation management strategy to mitigate the negative impact of, say, a viral video that shows an executive excessively berating an entry-level employee for the most minor of reasons.
The brand may amend their current content marketing strategy to push their charity campaigns or their dedication to creating a more comfortable working environment for employees at all levels. This might encompass blog posts, videos, social media posts, interviews at popular news sites, and more.
Over time, this could help to improve the public’s view of the corporation — and win back customers.
How can this help small businesses?
Encourage consumers to focus on the positives
One of the chief benefits of a well-planned, well-executed online reputation management strategy is that consumers will be presented with more positive results when they search for your company.
This isn’t to say that pages carrying negative information on your brand will vanish. But prospective and existing customers will get to see the best of your business, not the worst.
Gain a competitive edge and set your business apart
Let’s say your company launches a new charity campaign to help feed disadvantaged children. This would be a fantastic way to improve lives, and could remind people that your business is operated by a team of real people with a real concern for others.
Consumers may feel inspired to purchase your products/services over a competitor’s, and a couple of bad reviews published a year earlier might not seem so important in comparison.
Build trust with new customers
More than 90 percent of people read online reviews regularly, and 84 percent trust them as much as a personal recommendation.
A customer who comes looking for insights into your business could try a competitor if they encounter several negative reviews. But an effective online reputation management strategy will help to bring more positive reviews and coverage higher up the first results page.
This means you could build trust with new customers more quickly and easily.
How can you start with online reputation management?
Don’t have the same budget for online reputation management as Apple, Microsoft, or Facebook?
Don’t worry — you don’t need to.
Small- and medium-sized businesses can get their strategy off to a great start with these techniques:
Be more active on social media
Social media is a fantastic resource for brand research. Users can discover:
They can learn a lot about your business within a few moments, especially if people have written reviews (such as on Facebook).
You need to be as active on social media as you can. Post valuable content that helps customers get more out of your products or services, or that aligns with your brand values.
Respond to customers fast to show that you value their interest and aim to deliver a quality experience. And definitelydon’t argue with users criticising your brand. Stay professional and remember that others can see what you write in public posts.
Start publishing blog posts regularly
Writing blog posts multiple times per week will provide search engines with fresh content to index and help to improve your rankings when you use quality keywords.
Well-written, valuable posts can demonstrate thought leadership, earn trust, generate backlinks, and increase the likelihood of customers finding positive results when they search for you.
Claim your business on local review sites
Claim your business on Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and other local review sites to stay aware of new mentions.
This reduces the risk of negative reviews building up and enables you to write prompt responses that may contextualize poor feedback.
Ask customers to leave reviews
Invite customers to leave reviews following a transaction, either through the order confirmation screen or an automated email. Be polite and non-intrusive. Explain that an honest review will help your brand grow, whether it’s good or bad.
You and your team should feel motivated to keep delivering the best possible customer experience when you’re inviting every single one to publish public feedback.
Own mistakes and offer apologies
Never blame customers outright for a negative experience. Apologize sincerely that they were disappointed with your products or service.
It’s important that you admit to mistakes that cause issues, whether a software glitch delays shipping or a lack of training means employees make recurrent errors. Address how your business plans to avoid these problems in the future, offer discounts or freebies to those affected, and move on.
Work with professionals
Working with experts is the simplest way to implement an effective online reputation management. The right team will understand your business, identify the challenges you face, and leverage various techniques to improve your online reputation.
Want to discuss your needs with Reputation Mart’s specialists? Get in touch now!
How online reputation management helps SEO: Beginner's Guide 2021
Online reputation management is vital to ensure consumers have, and maintain, a positive perception of your business.
You don’t want prospects to research your brand and hit a wall of negative reviews from disgruntled buyers. That could inspire doubt in your credibility and encourage them to try a competitor instead.
This is a real issue when an amazing 91 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 84 percent trust these as much as personal recommendations.
Effective online reputation management controls the way in which your brand appears on search engine result pages, and encourages prospects to trust you.
But online reputation management can also aid your SEO campaign and boost your visibility. How?
Create valuable content to build credibility and authority
One of the most important elements of an effective online reputation management strategy is publishing quality content. This encompasses blog posts, articles, press releases, how-to guides/tutorials, interviews, and more.
And this is a key aspect of a good SEO strategy too. Why?
For several reasons, including:
high-quality backlinks suggest to Google that your site is credible and trustworthy, so the more backlinks you can create through content, the better.
Boosting visibility through strategic keywords
Well-researched, carefully-selected keywords are crucial to boosting your visibility through valuable content. Implementing various keywords relevant to your products, services, and customer needs will help prospects find the right content to capture their interest.
Establish thought leadership
Thought leadership is a powerful addition to your online reputation management strategy, especially for B2B brands. More than 60 percent of decision-makers are willing to pay premium prices to do business with a company demonstrating thought leadership.
Thought leadership content helps to establish you as an authority in your industry/niche, and can make your online reputation more positive over time.
So, focus on publishing more high-quality content to increase your visibility across various formats (blog posts, how-to guides, etc.). Just make sure you prioritize relevance: use customer/buyer personas to understand the type of topics you need to cover to appeal to target specific audience segments.
Spread your brand across reputable sites to increase visibility and expand your audience
Another way to improve your online reputation and SEO at the same time is to make a presence across different credible websites.
Ideally, this should be a site related to your industry, products/services, or customers in some way. But, obviously, never a competitor.
For example, publishing guest blog posts on industry news sites or a respected blog is a fantastic option. This will introduce your brand to the site’s established audience and include at least one valuable link back to your website.
Anyone who enjoys your post may click through to explore your products or services — and potentially support you with a purchase, subscription, etc.
Readers might also take advantage of social buttons to share the post with their friends/followers on one or more networks. This would put your brand in front of users who might never have been aware of it otherwise, and lead to further shares across Facebook, Twitter, etc. You could reach a whole new audience all from a single post.
When people search for your business online, they’ll be likely to form a positive perception if they find it connected to well-written content on reputable websites. Good feedback from readers in the comments section and visible social shares will only add to your credibility further.
The same is true if they search for your brand on social networks and encounter praise-packed posts discussing your content. Which leads us neatly to the next point …
Expand your social presence to reach new audience segments and earn trust
While Google doesn’t take social media followers or shares into consideration when ranking web properties, social networks can still make a huge impact on your online reputation and SEO.
Why? Because a strong social presence adds to your credibility when users head straight to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to research your brand. Consumers connecting with companies on social networks are often loyal customers, with around 90 percent buying from them.
People want to see that your brand interacts with followers frequently, responds to queries/comments, and has positive reviews from existing/previous customers. Prospects may see the amount of quality feedback your brand has received and think if other people have trusted these guys, why shouldn’t I?
The best way to build a library of glowing reviews is to deliver the best consumer experience you can, throughout the entire customer journey. But even if you do receive negative feedback from time to time, do your best to control this.
Comment on posts, apologize, and invite the reviewer to contact your business via another channel so you can understand why they’re dissatisfied. This demonstrates that your company takes customer feedback seriously and wants to provide a quality experience.
Also, make sure your social profiles are consistent with your branding in all respects, from the language and tone to visuals and keywords. This helps you to develop a cohesive, consistent online presence, and enables search engines to return the most relevant results when users look for information on your brand.
Another essential rule of using social media for online reputation management and SEO is to share all of your content with visually-striking posts to boost engagement. If you can encourage people to click through to the content and link to it on their own sites, blog posts, or videos, the more visible it will become.
How can you build an online reputation management strategy that achieves the results you need?
Reducing the visibility of negative press or feedback with an effective online reputation management strategy is easier said than done — especially for startups or businesses with little experience in the mechanics of search engines.
That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced team offering bespoke online reputation management for businesses in diverse industries/niches.
What advantages can you expect when you trust specialists to handle your online reputation management? Get in touch with Reputation Mart’s experts today to find out!
6 Best Practices to Help You Get Your Online Reputation Management Strategy Right
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
— Warren Buffett, investor and philanthropist
What do you see when you Google your business?
Hopefully, it's all good. Because any negative reviews or bad press could have a bigger impact than you realize.
Stats like this prove no business can afford to underestimate the value of a good online reputation management strategy. And here are six best practices to help you get yours right.
1. Track the conversation to stay on top of feedback
Monitoring what people say about you online — across social media and review sites — is fundamental for any effective online reputation strategy. 45 percent of consumers have found a reason to avoid a business during an online search, so if there’s something toxic out there, you need to know about it.
Set up alerts for any mention of your brand to receive up-to-the-minute updates whenever new reviews or critical posts go live. Respond to the review or post — but only in a calm, rational, professional way. Share your side of the story and invite those responsible to get in touch for a deeper discussion. Always thank reviewers for taking the time to post their views, too.
This can create a balanced view of your business and help put negative feedback in context. Existing and prospective customers may appreciate your mature response, prompting them to do more research before deciding whether to choose a different brand.
2. Cultivate a positive image
Create a wealth of quality, high-value content across different sites. Post:
Connecting your company to lots of quality content will help it look better: the aim is to position your business as a knowledgeable, experienced and prolific player in the market.
And if you can create enough quality content and positive stories about your brand, pages carrying negative views may be pushed further down the results over time.
3. Know Your Audience
Interacting with followers on social media, forums and comments sections is a must. But it’s vital to invest time into defining and understanding the audience first.
Why? So you don’t misread context or appear unprofessional by adopting a lighthearted approach when it’s inappropriate.
Using the right tone can help engage readers more deeply and demonstrate your brand’s commitment to building relationships with consumers. Never post any rude or aggressive comments, and avoid belittling competing (or even non-competing) brands.
All interactions should be considered carefully and contribute to maintaining a positive reputation.
4. Be consistent with your brand voicing
Your company should be recognizable across different platforms and content types. Videos, blog posts, articles, social media posts, podcasts — anything and everything must be consistent.
Consumers need to feel they’re speaking to the same business over email as they are on Facebook. Customers may feel confused and alienated If they’re addressed politely through one but not another. Such inconsistency can turn them off your brand in the long run.
Creating buyer personas helps achieve consistency and authenticity, by identifying the type of people you’re looking to convert. You can use this information to establish the right voice — i may evolve over time, but it should do so consistently.
5. Learn, Adapt and Grow
Your business isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have to be. But it does need to be accountable and flexible when issues surface.
We’ve already established that responding to good and bad feedback alike is key. But it shouldn’t just be for show. Actually listen to consumers, hear what they have to say and understand how their input can help your brand improve.
For example, if a buyer complains about slow delivery and poor packaging, think about how that can change. After all, people want the goods they’ve paid for in a reasonable time and expect them to arrive in good condition. Issues in either area suggest your current order fulfilment process demands attention.
In this case, paying attention to criticism creates a valuable opportunity to take your business to the next level and deliver a stronger customer experience. Explain this in your response to the individual(s) voicing their frustrations and outline which changes you’re making to ensure the same mistakes don’t happen again.
This makes customers feel more valued and shows that you’re willing to adapt to be at your best.
6. Update Brand Information and Contact Details Regularly
Stay on top of your business’s information and contact details to ensure credibility. Customers who try to reach out to you but discover your email address no longer exists or the phone number on your site has been disconnected will wonder how legitimate you are.
The same is true of your social media accounts, too. Don’t leave your presence on Facebook, Twitter and other networks to fade. Questions and criticisms with no response from your business suggest your brand places no value in engaging with followers.
50 percent of consumers believe companies should be contactable 24/7. This is tough (if not impossible) for startups with skeleton crews, but virtual assistants, comprehensive FAQs and how-to videos can all offer customer support without real staff input.
Follow these six tips to build and maintain an effective online reputation management strategy. Keeping customers satisfied and positioning your brand as one that puts customers first is critical to competing in a crowded marketplace.
Want to work with a professional team of experts for best results? Get in touch with Reputation Mart to learn how we can take your online reputation to the next level right now.
7 Most Important Elements in a Successful PPC Campaign
Struggling to boost your business’s visibility and reach your target customers?
Falling behind your competitors in the SERPs can be frustrating and, frankly, exhausting. You invest time, blood, sweat and the proverbial tears into making an impact in your sector. But you still can’t quite reach the top.
That’s where an effective PPC campaign comes in.
But you still need to put the right pieces into place before you can expect to see real results. What does that mean?
Let’s explore the 7 most important elements in any successful PPC campaign.
1. Getting Your Budget Right
Just because you may not be able to afford the same large-scale PPC options as bigger brands doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact. .Any reliable digital marketing team offering PPC serviceswill make a bespoke PPC campaign work with your budget.
But you should finalize your budget before you get started. Understand how much you can afford to spend on paid ads each day and what you should realistically expect in return for your investment.
This will help you maximize the money available to you.
2. Proper Keyword Research
Effective keyword research means defining the search terms your audience will use when looking for relevant products/services.
It’s not about cramming so many keywords into your ad copy it becomes hard to read. It’s about matching your ad to the phrases your ideal customers enter into search engines.
You need to take the time to consider the most popular keywords and phrases for your business. Don’t rush into the most competitive ones until you know exactly how to use them to your advantage. Often, it’s best to start small and experiment until you find your PPC feet.
3. Engaging Ad Copy
Words matter. It’s that simple.
Creating PPC ads with poor text reduces the potential to catch prospects’ eye as they scour results pages. Your ad may get lost among so many well-written alternatives.
Every word counts. Use numbers to break the text up (‘50% off’, ‘save $100’) and add sitelinks to promote key sections of your site. Make it easier for potential customers to see why your business is the smartest choice to solve their problem.
4. Relevant Landing Pages that Deliver on Promises
When a user clicks on your ad, they want to learn more about the advertised products or services. Any items or sales promoted must be covered in the landing page to hold their interest.
But focus each page on one offer only — too many can decrease your conversion rate by over 200 percent.
Imagine how frustrated you’d feel if you clicked on an ad and found it had essentially lied to you. Would you forgive the brand and stay on its site? Or would you click back and try one of the other ads instead?
That’s why any landing pages attached to your ads must deliver. Taking customers’ trust for granted is one of the biggest PPC mistakesyou can make.
Make sure they’re well-written, clean and show the visitor what’s expected of them. Should they provide their email address to download their free ebook? Can they go directly to the relevant product page by clicking a button?
Remember: your landing page should lead the prospect to the next step of their customer journey with effortless fluidity.
5. Testing Different Ads
A/B testing is a tried-and-true method for creating the most effective PPC ads.
What does that mean? It’s simple. Create two ads with slight differences in the following features:
You may want to try different voices or offers. You might vary your layout or vocabulary. Run both ads for a set period (two weeks, say) and analyze their performance to identify the most successful option.
You can learn a lot about your target audience’s preferences and search habits with split testing. Over time, your Click-Through-Rates should improve as you hone your ads and boost their relevance.
6. Defining Target Locations
You can’t afford to waste time and money targeting customers in areas beyond your reach.
Perhaps you run a small restaurant with a loyal local following. Maybe you operate a growing enterprise from your home and ship goods to buyers within Canada only.
Whatever your business, whatever your limitations, be realistic about your reach. Your PPC campaign should be tailored to target buyers within the most relevant locations only. You can narrow your focus and invest in doing more with less.
And don’t think you can’t take advantage of great options as a company catering to local customers exclusively. 97 percent of userssearch online to find local companies, after all.
You can include your locations on Google Maps, add a click-to-call button to encourage interaction and showcase customer reviews to inspire confidence.
7. Performance Measurement and Adaptation
You can’t just create PPC ads and leave them out there unchanged.
You need to monitor their activity, analyze performance and determine how effective they are. The following metrics are fundamental to any successful PPC campaign:
Using these metrics to assess your PPC ads’ performance will help you refine them in years to come. You need to keep adapting your ads to maximize your reach and boost your ROI consistently.
Otherwise, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to convert users into loyal customers. You might find that certain ideas you had about engaging your audience at the start of your campaign turn out to be inaccurate. You may end up taking a different path than you expected with your PPC ads but discover exciting new benefits as a result.
Launching and maintaining a successful PPC campaign is a challenge for any business, even if you think you know how paid ads work.
Working with a professional digital marketing team ensures your ads are tailored to your business and your target audience.
Reputation Mart’s experts have helped an extensive list of businesses achieve outstanding results through bespoke PPC campaigns, so just get in touch todayto learn what we can do for you!
Already working with a PPC expert? No problem. Call now and we will analyse your campaign’s performance, will identify waste and will provide actionable plan to address the issue, fast.
Essential Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Every Business
Are you making the most of social media to grow your brand?
If not, you should be. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. all offer an effective way to interact with customers directly, attract new buyers and increase visibility.
More than one in three consumers surveyed admitted to using social networksto source more information on businesses or products.
But there are certain do’s and don’ts to consider if you want to see real results with social media. Here are some of the best.
DO Interact with Followers
One of the most important factors for any business on social media is to interact with people. A lot.
Just one or two responses to questions or comments isn’t enough. You need to stay on top of this and take advantage of interaction opportunities as they arise. Even if all it takes is a quick thank you or a link to a product or service on your site.
Leaving questions or comments unanswered will frustrate whoever posted them and make other users think your brand undervalues your audience.
DON’T Neglect Branding
Take the time to make your business account look professional. Users may assume it’s fake or question your credibility if they see no images, logos or information.
This may be a customer’s first encounter with your brand. You need to make a good impression and sell yourself as a legitimate company.
Add photos of:
Include contact details, opening hours and more too. Give prospects all the information they need to get in touch.
Think about what you want to see when browsing other companies’ social accounts for inspiration.
DO Embrace Different Media Formats
Images, videos, text, GIFs and audio should all appear in your posts. Mixing your content up on a regular basis keeps it fresh and exciting.
Users will start to get bored of your social activity if they see the same types of content again and again. With so many businesses competing for attention on social networks, you can never take users’ boredom threshold for granted.
Social media posts containing videos tend to earn 48 percent more viewsthan those without, and Facebook racks up more than eight billion video viewsevery day. Even if you just take viewers on a quick tour of your office, warehouse etc. or introduce your team, videos are much more likely to net more attention than text or an image alone.
Just make sure to keep them brief. The longer your videos are, the less appealing they become.
DON’T Try Too Hard to Get Attention
You might be tempted to ask followers to share your business’s posts and comment on them, especially if you’re struggling to get traction.
But appearing desperate for visibility won’t win you any fans. In fact, followers may become frustrated by your requests and block you.
You need to find ways to encourage users to share your content and interact with your posts. And this leads us nicely into the next tip …
DO Host Contests and Giveaways to Stimulate Interest
People love to get something for nothing. It’s a no-brainer.
Take advantage of this by running contests on your social media accounts. Offer prizes followers genuinely want and make entering the competition easy.
One great example of a brand doing this right is Funko, which hosts regular giveaways on Twitter. Followers can take part just by retweeting the relevant post — this gives them a real incentive and involves almost no effort on their part.
But the big benefit for Funko is the sheer number of retweets each giveaway post receives. Thousands of users share them in the hope of winning a product (usually vinyl figures) and boost the brand’s visibility at the same time.
DON’T Use Social Media to Vent
Be wary of using social media as a way to complain about other businesses or customers. And certainly, never bemoan the lack of interest your social media activities generate. Your brand will come across as being petulant and desperate for attention.
Make sure whoever runs your social accounts understands the damage one ill-conceived post can do to your business’s reputation too. They may be having a tough day or feel irritated by their work, but they should never use your business account as a way to get something off their chest.
DO Be Sparing with Sales-focused Posts
You can and should use social media to promote your products or services. But do so sparingly.
Bombarding followers with a stream of heavy-handed posts showing items off won’t do your brand any favors. People are likely to hide your content or unfollow you, and you could see your engagement drop in a big way.
Focus on offering informative, valuable content and interacting with followers more than selling.
DON’T Lie or Overlook Mistakes
Transparency is fundamental for any business looking to retain customers’ trust. That means if your brand makes a mistake or acts inappropriately, you have to own up to it.
Lying about it or trying to pass the blame makes your business appear dishonest. People might lose trust and take their custom elsewhere.
Admit when employees or managers have done something wrong. Apologize. Explain what actions have been taken and how the same mistakes will be avoided in the future.
Take social media seriously. It’s not always easy to reach your target audience and build a following. It’s not always easy to stay on users’ good side either.
But with enough time, effort and creativity, you can make social media work for you.
At Reputation Mart, our expert team is here to help you make the most of social media and grow your brand. We’ve worked with countless businesses to expand their reach, build interest in their products / services and achieve positive results.
Want to know more about our social media marketing service? Just get in touch today!
The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Responding to Customer Reviews
Like it or not, reviews matter.
Research shows 91 percent of people read online reviews regularlyor occasionally, with 84 percent trusting them as much as personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 90 percent of consumers decidewhether they can trust a business or not after reading 10 reviews. Surprisingly, 32 percent will have an opinion on a company, product or service after checking out one to three reviews.
Enough bad reviews can leave future customers reluctant to choose your brand over others and impact your reputation in the long run. Fortunately, you have the power to respond to reviews and interact with customers, addressing problems or questions for effective damage control.
But you have to be careful when doing this — making mistakes could exacerbate issues and harm your reputation.
Here are some of the most important errors to avoid when responding to reviews.
Top Mistakes to Avoid when Responding to Reviews
Becoming Angry and Blaming the Customer
Responding to online reviews is a little different to interacting with an unsatisfied customer face to face.
For example, if you run a restaurant and an unsatisfied diner approaches you to complain about their undercooked pizza, you can take them to a quiet corner to discuss the situation. Perhaps you offer to refund them. Maybe you give them a dessert on the house. Or both.
If the conversation becomes heated, you can at least invite the diner into your office for a private chat. Fellow diners may or may not hear you resolve the situation, but the important thing is ensuring the unhappy customer leaves satisfied.
When you face a scathing review online, you need to remain just as professional and eager to please. Yes, it’s easier to see the customer as a faceless person and type without thinking but doing so could put others off your business for good.
Acknowledge any mistakes yourself or employees may have made and apologize. Never try to put the blame on the reviewer.
If they really were responsible for a problem, though, explain how you tried to resolve the situation in a calm, clear way.
Ignoring Criticism Altogether
Never, evertry to sweep negative points in a review under the metaphorical carpet.
If you do, the customer and other readers will see what you’re doing immediately. When someone criticizes your products, services, staff or premises, meet them head-on. Ask for more clarification if their initial review is vague or thank them for drawing your attention to a flaw you were perhaps unaware of.
Ignoring bad comments or entirely-negative reviews will only make you appear unprofessional. Learn from valid criticisms and explore opportunities to improve your business.
Relying on Generic Responses
Generic responses to reviews can be infuriating, especially when the writer has asked a question or raised valid issues.
Responding with a simple ‘thank you for your feedback’ when a customer has published a long, well-written review featuring numerous points that deserve to be addressed is lazy. It implies you don’t value your buyers’ views and that your company is unwilling to make time for them.
Be specific with every response (or as many as you can), whether the review is good or bad. Thank the writer for taking the time to praise or criticize. Explain that you will take recommendations on board and make necessary changes. Use the reviewer’s name to make them feel acknowledged and valued too.
Not Offering Contact Information for Further Interaction
When a customer leaves negative feedback, you may feel further discussion is needed to handle the problem with the utmost professionalism.
There are multiple benefits to taking the conversation off-site:
You may be unable to deal with all negative reviews in this way (depending on the size of your customer service team) but doing whenever you can shows your brand in a better light. Always appear to be helpful and committed to keeping your audience happy.
Giving Rewards in Exchange for Positive Feedback
While it may be tempting to offer customers a little gift in exchange for a positive review, it’s always best to avoid this.
For one thing, this violates some review sites’ rules and could damage your reputation if consumers are made aware of your underhanded tactics. They may wonder how bad your products or services are if you have to actually bribe people into leaving good reviews.
Furthermore, offering rewards for positive feedback means you won’t get an honest insight into your customers’ experience. You couldn’t ‘pay off’ everyone if you consistently deliver bad service, and negative feedback will inevitably surface.
The reverse of this is punishing customers who leave unfavorable reviews. One hotel in New York was found to be essentially fining guests who chose to write negative feedback$500, and promising to give the money back if said feedback was removed.
The fee was part of a deposit paid by couples booking the venue for their wedding and applied to reviews left by any member of the party.
Don’t make this mistake. Take time to read and digest as many reviews as possible, whether they’re positive, negative or neutral. Be willing to recognize bad habits and mistakes. Take action to fix problems and show customers how much you value their input.
Honest feedback that gives a true representation of your products or services will only help your brand improve.
Avoid making any of these mistakes when responding to customer reviews. Otherwise, you risk making existing issues worse and chasing more prospects away from your business in the future.
Want to discover how our professional team can manage your reputation online? Just get in touch!
How to Get Real Instagram Followers for Your Business Fast
Any business with a Facebook or Twitter account knows how hard attracting new followers can be. It takes time, effort and creative thinking to stand out from every other company in your sector vying for prospects’ attention. And we’re talking real followers here, not bots or spammers with nothing valuable to contribute.
But winning real followers on Instagram is harder. Much harder.
Even global brands with a huge customer base tend to attract fewer real followers on Instagram than they do on other social networks. Let’s take Virgin Atlantic as an example, one of the world’s biggest airlines catering to millions of travelers each year.
On Twitter, Virgin Atlantic has 601K followers — but only 407K on Instagram.
Both big numbers, but there’s quite a difference.
Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, boasts 865K Instagram followers but an impressive 1.52M on Twitter.
And if even leading airlines struggle to match their Twitter numbers on Instagram, just think how much harder it is for small enterprises.
But don’t worry there are a few actions you can take to get real followers — fast.
Work with Influencers
Influencers make a big difference to companies’ visibility on Instagram. Take the Kardashian / Jenner dynasty, for example. It’s believed Kim Kardashian may earn more than $300,000 for sponsored postsrecommending specific brands, though it could be even more in some cases.
Obviously, trying to forge an alliance with celebrities so high up the food chain is totally out of the question for small businesses, but you could still investigate other avenues. Influencers can help raise brand profiles across all sectors, bringing you to the attention of hundreds, thousands or even millions of real people.
But researching, finding and setting up deals with influencers isn’t easy. It demands a lot of time and energy — two things you simply don’t have if you operate a skeleton crew or even a one-person show. And then there’s the matter of money: the bigger the influencer, the higher the price.
Keep all these factors in mind before committing to working with an influencer.
Get Involved in Trends
Instagram users can search for topics of interest with hashtags. This makes it simpler for your business to increase your posts’ potential visibility, but you can’t just leave it at that.
You have to get involved in trends to really make an impact. Look for the most popular topics and try to interact with other users in a way that’s relevant to your brand. You want to reveal a little of the business’s human side, boost engagement and still drive traffic to your site.
But keeping track of trending topics and contributing to conversations or movements is an ongoing commitment. If your enterprise lacks a social media marketer dedicated to handling your accounts on Instagram, Facebook etc., you could end up missing out on invaluable engagement opportunities.
There is a risk, though, that spending hours and hours marketing your business on Instagram each week takes your eye off the main goal: running your company successfully. You need to find a way to balance your social media management and your responsibilities to the business.
Use the Right Hashtags
Staying on the topic of trends, using the right hashtags in your Instagram posts is essential to stay at the top of your marketing game. You can use up to 30 hashtags for every image you post — and you need to take advantage of them all to increase your contents’ reach.
The most effective posts, though, use the most relevant, current, trending hashtags. You need to stay up to date on what other businesses in your sector do to make their posts more likely to attract new followers, including the type of hashtags they use.
You can always learn from your competitors, whether they’re bigger or smaller than you: see what they’re doing right and wrong. Are they adding plenty of hashtags but with incorrect spellings (a bad mistake that implies sloppiness and reduces the hashtag’s effect)? On the other hand, are they using impactful hashtags that help them recruit new followers every day?
Tracking the most influential, popular and effective hashtags can be difficult if you’re new to Instagram or simply can’t find the time. Ideally, you need an expert to stay on top of your Instagram account, keep your posts as effective as they can be and win new followers consistently.
Create a Unique Style
You have to stand out on Instagram. Let’s repeat that for emphasis.
You HAVE to stand out on Instagram.
There’s just too much competition out there for you to blend in.
Developing your own style of visuals and tone of voice goes a long way to making your business’s Instagram content unique. But there’s a lot of work involved before you can actually get there.
Think about what’s appropriate for your brand and your target audience. One of the first rules of launching and growing a successful enterprise is knowing exactly who you’re targeting. That’s just as true here.
Creating a style that’s too quirky for your fairly conservative audience will only alienate them, and even cost you followers in the long run. But adopting a style that’s too bland for your cool, creative demographic will have the same effect.
This is a complex process and may be a delicate balancing act for certain businesses whose audiences span multiple demographics. Making too many mistakes while you try to nail down the perfect approach could lose you followers faster than you realize — and they may be hard to win back.
Trust the Experts
Getting real Instagram followers fast is possible, but it can be incredibly tough if you’re new to the platform, the challenging world of business or if you’re overworked and under-resourced. Running a growing company is difficult enough at times without the added pressure of trying to master one of the world’s most competitive social networks.
That’s why trusting a team of experts to create an effective strategy for your enterprise is the smartest choice. You can save precious time and money by avoiding costly mistakes — Reputation Mart’s specialists have helped many businesses grow their social presence through well-researched, well-designed, well-executed campaigns suited to their budget.
Want to learn more about how we can help you? Get in touch now!
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