8 Common PPC Mistakes You Might Be Making
Launching a PPC campaign is a critical marketing step for every business, no matter how big or small it may be.
But there’s a world of difference between running a PPC campaign and running one well. There are plenty of mistakes to make if you don’t have the knowledge, training or experience to guide you in the right direction. Even minor errors can cost you money and prospects over time.
To help you get ahead, Reputation Mart’s experts explore the 8 common PPC mistakes you might be making below.
#1. A Disconnect Between Ads and Landing Pages
You’ve created an ad that packs a punch and makes prospects an offer they can’t refuse. Let’s say you promise customers a 50 percent discount on their first purchase with you, or claim you have hundreds of products on sale at a 70 percent reduction.
Both are pretty impressive deals, but you have to make sure to showcase these on your landing page. Any prospects who click on your ad and realize the deals they were promised are nowhere to be seen when they reach the page may feel cheated.
And you could lose them for good.
The lesson: always make sure your ads and landing pages are relevant to each other.
#2. Neglecting Your Ads
Daily monitoring is essential to maintain a successful PPC campaign. While it’s tempting to spend hours creating an irresistible ad and assuming you can just leave it for months without any further attention, that’s not the case at all.
Monitoring your PPC ads daily gives you valuable insights into their performance and reach. You could be completely unaware of important changes if you leave your ads to run on their own, such as a major reduction in clicks or increased traffic.
This is just one reason why trusting a professional PPC team to run your campaign is a smart choice, for businesses of all scales.
#3. Not Specific Enough with Keywords
Your keywords must be the best possible match for your products and services. Every ad you put out there to attract customers has to be accurate and tailored to your target audience.
If you use broad or inaccurate keywords, you could be throwing money away as prospects may not find what they’re looking for after clicking on your ad. You’ll still be charged but without securing any valuable customer engagement.
#4. Overlooking Negative Keywords
Staying on the subject of keywords, don’t make the mistake of ignoring or overlooking negative keywords.
These are a vital part of any successful PPC campaign: as the name suggests, negative keywords are those search terms you DON’T want to trigger your ads. Take advantage of negative keywords to save yourself from the risk of paying for clicks that go nowhere.
Coming up with a list of negative keywords takes a little extra time when launching a PPC campaign, but it’s well worth doing in the long run. You should keep adding to said list as you continue to find new search terms you want to avoid.
#5. Weak Ad Copy
The text in your ads has to be of the highest quality. The right words have the power to attract new visitors to your business and convert them into customers, even if bigger companies have ads close to your own on the SERPs.
But getting the copy in your ads right is easier said than done, unless you have strong writing skills and years of experience managing PPC campaigns. One effective way to find inspiration is to look at your competitors’ ads, especially those with the highest authority. What language do they use? How do they structure their headlines? What about their ad extensions?
Absorb what you see and read and use this to inform your own ad copy.
#6. Not Testing Variations
You should be testing multiple variations of ads at any one time. This is a fantastic way to determine which techniques work best and which should be dropped in the future, so you can keep getting maximum bang for your buck.
Experiment with different extensions, tones and approaches. Use a sale as the basis for one ad and brand new products for another. Try a mix of short and long-tail keywords. After a set period, check out the analytics to see which gained the most traction.
This process streamlines decision making in the future a little, as you know what works and what doesn’t.
#7. Not Paying Attention to Locations
The freedom to target specific areas with your ads is ideal for local businesses or those shipping to various locations.
But make sure your ads aren’t appearing for users in areas you don’t cater to, as you’ll end up paying for clicks that have no real chance of leading to conversions. Users will become frustrated when they browse your product catalog — and possibly try to place orders — only to discover they’re out of your range.
It’s possible to bid higher or lower based on target users’ location, which is (again) a major advantage for local businesses trying to attract nearby prospects.
#8. Not Tracking Conversions
Conversion Tracking is a terrific feature well worth taking advantage of. This does exactly what it appears to: tracking your conversions to ensure you know how effectively your ads are securing sales from newcomers.
Google’s tool shows what customers do after interacting with your ad. Perhaps they went on to buy one or more of your products. Maybe they registered for your newsletters, or downloaded that free eBook you offer.
Conversion Tracking reveals which keywords and ads make the biggest impact, and help you make effective bidding decisions for the best ROI.
Starting a PPC campaign for your business can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. But as long as you avoid these eight mistakes, you could go on to drive more traffic to your site, boost conversions and get a better return on your investment.
Reputation Mart’s expert team has the training, experience and tools to create a bespoke PPC campaign for your company. We’ll perform a free PPC Account Evaluationfor your Google Ads or Facebook Ads account, to reveal how you perform compared to your competitors.
Want to know more? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
7 Key Threats to Your Business’s Online Reputation
How much importance does the average consumer place on reviews? Do other people’s experiences with your brand affect their decision to part with their hard-earned cash?
The answer to both is a resounding yes.
Believe it or not, a staggering 84 percent of consumers trust online reviewsjust as much as a personal recommendation, and 90 percent read said reviews before even visiting a company (or its website).
If your reviews, feedback and testimonials across the web are negative, you can expect to see a real impact on your bottom line. That’s why managing your online reputation and being aware of the risks is so important.
Here are 7 key threats to your business’s online reputation and how to deal with them.
1. Bad reviews
As we mentioned in our intro, bad reviews have the power to influence a huge portion of consumers.
Failing to deliver the quality of customer experience people expect (or are willing to tolerate in exchange for good products or services) means you could end up amassing a large number of negative reviews — and alienate prospects before they’ve even had an opportunity to try your company for themselves.
Review sites and social media are breeding grounds for views with the power to damage your reputation. Monitoring them and responding to as many as you can is vital, but the best approach is to make it easier for people to leave good reviews instead.
This means evaluating those aspects of your company which appear in complaints again and again. Are your team’s responses too slow? Do you need to hire more agents to accommodate demand? What about trying to improve the quality of your products by switching manufacturers?
Take the time to consider common sources of dissatisfaction and address them ASAP.
2. Management Speaking their Mind
Keeping everyone within your business in check can be difficult, especially those on the top rungs of the ladder.
But it’s essential to avoid any outbursts or unintentional offense, as these can have a lasting impact on the paying public.
For example, American Apparel’s Dov Charney drew negative attention to the brand for some of his comments on delicate matters, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary is known for his loose tongue and Abercrombie & Fitch’s Mike Jeffries famously sparked outrage with his views on the type of customers his company wanted to attract.
Your CEO and other high-ranking individuals must be responsible in their behavior: speaking without thinking can leave consumers unwilling to do business with you ever again.
3. Failing to Monitor your Reputation and Address Problems
It’s tempting to focus on running a business and ignoring what people have to say about it online. But this is a major mistake.
Consumers who see negative reviews or posts on social media without any response are likely to assume your company simply doesn’t care. They could see it as a sign of arrogance or an admission of guilt, neither of which does you any favors.
Make sure your online reputation is monitored and steps are taken to improve public perception of your business.
4. Passing the Buck
Never play the blame game in a crisis. Pointing the finger at a complaining customer or trying to throw a third-party under the proverbial bus will do more harm than good.
Businesses should always admit when they’ve made a mistake — either accidentally or by design — and apologize. Action may need to be taken to put things right and maintain your reputation. For example, freebies or discounts would be a fitting response in the case of massive shipping delays or failures.
Consumers value brand transparency more than ever today, especially on social media. Lying or trying to downplay a faux pas could do more harm than you realize.
5. Disgruntled Employees
Not all of your employees will love their job. Some of them may genuinely like it. Others may find it fine for the moment. But others could very well loathe it — and that might make them a threat.
Workers who have been treated poorly, fired without good reason or discriminated against could vent their frustration on social media. Within hours, thousands or even millions of people may discover your brand isn’t all it seems before you’re even aware.
The lesson? Make sure you have practises in place to ensure all employees feel valued, respected and well-compensated for their work. And an open-door policy can encourage them to speak up about problems well before they feel forced to go public.
6. Lack of Control on Social Media
Be careful which employees have access to your social media. One of the key dangers to your online reputation is a worker with bad intentions seizing control of your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Perhaps they want to be fired. Maybe they want to sabotage your business for treating them badly. Or they could even create a post in good faith without realizing how offensive it could be.
Keep tight control of your social media accounts, and update logins regularly to reinforce their security.
7. Others Acting in your Name
Finally, make sure you own all websites related to your brand, products or services directly. If you fail to claim a domain for your company’s exact title, someone else could — and start causing trouble.
They could scam consumers out of money or post distasteful content and cause controversy to harm your reputation. Don’t make it easier for anyone to disrupt your company’s work: invest in the right domains as soon as you can, or approach the current owners to work out a deal. Otherwise, a large part of your online presence will be out of your control.
Failing to consider these 7 key threats to your business’s online reputation is dangerous. Every company, no matter how big or small, depends on a positive image to retain customers and attract new ones. Even global powerhouses can be dealt a serious blow if they overlook this.
Want to discover how our experts can help you build a better online reputation? Just get in touch today!
Why is Mobile Website Optimization Crucial for Your Business?
How often do you browse the internet on your smartphone?
Chances are, the answer is ‘a lot’. Research shows smartphone-users spend just over three hours a dayon their device on average, accounting for over half of their overall consumption of digital content.
It’s been a few years since Google confirmed mobile searches were overtaking those performed on a desktop, and this just keeps growing. It’s no longer an option for businesses to ignore how their website performs on smartphones and tablets — every single company must take this into account to stay relevant.
Mobile optimization must be part of your digital marketing strategy: an effective SEO campaign will help your customers enjoy a smoother, more intuitive experience on their mobile devices.
Harnessing the Power of Mobile Search
Browsing a website on your phone is natural for most of us now. The prospect of having to set up your laptop or even sit at your desktop to look something up online feels quite alien.
Now, if we want to know what movies are showing at the local theatre, how the Maple Leafs did in their last game or where you can find a great pizza at the end of a night’s bar-hopping, we just reach for our phone.
But any website that feels clunky or fails to load properly on said device will only inspire frustration. It’s likely you’ll just click back to the search engine results page and find the next best site. In fact, 40 percent of consumers will turnto a competitor’s websitefollowing a negative mobile experience.
You can’t afford to risk this. Taking steps to optimize your website for mobile devices is paramount: competing with other businesses can be difficult enough — don’t give existing and prospective customers any reason to go elsewhere.
55 percent of all conversions leading to a purchase take place within just one hour of an initial mobile search. Furthermore, brands with mobile-optimized websites increase their chances of boosting their mobile conversion rate to 5 percent or above.
Key Factors in Mobile Website Optimization
So, now that we’ve established how important a mobile-optimized website is, what are the most important elements?
Get Your Text Right
Few things are more annoying for mobile users than having to constantly zoom in or out to read text properly.
Responsive mobile websites scale text automatically to suit the device being used: that means no zooming, no rotating the phone. Just a convenient, user-friendly format.
This is ideal if the user is in a hurry and needs answers within seconds. You have to value your customers’ time as much as they do.
On the topic of text, mobile websites should keep content streamlined and easy to digest. Any visitor confronted by a wall of words is likely to just scroll down to the find the information they’re looking for anyway or just go elsewhere.
Pages Must Load Fast
Remember above, when we said how you should value your customers’ time? That’s just as important when discussing load times.
We’ve all experienced the irritation of pages taking too long to load. You sit and watch while one image appears at a time, or a video seems to buffer for hours. It doesn’t exactly make your browsing experience enjoyable, and this only gets worse if a business has already done something to raise your hackles.
Research by Google revealed 70 percent of pages take seven secondsto load fully, which is problematic considering the probability of visitors leaving increases 106 percent for load times of up to six seconds. That grows to 123 percent for load times beyond 10 seconds.
It’s essential to prevent bloat on your mobile pages as much as possible to deliver a satisfying experience.
Keep Your Visuals Visible
Following on from load times, visual content is a major cause of slowing web pages down. Videos and images which are too big will either take too long to appear in full or fail to display at all.
Videos and pictures should be visible on all mobile devices and be able to load quickly. Your mobile site will seem unprofessional and poorly-designed if users are left struggling to make sense of your visuals.
Interaction should be Easy
Visitors to your mobile site should be able to interact with it and navigate pages as easily as they would on their computer. Menus must be logical and clear, buttons must be clickable without having to zoom in and forms must be simple to complete.
Interacting with websites may seem easier on desktops because you have a mouse, a cursor and a larger screen to leverage. But a well-optimized mobile site is just as user-friendly, regardless of the device it’s used on.
Buttons (especially CTAs) should be easy to tap with one finger. If buttons are clustered together, visitors may end up choosing the wrong option — potentially taking an action they don’t want to. This can lead to big mistakes, such as if your site offers one-click purchases.
Dropdown menus deserve careful attention too: users need to scroll through the options smoothly and accurately.
Reduce Pop-up Advertising
Pop-up ads have the power to make mobile sites slower and less user-friendly. Customers could be on the verge of taking an action — such as making a purchase — only for their screen to be filled with a request to sign up for your newsletter or to buy the product they were about to anyway.
Not only would this delay a positive action, it could feel intrusive and prompt the prospect to think twice. While pop-ups are a helpful feature, their presence on mobile sites should be reduced for smoother performance.
Mobile websites are an essential part of any business’s online presence. Customers want a fast, convenient way to find the products, services or information they need — and if they can’t get it from you, they’ll get it from someone else.
Reputation Mart’s team of SEO experts can help your website provide a stronger user experience on all devices. Want to learn more? Just get in touch now!
Are You a Business Owner and Still Question the Value of Local Business Listings?
When it comes to local business listing, many local business owners question its value. Why would you pay someone to maintain, update and optimize local business listings, including Google Maps?
The value has become obvious for many mostly through trial and error, and after engaging the right digital marketing partner. Every business owner would like to spend less and attract more customers to buy a product or service. Simple, right?
Pay per click (PPC) campaigns when managed professionally bring enough leads and customers through the door. Yet, for many industries, it can be a very costly proposition. In some industries, businesses owners pay between $20-$100 per click that does not guarantee that they will convert that particular visitor as a lead or a paying customer.
Consequently, those who discovered and mastered local business listings, always come on top (literally) as their products or services displayed at the top of the page right below the ads. That's right website SEO junkies; Google Maps results are presented ABOVE the organic search results.
I'm not trying to diminish the importance of the website SEO, not at all, yet many local businesses, including dentists, contractors, doctors, chiropractors, spas, IT service providers, etc., can significantly benefit from a well optimized local business listing.
Still not convinced? Here is proof I've promised.
Statistics below are for January of 2019 - one-month, whereby our customers received:
Not bad right? If you are getting free calls and new customers from your listings, great! And if you are not, give us a call today, and we will be happy to help.
To your success!
How to Engage with Your Customers on Social Media
Social media is an invaluable customer-service channel for businesses of all sizes, across all industries.
Research shows 1 in 4 users follow companiesthey may buy from on social media, and close to 40 percent are following their favorite companies. It’s a fantastic way to stay connected with your existing and potential customers, manage your reputation and ultimately grow your brand.
However, if they follow a number of different brands on Facebook, Twitter etc., their feed may easily become clogged with posts promoting different businesses.
That’s why you have to make yours stand out from the crowd and work hard to maximize engagement. How can you do that?
Avoid Shameless Self-promotion
While it’s tempting to keep sharing images of your latest products or tell the world you’ve sold your millionth item, too many self-congratulatory posts can alienate your followers.
Make sure you’re taking an interest in your audience, your industry and what people want from your brand. Ask them questions, both relevant to your services and more general. For example:
These are just a few ideas that demonstrate how broad your questions can be. While some may go unanswered, particularly for smaller businesses with a growing customer-base, you’re demonstrating that you value followers’ input and want to hear from them.
Respond Sooner Rather than Later
When people respond to your questions or posts, it’s vital that you respond. Even if a follower is criticizing your products / services or complaining about your brand quite aggressively, don’t just ignore them.
Why? Because others will see when you’ve failed to respond — and it suggests your business puts no value on customer feedback. Get involved with comments on your posts and show your audience you care.
If someone is putting your company down in a way that could scare potential customers away, ask them to send you a private message so you can take your discussion away from public visibility. This is a professional move that reduces the risk to your reputation and enables you to focus entirely on the individual, rather than juggling multiple users.
Maintain a Consistent Style
Maybe you’re quirky. Maybe you’re serious. Maybe you have a lighthearted tone.
Establishing a brand style for social media is key, and it should match that of your entire business. It would be incredibly inappropriate for, say, funeral directors to share humorous content on their Facebook page and trying to joke with followers asking about their services.
If your brand is based around a fun, dynamic personality, bring that to your social accounts. Let followers see the human side to your company, and always be honest.
Whatever tone you adopt, just make sure it’s consistent: don’t let it change from one post to another. Otherwise, you could confuse, frustrate and alienate your followers over time.
Don’t quite know how you want your business to ‘sound’ on social media? Look at your competitors or companies you wish to emulate. What kind of language do they incorporate into their posts? How do they engage with followers?
Stay Active and Regular
If users visit your Facebook page or browse your Twitter feed and see no recent activity, they may feel your business isn’t worth following. After all, what value does it offer them? Why should they waste their time browsing through old posts?
Upload posts, share content from your own website, get involved with industry developments and more. Take an interest in companies specializing in products that complement your own, interact with influencers and don’t be afraid to take part in trends that could help attract attention.
However, keep it positive — never court controversy. This could backfire and cause significant damage to your reputation.
One effective technique is to create a publishing schedule, so yourself and your team know exactly when new posts are necessary.
Be Generous with Visuals
Images are essential for your social media posts. Why?
Because research shows that Facebook posts including pictures achieved 87 percentof all engagements.
Posts with strong visuals attached will stand out more than text-only ones as followers scroll through their feeds, and if they’re eye-catching enough they can inspire the user to stop. If they like what they see, they could share it with their friends and put your brand in front of more people than you might have reached otherwise.
Make sure your images are relevant and original. Avoid stock pictures people will have seen at countless websites already — you will appear cheap and lazy. Try to create professional photographs or illustrations that jump out of the screen.
Avoid Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Big brands can juggle multiple social networks: they have the budget and the resources to maintain a strong presence.
But if you’re a smaller business, you’ll have limited capacity and may be restricted to just one or two networks instead. You have to be able to stay active on each and build a real relationship with followers.
This is much trickier to do if you’re spread too thin. Being present and able to interact with minimal delay can help you maintain a solid reputation. Consider hiring a professional team to monitor your reputation and help you keep your audience happy.
Engaging your customers on social media is crucial to build and sustain interest in your company. At Reputation Mart, our team has you covered: we’ll send you real-time alerts by email whenever someone online refers to your business.
This is a terrific way to prevent your brand’s image being represented poorly and stay on top of customer reviews / feedback. (both positive and negative)
Want to know more about how we can help? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
10 Essential SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Today’s small businesses have more ways to expand their reach and make an impact than ever, but some (sadly) don’t take full advantage of them. Why? Because SEO is hard, can be expensive and does not produce immediate results. Businesses that invest in SEO today, will strive tomorrow. Those still on the fence, will most likely fade away.
Believe it or not, 59 percent of very small Canadian companies have no website whatsoever— with 41 percent even thinking theirs is too small to justify building a site!
Establishing a strong online presence can make a big difference to all businesses, no matter how small yours might be. SEO will help you rank higher on search engine result pages and gain more visibility, though it can be pretty daunting if you’re new to running your own business.
But don’t worry: Reputation Mart’s SEO experts have put their heads together to bring you the 10 essential SEO tips for small businesses below …
#1. Check out your Competitors
What are your biggest rivals doing online? What techniques do they use to make an impact? How do they structure their site? How often do they publish blog posts? Answer these questions and see what you can learn.
Take a look at the type of content they produce and the keywords they’re targeting. They might publish guest posts at popular blogs, produce high-quality videos on their YouTube channel, and any number of other things to maintain high rankings.
Pick just one or two of your highest-ranking competitors to study — don’t spread yourself too thin.
#2. Be Cautious with your Keywords
Once upon a time, it was common to see keyword stuffing on small-business websites: the same search terms would be crammed into each page of content, even if that made it virtually unreadable.
They were basically trying to cheat search engines, but many algorithm updates since have rectified this issue. You can be penalized for keyword stuffing today, so always be careful with your keywords. Focus on creating content that flows well and provides plenty of value to readers.
#3. Encourage Customer Reviews
A good reputation is essential. Positive feedback and reviews can help your small business attract new customers, so don’t be afraid to ask buyers to share their opinions.
Reviews can create helpful backlinks to your site, build trust in prospects and contribute to your overall online presence. Always be willing to respond to customers across social media and review sites, even if to defend yourself against complaints. People want to see businesses of all sizes value consumer opinions.
#4. Put More Thought into your Titles and Descriptions
Titles and descriptions play a significant part in good SEO. These tell visitors and search engines what they can expect when they click on your result, but there are certain things you can do to maximize their value.
Your title tags should feature main keywords as close to the start as possible, but only if this doesn’t affect readability. Users and search engines will see when you’re stuffing keywords in to the detriment of quality.
#5. Feel the Need for Speed
How quickly do your pages load?
The average time taken for a mobile landing page to load is 22 seconds— and research shows over half of people will abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
That doesn’t leave you with much leeway. You have to optimize your website to keep load times down: convenience is critical, and users have millions of other pages to check out if yours is too slow. Speed is one of Google’s ranking factors too.
#6. Blogging Matters
Just because you’re a smaller business than industry rivals doesn’t mean you have less to say than they do.
A blog is the perfect place to share your insights and establish your business as a valuable resource for readers. However, your blog content must be of a high standard: you have to write posts people want to read and share.
Use keywords sparingly in your blog, link to high-authority sites and use images / videos to break up the text. Make it easy for users to share the post across social media and structure it with headers (H1, H2 etc.) to help search engines understand the content’s main points.
#7. Proper Site Structure is Vital
Structure your website’s content into clear categories and implement a user-friendly layout. Visitors and search engines must be able to navigate your site easily, following a logical progression.
Make sure your menu covers the entire site and pages have relevant titles. Avoid trying to be clever or cryptic: there’s nothing wrong with calling your company profile page ‘about us’ and your catalog of goods ‘products’.
Put yourself in your users’ shoes and see how accessible your site is from their perspective.
#8. Embrace Social Media
Social media gives you a valuable way to communicate with existing and potential customers. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more — they’re all a direct line to your audience.
As a small business, though, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin if you try to use them all by yourself straight away. Identify which network is the most popular with your target demographic(s) and create an account. Stay active and responsive on there.
Share content from your website and link to the relevant pages to drive traffic to your domain. Build a presence and generate interest in your small business through ongoing engagement.
#9. Add Alt Tags to Images
Alt tags are designed to help visually-impaired users understand the content of an image, and they can help you rank better in image searches.
Make sure to add relevant keywords and use clear descriptive terms. This is a simple but effective technique.
#10. Take it Slowly
Boosting your online visibility, expanding your small business and climbing the results pages takes time. It’s tempting to expect instant results, but good SEO requires patience.
You have to focus on producing quality content, building a solid reputation, establishing a loyal customer base and using effective SEO strategies to rank higher as an ongoing process. This is a commitment for your business’s benefit, and can’t bring immediate success.
Reputation Mart’s SEO services in Toronto can help your small business reach your online goals! Want to know more? Just get in touch now to find out what we can do for you!
8 Online Reputation Mistakes Your Business Must Avoid
What do people think of your company?
Your reputation makes a massive impact on consumers’ decision to buy from you. A staggering 67.7 percent of purchasing choices are affected by online reviews, and you stand to lose more than 20 percent of business if prospects come across negative coverage of your brand on the first results page.
Considering the sheer range of options customers have online, a bad reputation can make all the difference between securing and losing a conversion. If your business seems too much of a risk, buyers will just purchase from one of your competitors instead.
You have to protect your online reputation from bad reviews, poor feedback and anything else that could damage it. Join Reputation Mart’s experts as we explore the 8 online reputation mistakes your business must avoid …
1. Failing to Monitor your Reputation
Maybe you’re just not that interested in going online. Perhaps the prospect of Googling your own business and trawling review sites makes you want to gag.
Whatever the reason, your online reputation could end up getting wildly out of control if you fail to keep an eye on it. Even if people are leaving good reviews or sharing positive posts about you on their social accounts, they might not be getting full exposure without you sharing them.
Just because you don’t research your company doesn’t mean others won’t be.Fake accounts may be set up on social media too, possibly causing further damage.
2. Not Interacting with the Online Community
People will leave good reviews. People will leave bad reviews.
It’s vital to respond to as many of both as you can, regardless of their content. Apologize for poor service, thank customers for their kind words and offer to make things right if need be.
Interacting with people who have taken the time to post about your business will impact other customers’ views. Seeing how well you respond to the worst complaints can show you care about buyers’ experience and respect their opinion.
Simply leaving bad responses untouched and pretending they don’t exist will only do more harm. When responding to negative feedback or reviews, always be professional and courteous: never engage in a war of words.
3. Creating Fake Reviews
Always, always avoid the temptation to write fake reviews. Creating them yourself or asking employees, friends or even family to do so is a big mistake.
Why? Because if someone finds out, you could harm your reputation more than a single bad review ever would. Consumers will wonder why you have to cheat to make your brand appear better, and view you as being untrustworthy.
After all, if you’re willing to lie about online feedback what else would you lie about?
Prospective buyers will have more faith in you if they see you handling negative reviews in a professional manner than if they see lots of feedback sharing too many similarities to be coincidental.
4. Being Unsociable
Social media has a big impact on the business-consumer relationship. People will complain to companies directly on Facebook and Twitter, share good experiences with their friends and ask questions about products. It’s a key step in the research process.
Being active on social media and engaging with your customers is key to maintaining your online reputation. Users expect fast responses and transparency, whether they have made a complaint or thanked the brand for excellent service.
Avoiding social media is no way to try to minimize the harm of potential negative posts. People will still discuss you even if you have no account.
5. Never Showing your Human Side
Customers will feel a stronger bond with your business if you’re willing to show your unique, human side.
If you make a mistake, admit to it. Be sincere. Explain to your customers how and why it happened, and discuss what you plan to do to put it right.
Don’t issue a bland press release that skirts responsibility and leaves buyers cold. Just hold your hands up and present your solution. Prospects may be more forgiving if they see you’re approaching a situation as a group of people rather than as a faceless enterprise.
6. Ignoring the Power of Content
Good content is essential to keep your reputation in good shape. Well-written blogs and articles offering readers value will help you become recognized as a reliable brand with lots to say. This adds credibility to your business and can establish you as a thought-leader, though this may be easier in some sectors than others.
The better your content, the more likely it is to be shared and garner extra attention. Failing to create new content doesn’t just make you look unprofessional, it’s not great for your SEO campaign either.
7. Getting Complacent
You’ve built a good reputation. You’ve published a string of great content that attracts thousands of views. You’ve amassed more positive feedback than you can keep track of.
So, why not take your eye off your online reputation for a while and focus on other areas of running your business instead?
Don’t get complacent. If you stop responding to social posts and reviews, customers could lose their respect for you and assume you no longer care about their views. Never let success distract you from maintaining good relationships with customers.
Remember: they’re what keeps you in business, no matter how big your brand becomes.
8. Having No Reputation Management in Place
Every business should invest in solid reputation management. You have to know what people are saying about your company, identify the common complaints and find ways to put things right.
You need to know how you will respond to feedback and use it to help your business grow. This must be put together with care — just dashing off a comment at the end of an occasional review isn’t enough.
Our team of experts can help you stay on top of your online reputation, ensure brand consistency and avoid harmful mistakes. Want to learn more about our Online Reputation Management services? Just get in touch!
10 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Believe it or not, more than 3 billion people across the globe use social media.
With such a vast audience, small businesses can take advantage of social media to really build their brand and expand their reach. However, actually knowing how to use it properly is critical — or else you could be wasting your time altogether.
Below, Reputation Mart’s social media experts have put together some pro tips to help you get started.
#1. Study your strongest competitors
What are your leading competitors doing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? How are they engaging their audience and driving traffic to their site(s)?
Taking inspiration from your biggest rivals in your niche will help you get a concrete idea of what to do and what not to do. For example, what kind of articles, blog posts, news stories and videos do they tend to share? Which generate the highest number of shares and comments?
Take notes and try to emulate the best examples in your own social media campaign.
#2. Know your limits
There are more social networks out there than you can realistically handle, unless you’re a global giant with a huge team dedicated to running your accounts. Even then, being part of more than a few may not be necessary.
For small businesses, knowing your limits is vital. Start with just a couple of social accounts and take the time to build these up. Focus on engaging users and establishing a solid group of followers. Otherwise, if you take on too many networks and try to maintain an active presence on all, you’ll spread yourself too thin.
#3. Research your target audience
Do you know where your ideal customers are likely to be hanging out online? Are your buyers more prone to spending hours scrolling through their Facebook feeds or is SnapChat more their thing?
Invest in researching the social habits of your target audience and channel your resources into the most relevant network. This makes it slightly easier to reach prospects most likely to convert, rather than trying to appeal to those who might be elsewhere.
#4. Focus on entertainment rather than constant marketing
Of course, you want to promote your small business and build your brand. But if you keep filling feeds with an endless slew of promotional materials, people will lose interest — fast.
You have to pay attention to the kind of content your target audience responds to and try to incorporate this into your strategy. People use social media to be entertained and perhaps learn more about the world, rather than seeing the same thinly-veiled ads again and again.
#5. Embrace the power of visuals
Posts containing images are more likely to get shared on social media. Text-heavy posts are less engaging and easier to scroll past, while visuals make a bigger immediate impact.
Make sure you use dynamic images as often as possible and try to keep them original. People are used to seeing the same stock photography again and again, so if you need to rely on them, at least choose ones that are less obvious. There’s plenty of beautiful stock images out there.
When posting videos, try to keep them as short as possible. The longer they are, the harder it is to sustain viewer interest.
#6. Be responsive on all types of engagement
It’s essential that you post responses to people’s comments or mentions. If you let both good and bad interactions with your brand go neglected for too long, you could end up damaging your reputation.
Whether it’s a question, a positive comment or a complaint, respond to it as soon as you can. Even if you don’t have time to get back to all users posting positive things, simply ‘liking’ or ‘favoriting’ their comment can be enough. They’ll appreciate that you’ve at least acknowledged them.
#7. Run competitions and polls
Hosting competitions and polls is a terrific way to encourage more engagement. Make the entry criteria simple and offer a tantalizing prize, whether it’s a bundle of free products from your brand or a discount with an affiliate.
Many competitions on Facebook and Twitter ask entrants to like and / or share the post, along with placing a comment. This is a simple, effective way to get your posts appearing on more feeds, potentially reaching prospects who wouldn’t see your content otherwise.
#8. Boost engagement and reach with hashtags
The humble hashtag has blossomed into a key player on social networks, primarily Twitter.
Whether hashtags are used in games (such as ‘changing a movie title with one letter’) or to promote worthy causes, they’re incredibly effective tools. You have to make sure you keep them concise, though, as longer ones are harder to read.
Avoid using too many in a single post too — this can look a little desperate or suggest you’re not really sure what you’re doing.
#9. Get involved with trends and show a sense of humor
Don’t be afraid to show your human side on social media. Yes, you’re running a business and have to remain professional in your interactions with followers, but people want companies to be more transparent today.
Get involved with trends and be willing to create posts designed to do little more than raise a smile. You just need to make sure anything you post is appropriate and unlikely to cause offence.
#10. Stay active on all fronts
Part of the reason small businesses have to keep their number of social media accounts low is that it’s much easier to stay active.
Social accounts that have been left untouched for weeks, months or years never look good to customers, especially if they want to reach out to you. Try to stay as visible on your priority networks as possible.
Any small business can take inspiration from these pro tips, but Reputation Mart’s experts will help you take it much, much further. We’ll boost your small business’s visibility and engagement to grow your audience, no matter what your niche.
Want to learn more? Just get in touch!
Top 5 Benefits of Social Selling
No business can afford to be without social media today.
At the most basic level, a social presence equips you with a platform upon which to advertise your products and services. However, simply using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to bombard followers with explicit sales-focused content is typically a fast track to being ignored.
Brands have to be a little more sophisticated in their social media marketing. It’s all about building a connection with prospects, engaging followers and expanding your reach in an organic way to achieve sales goals.
Still, some businesses — big and small — have yet to realize the full potential social media offers for ongoing growth. If this sounds familiar, you could be holding yourself back and missing out on real rewards.
Take a look at the five benefits of social selling below to find the inspiration you need.
#1: Build valuable relationships
Unfocused selling isn’t enough anymore.
For a long time, countless businesses used cold calling as a key sales technique. However, as anyone who has received unwanted phone calls from a company again and again will know, they do little to secure your custom.
This revolved around trying to connect with as many people as possible in the hopes that at least a small portion of contacts would take an interest. Social selling may be targeted at large numbers of people, but it’s nothing like cold calling.
You can use social networks to find conversations related to your business, your industry or your products. You can identify prospects who may be looking for the goods or services you supply and begin reaching out to them in a slow, steady process. Your first point of contact with them can be more personalized and relevant, rather than throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
This may be answering a question about your business or products they have asked their friends / followers. It’s a small, simple step but can start to build a strong relationship.
Always make sure you converse with prospects in a personable way, rather than structuring everything as a blatant sales pitch. Provide valuable responses and engage with them at a human level.
#2: Manage your reputation and encourage trust
Online reviews and public feedback provide consumers with a voice. One unsatisfied buyer can share their experience with others and cause instant damage to your reputation.
If prospects research your business and come across enough of these, they may choose to take a punt on a competitor instead. More and more customers are using social networks to make complaints and negative feedback, and you cannot afford to ignore them.
That can be tempting when you feel people are essentially attacking your brand, but failing to respond will do more harm than good. Prospects researching your business will see that you have done nothing to satisfy those people and suspect you have something to hide.
On the other hand, a company which regularly engages with people, answers questions, apologizes for lapses in good service and generally treats their customers with respect is likely to be viewed in a more positive light.
As research is a key part of the customer’s journey, you should never underestimate the power of a good social reputation. This makes generating leads and attracting sales a little easier.
#3: Retain customers for years to come
Retaining satisfied customers is more cost-effectivethan attracting new ones. Delivering exceptional service and maintaining close ties with buyers is essential to keep them coming back in the future.
Your brand should stay in touch with any customers who have praised your products or services on social media. Perhaps they shared a picture of an item when it arrived and thanked you for improving their life. Maybe they run a business and specify how your services will enhance their performance in years to come.
Whatever the nature of their praise, your team should seize the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.
Thank them for taking the time to let you know about their positive experience, and invite them to ask any questions they may have about the product / service. Reach out to them again a little later to ask if they’re still satisfied with their investment. Offer them a discount on future purchases too.
Prospects who see past customers are satisfied with your brand’s performance will feel more trust in the company. This can be pivotal during the research phase of their journey.
Sharing content that helps buyers get more out of their purchase — such as tips, maintenance advice etc. — will encourage brand loyalty too.
#4: Social communication is easier, less formal and free
Customers who have questions, complaints or suggestions may dread having to pick up the phone to call a business directly. The prospect of being put on hold or bounced from one call center agent to another is enough to make them ask ‘why bother?’.
That’s not to mention the cost of a call to what may be a premium-rate number.
Communicating via social media is a much faster, informal and — crucially — free option. Buyers and prospects can reach out to you or other customers just by opening an app on their device.
This cultivates more interaction and gives you more opportunities to engage.
#5: Enhance the overall customer experience
Social selling allows companies of all sizes to enhance the entire customer experience.
This plays a key role in fostering ongoing relationships, building brand recognition and keeping customers engaged with your company. A positive experience is enough to make buyers view your products and services as more valuable than your competitors, even if they are paying a little more for yours than others.
In fact, 86 percent of consumers will pay extra for goods if the overall experience is better. That’s a huge number.
Focus on giving people the information they want on social media and provide them with valuable content that suits their interests. Even if significant time passes between purchases, they are likely to still follow your brand, share your posts and recommend you to others.
Want to learn more about how social media marketing can help your brand grow? Give us a call today!
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.