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Reputation-Building Insights for Small Enterprises: Crafting Trust

Reputation-Building Insights for Small Enterprises

In business, a reputation is a critically important intangible asset that should be simultaneously safeguarded and burnished — to the extent that this is possible — at all times. For small businesses, a reputation can be even more important than it is for large businesses, which tend to have more resources to fall back on if their tarnished or spotty reputation ends up harming them financially for a period of time. In this article, we’ll examine some insights that small businesses should be aware of when trying to bolster their reputation and garner trust from consumers.

Why Is Online Reputation Important?

Today, the online presence of your business speaks volumes about your firm.

It has far-reaching implications for customer loyalty, access to capital, and your company’s ability to grow, among other crucial considerations. Consulting firm Deloitte determined that brand reputation is the highest strategic risk for an organization, exceeding economic trends, business models, and market competitors.

Consumer review platform Trustpilot revealed that a positive online reputation is the most important factor in predicting whether or not a consumer would offer a company repeat business — even more so than product quality, pricing, or customer service.

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that bad news has serious consequences; ratings and sales can take a hit when customers express dissatisfaction with a product, either online or in person. Since 97% of customers perform research on companies online, how your company presents itself on the web has a direct impact on consumer perceptions.

A bad reputation is often difficult to define, but easy to spot. Roughly 90% of potential customers will avoid patronizing a company that has a poor reputation. Studies have shown that just one negative internet review can result in a loss of 22% of prospective customers. If a company’s reputation is poor and its name appears in four or more negative search results, it could lose as much as 70% of its prospective customers. When consumers read negative feedback online, 87% of them will reconsider a possible purchase.

Leverage Content To Offer Value

Understanding your target demographic and the problems they face is essential to developing a successful online presence. In terms of search engine optimization, never underestimate the importance of high-quality content. Rich, useful content has a major impact on your credibility, since providing valuable, informative material can increase both your audience size and consumer confidence in your business.

Try to determine the questions your target audience has, and build high-quality, well-organized, and original content that addresses them. This applies to anything from blog posts and website copy to product pages and other content. You might find that questions in places like customer surveys, help tickets, gaps in your industry’s expertise, and search phrases all lead users to your website. Increased exposure, visibility, and diversity in search results can all be possible if you utilize the right content.

Customer Reviews Are Key

When it comes to building trust with consumers, another of the most important elements to take into account is customer reviews. At least 87% of shoppers say they look at reviews to find out more about a company, and almost 80% say they trust online reviews as much as they would trust recommendations from friends and family.

Because it’s difficult for people to ignore unfavorable online reviews, positive feedback can be essential for businesses, particularly those that have accrued negative attention. A well-planned and timely reaction to a poor review can transform a negative appraisal into a positive one. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place in case your business receives unfavorable reviews (which every business eventually does).

Google has confirmed that responding to reviews can have a positive impact on your business’s SEO, and 89% of consumers say they’re “highly” or “fairly” likely to patronize a business that responds to all of its reviews. Over 90% of consumers will stick with a company because of its values if it has a positive internet reputation. Additionally, if your company has a good reputation, those who are already familiar with it are less likely to notice any negative reviews or press in the first place.

Keep an Eye on Online Activity

Reviews aren’t the only discussions about your company you’ll want to stay up to date on. You should keep up with any and all news that affects your company or field. This can help you decide what to say and what to avoid saying in the aftermath of negative events, guiding your content and social media strategy.

You can use monitoring services like Google Alerts and social media listening apps to ensure that no relevant online topic goes unnoticed. You should keep up with news about your competitors as well, as it can provide useful information regarding content ideas, social media profiles, and earned media possibilities you may have missed, as well as red flags that could lead to unfavorable publicity.

Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out for Expert Assistance

With so much at stake and potential rewards to be gained, improving your company’s reputation should be a top strategic priority. On many occasions, it can be worthwhile to consider professional assistance when managing your company’s reputation online.

An online reputation management agency can help you if your company is getting a lot of negative attention on the web, is in the midst of a crisis that threatens its reputation, or is struggling to execute a reputation management plan. Leading international ORM industry firms like Austin, Texas-based Status Labs regularly assist companies with reputation-building tasks, such as evaluating their current online standing (including an audit of content, user reviews, and online press), identifying areas for improvement, and creating and implementing an effective ORM strategy.

Consider a consultation with an ORM agency like Status Labs if you’re unclear on how to get started or if you believe hiring an ORM agency is the right approach to your brand’s reputation management. Even if your enterprise is small, this is all the more reason to focus on efforts to enhance your business’s reputation and craft consumer trust.

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