What is reputation marketing?
Although the term is often used interchangeably with online reputation management (ORM), it doesn’t mean the same thing. As a business owner or executive you need to know the difference, so here’s a more accurate definition:
Reputation marketing highlights and amplifies positive brand content like customer reviews through traditional and digital marketing channels to boost sales. In short, it’s a strategy to promote your brand’s existing good reputation rather than repair a damaged one.
That’s an important distinction to keep in mind. Reputation marketing does have a positive impact on brand image. However, it isn’t used to get something removed from Google search results. Since your marketing initiatives will prompt consumers to research your brand on Google, you’d better have positive content on page one for them to discover.
Reputation marketing vs reputation management
Let’s dig a bit deeper to understand the differences between these two services.
Reputation management services use SEO, content creation, social media, public relations and so much more to establish positive search reputations for individuals and companies. Those strategies strengthen a brand’s online presence in a natural way to bury negative search results. As a result, search engines show people your brand’s most favorable content.
Once a business has earned favorable media mentions and positive online reviews, reputation marketing services can then spin that content into campaigns and case studies.
Reputation marketing vs ORM
How online reviews drive reputation marketing strategies
Customer feedback has become the “Mr. Wilson” of consumer advice. Shoppers place enormous trust in feedback from faceless individuals on review sites. Sadly, fraudsters take advantage of that misplaced trust to manipulate the system.
That all boils down to bad news for brands that have been crushed by 1-star reviews. Staggering reputation management statistics indicate that negative comments and bad star ratings drive potential customers away by the busload — and executives agree.
A new commissioned study by Forrester Consulting revealed that 50% of executives believe reducing unfavorable search results would improve customer trust. The same study found that 43% of executives felt improving search results would increase sales. You can read the full study here.
But let’s look at that from another angle: Online review sites can be a powerful marketing tool when filled with positive customer reviews. Why?
Great reviews improve conversions throughout your entire marketing funnel:
- Awareness: Prospective customers learn about your brand through review articles.
- Interest: People begin to search for your brand to learn more about your company through customer reviews.
- Consideration: at the bottom of the conversion funnel, shoppers compare your product vs your competitors’ to see what worked for others like themselves—and what didn’t.
Consumer reviews are at the core of all reputation marketing efforts because they heavily influence a brand’s reputation and purchasing decisions. In the next few sections, I’ll reveal how you can make them work for your company.
Handle negative reviews
Review websites rank very well for branded queries. So, if you have bad reviews online, then potential customers will see them.
In most cases you can’t delete negative reviews unless you provide hard proof that they violate user guidelines. What’s worse, sites like Ripoff Report won’t remove bad reviews even if you have evidence to prove complaints are fake.
Earn positive reviews
Once you’ve got your bad reviews under control, it’s time to build up a reservoir of new reviews that your marketing team can leverage for promotional material. The good news is that there are countless ways you can acquire good reviews. You can use in-store comment cards, website feedback, social media interactions, digital surveys and obviously review websites such as these:
CMOs and small business owners alike know that good reviews are important, but they rarely ask happy customers for feedback. Since the majority of people write reviews when they’re angry, you could have an imbalance of opinions if you don’t actively solicit feedback. In fact it can take ten times as many good reviews to offset one bad review.
Remember, online reputation marketing won’t work without lots of great reviews. So set aside some funds from your marketing budget to aggressively earn and manage online reviews.
Online reputation marketing goes beyond customer reviews
Most businesses focus on consumer reviews because they’re a quick and easy way to demonstrate social proof. They’re also a great way to reduce reputational risk. However, the best reputation management companies think bigger than customer feedback.
For example, do your employees love their jobs? Issue surveys to find out how people feel about working for you.
If they’re unhappy, address their concerns to improve employee morale. Then, request feedback on Glassdoor, Indeed or other employee review websites. You should also get certified as a “Great Place to Work.” Doing so will give your reputation marketing company positive content to promote.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Stories about “brands that care” earn tons of favorable press. So, if you need to stockpile positive articles, talk about the good your company does. Here’s a list of effective CSR examples that you may already be doing but not promoting.
For instance, did you convert your office to use more efficient lighting? Less paper? Perhaps you made a commitment to hire veterans, or your staff volunteers within your local community.
Social and environmental stewardship is a very powerful reputation marketing tool that shouldn’t be downplayed or ignored.
Learn more about corporate reputation management.
Leveraging word of mouth
Word of mouth advertising hasn’t died, it’s just evolved. The “Mr. Wilsons” of the world are still giving advice about companies; they’ve just moved from backyards to broadband.
What’s more, the average consumer’s voice drowns out advertising with a megaphone of trust that brands can’t match with commercial campaigns.
So in order to make reputation marketing work for you, you’ll first need to heavily invest in review management and online reputation management. Without a solid foundation, your marketing strategy won’t be successful.
Contact our reputation marketing experts to see how we can help build your digital fortress.
Reputation Management Resources
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How to Push Down Negative Search Results
Find out how to bury negative search results in Google
Reputation Management Pricing Guide
Find out how reputation management pricing works.