For decades, when people needed a local service professional such as contractor, plumber, electrician, painter, etc., they’d ask their friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations.
Using social proof to guide decision-making is human nature. The online world has made it even easier for consumers to research more vendors and obtain more information.
Besides friends and neighbors, your potential clients can now see the opinion of everyone who has interacted with your business, as long as it’s posted online. In fact:
- 91% of people rely on search engine results while 65% of consumers trust these results over other sources.
- 80% of consumers would change their mind about purchasing a product or using a service provider because of online reviews.
- Two-thirds of people won’t buy from a business if it has 1-3 bad reviews.
- 80% of consumers use social media to get advice on their purchases.
A good online reputation gives you a competitive advantage by building brand awareness, increasing trust, and potentially boosting your search engine ranking.
Unlike verbal recommendations, online reviews are accessible by anyone at any time from anywhere. These opinions, which become part of your digital footprint (that never disappears!), can shape search engine results and define your reputation for a long time to come.
As a service provider, building trust with your prospects is critical for customer acquisition and retention. A stellar online reputation often makes the difference between whether a prospect calls you or your competitors.
It’s not enough to just do your job and hope your clients will post something nice about your business. For example, a client may write a bad review due to some misunderstanding (which you can easily clear up by reaching out) or worse, a competitor could intentionally tarnish your reputation by posting false reviews.
You need to actively monitor and manage everything that’s being said about your business online so you can build a positive brand image and attract more clients.
How To Build A Solid, Trustworthy, And Client-Attractive Online Reputation For Your Local Service Business
An important aspect of reputation management is to ensure that when potential clients search online, they’ll see accurate information about your company.
You need to create content that reflects your brand and monitor comments, feedbacks, or mentions so you can respond in a timely manner.
Here are 7 ways to manage and improve your online reputation:
1. Create Fresh Content
While you can’t “erase” negative comments published in the past, you can increase the chances of searchers seeing positive information about your business by regularly publishing fresh content, which tends to rank higher on search engine results pages.
In addition, sharing helpful, relevant, and valuable content will help build trust with your audience and establish your expert positioning.
You can also publish press releases on news about your business, such as updated offerings, new hires, participation in local community events, and special or seasonal promotions, etc.
2. Optimize Online Profiles
Social media sites and online directories typically have more “SEO juice” than your own website. When prospects enter your business name into search engines, your profiles on those sites may rank higher than your website in the search results.
Your information on these platforms should be up-to-date, on-brand, and showcase the best your business has to offer. Complete your profiles and use visual content such as photos or videos to accelerate the “like, know, and trust” factor.
3. Claim Your Listing
Claiming your listings allows you to proactively manage your reputation on those sites by responding to reviews, tracking page views, and updating your business information.
4. Respond to Reviews and Comments
Monitor all your online profiles and listings so you’re aware when someone posts a comment about your business. Use online tools to keep track of conversations on forums, blogs, and social media platforms.
Interact with your audience and respond to reviews and comments. A timely reply communicates an image of a responsive and customer-centric business. When prospects see that you’re proactively providing your clients with the best service, they’re more likely to hire you.
In addition, use this as an opportunity to identify minor issues so you can fix them before they become a major problem.
5. Implement an Online Review Strategy
However, most people only write an online review when they aren’t happy with a product or service.
To leverage these reviews to get more clients, you need to optimize the impact of such user-generated content by having an online review strategy.
You can set up a process to ask clients for an online review right after you have finished a project. Make it as easy as possible for them to post a review, e.g., by providing some “before/after” photos that they can upload.
6. Monitor Your Competitors’ Online Reputation and Strategy
You can find out what your ideal clients expect from your category of services and what they think can be improved in your industry by monitoring what they say about your competitors.
You can also learn from your competitors’ mistakes and see what they’re doing right to design offerings and customer service strategies that will help you acquire and retain more customers without going through the steep learning curve.
7. Don’t Forget the Most important Piece…
While all these strategies are effective for building your online reputation, there’s one foundation piece you can’t afford to ignore – consistently delivering great services to your clients.
You can’t put lipstick on a pig… if you don’t deliver outstanding services, you can’t expect your clients to say great things about your business on social media or post a 5-star comment on a review site.
Every client interaction is an opportunity to build trust and boost your credibility.
That’s why here at 99 Calls, we aren’t just building a website or running online ads for your business.
We also optimize your online directory listings, set up your Facebook business page, and monitor what people write about your business, so you can effectively leverage a variety of channels to reinforce your online reputation.
See how we can help you get listed, get found, and get great reviews here.