The buyer’s journey isn’t a straight line from clicking the advert to purchasing, it is a multi-stage journey that depends on the impact of the purchase. Buying your weekly shop online is going to have a different buyer’s journey when compared to a large impact purchase such as medical treatment or housing. When you are making a bigger buying decision you are more likely to do more research around the topic to make sure that your purchase decision is right.
One thing that is clear is that more and more buyers are turning to online searches and reviews to help make an informed decision. 53% of shoppers say that they always do research before they buy online.
We didn’t realise this was potentially hurting this until one of our long term customers mentioned they had seen a negative review from a disgruntled customer when they were searching for our brand online. They mentioned that it wasn’t a good look for us – of course they would continue working with us because they knew the quality of our service but it would likely put off new customers.
This was news to us, but to our dismay he was correct. A customer who had not fully understood our service before using us had left a review on his business blog and it was ranking on the first page of Google for our brand name search (even though we had given him a full refund and let him keep the web assets we had created for his company) – hardly an ideal situation.
So we tried to figure out what exactly we could do, we reached out to him to see if we could resolve it with them but they never got back to our communication attempts. So we were a bit stumped, this is where I dived down the rabbit hole and found out about the world of online reputation management. This was a huge industry that I had never even heard of.
What do I mean by your brands “online reputation”?
So before we dive too deeply into this rabbit hole. What do I mean by “online reputation” – it all comes down to the perception that consumers have of your brand online but this doesn’t really tell you practically what it is.
When I am talking about online reputation I am talking about what happens when people look for information on your brand online. Are they greeted by positive reviews and articles or negative pieces?
These pieces of information will form the customers opinion of you before you ever speak to them. Think of it this way, when you’re looking for a restaurant for a meal with your family, you probably have a threshold of what review stars you’re willing to accept. If you see 2 stars for example there’s a good chance you’ll flick past this restaurant without second thought.
The same happens when people are looking for your business.
So How Can I Check My Online Reputation?
Checking your online reputation is very easy for the most part, at least at a broad level. You can just search for things your customer might be searching on Google.
Here are some examples:
- Brand review
- Review of Brand
- Is brand good?
- Is brand legit?
- Is brand a scam?
- Should I use brand?
For further inspiration you can look in your Google Search Console if it’s connected to your website as this will provide you with what customers are actually searching.
Example of bad online reputation
The True Cost Of Not Controlling Your Online Reputation
It’s hard to put an exact figure on the cost of not controlling your online reputation but one thing’s for certain is that it can affect all your marketing efforts. As we mentioned earlier over half of customers research online before making a purchase. With the dominance of Google search receiving over 85% of online searches this is probably the search engine that you should be mainly focused on maintaining.
If people are searching for your brand and they’re encountering negative articles there’s a high chance that they will at least consider using another brand or product. A staggering statistic supporting this one found in a study by Moz which showed if a customer can uncover just one negative article about a business or service 22% of people say they will decide not to purchase the product.
So you should be always monitoring your brand related searches to make sure that there aren’t negative results. Especially if you’re investing heavily in marketing efforts such as pay per click, you could be attributing poor campaign performance to advertising factors when in reality it’s a reputation issue that you’re not aware of.
To give an example of this if over 50% of shoppers are turning to online research before purchasing and 22% of them won’t purchase as you have a negative review this means that your ads could be under performing massively.
100 shoppers come to your site to purchase your product but 50 of them search online to make sure they’re making the right decision but during this research period they uncover a negative review or article this means of the 50 you could lose 11 customers.
For our industry losing 11 potential customers would be well over 6 figures per year lost.
Why we choose to outsource to Reputica to fix our reputation
We initially started to try to fix our online reputation ourselves, we thought how hard could it be? We started to ask customers to write reviews of our service on popular review platforms like clutch, yelp, Facebook etc. but this didn’t remove the bad review that was haunting us.
So we reached out to Reputica, a popular reputation management company as we realised that this wasn’t something we were going to be able to fix easily. When we spoke on the phone with their staff they were confident that they would be able to help us as they had done it for many other companies who were in the same situation.
The way that they explained the value of their service was, it allows us to keep our focus on what we’re good at, while they handle what they’re good at (managing our online reputation).
This made complete sense, we had spent so much time and resources trying to fix this issue that when we broke it down, we should have just paid Reputica from the start. Plus, they also uncovered some further issues with our online reputation that we didn’t even consider that they began monitoring and working towards fixing.
We’re able to focus on our business and maintain the service standards while Reputica protects our reputation, they send us reports of their activities and keep us informed of any changes they think that we should be aware of.
While it’s hard to put a value on the service we’re confident that removing this review from the search results will make all our marketing efforts be more efficient.
The main benefit on a personal level of using Reputica is being able to switch off from this stuff, running a business is hard enough without adding more and more tasks to my weekly checks. I always think of my brain as a computer and if I keep on adding tasks that I’m not specialised or trained in that I’m just using up RAM that is already nearly maxed out.