Did you know that approximately 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before deciding to visit a business? Or how about the fact that every one star increase in a Yelp rating results in a five to nine percent increase in revenue?

With statistics like these in mind, it’s easy to understand just how important it is to maintain a strong online reputation.

A few bad reviews may not sink your business, but a less than stellar reputation over the long haul is a major problem.

Since your online reputation is so important, here are three things you can do to better your situation:

1. Carefully Read All Reviews

It’s your hope that every customer leaves a positive online review of your business. Not only does this make you feel good, but others who read it are more likely to visit you in the future.

In addition to carefully reading all reviews, you should get into the habit of responding to each one.

It’s easy to respond to positive reviews, as the person is happy with the service they received. Conversely, it’s much more difficult to respond to a negative review, because you’re staffed with the responsibility of making things right.

Responding to a negative review won’t remove it, but it does show that you care about your reputation and providing customers with the best possible experience.

2. Ask for Feedback

While some customers are sure to leave an online review, which gives you an idea of what they’re thinking, this isn’t the case with all of them.

Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback, such as by creating a brief online survey and emailing it to your customer list.

This does two things:

  • It makes the customer feel like their opinion matters
  • It helps you make changes for the better

Tip: provide some type of reward for filling out the survey, such as a discount on a future purchase.

3. Spend More Time on Social Media

From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, there’s a good chance your customers are hanging out on social media.

It’s your hope that they have nothing but good things to say, but you never know for sure until you start monitoring it closely.

In addition to regular monitoring, here are some things you can do on social media to improve your reputation:

  • Share valuable information and advice
  • Answer questions
  • Join relevant conversations (without pushing your business on others)

Final Thoughts

Since a poor online reputation has the potential to kill your business, you must spend the necessary resources on protecting against this. You’ll be glad that you did in the long run!

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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