Coastline Marketing Group Newsletter GraphicAs a business owner, you have invested significant time, effort and money into growing a successful company, and there is nothing quite as exciting as talking with your customers face-to-face. Yet, you may be overlooking a lucrative way to gather feedback about your company while also enjoying the benefit of online marketing. Ignoring online reviews is a common mistake many business owners make due to a lack of understanding about the influence of social media or outright fear of having to deal with a negative comment. Unfortunately, your online reputation matters more than you think, and you can take full advantage of its potential by recognizing online reviews as an opportunity for growth.

Technology has changed how customers research new companies. In the past, a member of your target audience might ask a friend or neighbor for a referral, or they would have read a review in their favorite magazine. Now, they simply turn on their smartphone and start reading online. In fact, they may even be reading reviews as they sit in your parking lot. This instant access to information means that your online reputation impacts how people view your business right at the moment when they are deciding between you and your competition.

Ignoring negative reviews will not make them go away. Yet, it is possible to make even the most scathing comments work in your favor. Knowing what is being posted on social media sites such as Yelp is the first step toward regaining control over your online reputation. Once you know what is being said about your company, then all it takes is some carefully written responses that acknowledge and offer a solution for any negative comments. This shows potential customers that your company is dedicated toward improving the customer experience and helps to minimize the impact that negative comments have on your reputation.

Turn Stars Into Marketing Tools

You can blow your marketing budget on fancy billboards and television commercials, but the truth is that they are less likely to be seen because your target audience’s heads are buried in their smartphones and laptops. Social media review sites are the new word-of-mouth advertising platform that can minimize marketing costs when you use them to their full advantage. Try to picture those five yellow stars as new members of your sales team. Each time you score a new positive review, you influence another person to do business with your company.

Every business has gained a reputation with the public that influences its success. Take control of your online reputation and watch as your business takes the lead when it comes to gaining credibility through the power of positive reviews.

– Phil Fisk, President Coastline Marketing Group