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The Do’s and Don’ts of Reputation Marketing

What’s in this article:

  • Reputation marketing lets brands quickly establish trust by leveraging industry authority and its perception in the overall market
  • As with any marketing technique, there is a right and wrong way to manage your brand self-image

In 2021, reputation marketing isn’t just an element of marketing — it’s a cornerstone of the entire industry. It lets brands quickly establish trust by leveraging industry authority and its perception in the overall market. As with any marketing technique, however, there is a right and wrong way to manage your brand self-image.

The partnership of reputation marketing and management

Reputation marketing is not the same thing as reputation management, though the two are closely related. Reputation management uses SEO, social media channels, PR efforts, and content curation to create a positive overall impression of a brand online. Reputation marketing showcases positive content from third parties, such as user reviews, social media posts, and press coverage. Reputation marketing strengthens your brand’s online authority, which in turn adds weight to your reputation management efforts.

Consider this study which suggests that nearly half of consumers need your brand to have at least a four-star rating before they spend money with you. Similarly, according to the study, every additional star on your Yelp rating can increase your business’ revenue by as much as 9%. Devoting resources to reputation marketing is an investment in your brand, but before you formulate your plan, review these simple dos and don’ts.

Don’t wait for a crisis to think about your reputation

Many brands make the common mistake of not considering their online reputation until there’s some kind of catastrophe. Putting in the time to establish a good reputation reduces the effort it takes to recover from a public relations setback. Well-executed reputation strategies put the most favorable impression of your brand to the forefront of searches, providing a buffer against negativity during a crisis. Building trust after a disaster is a heavy lift that many brands find insurmountable if they haven’t first done the work to establish a positive reputation.

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Do create a system for collecting feedback

In order to surface positive third-party content about your brand, you first must supply the means for that content to be created. Your site is the most obvious location to invite customers to leave comments, but far from the only one you should provide. Social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are natural conduits for gathering this kind of information. Surveys can gather information about specific steps of the buyer’s journey, such as customer service, ease of returns, or shipping. Whatever route you choose, don’t make the feedback process overly complicated. When it comes to ratings, the simpler, the better.

Don’t ignore negative feedback

While it’s true that a certain percentage of negative feedback comes from people who simply enjoy being unpleasant, that doesn’t mean you should brush all criticisms aside. Look for repeated complaints, and then address them. Your customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to fix problems when they’re pointed out. Thank users for pointing out the deficiency        and devote the necessary resources to correcting the issue. When that’s not possible, apologize and make amends with a refund, discount, or another benefit. Your customers want to feel heard, so listen.

Do think about the user experience

A minor grievance can quickly turn into a 500-word rant about your company if you overlook your customer’s user experience. Review your customer support channels for ease of use and responsiveness. Have several different methods for contacting your company and make them easy to find on your site. Empower your employees to respond to support tickets quickly. Your customers want to feel like they’re receiving timely attention and will be vocal about your company when they get it…and when they don’t.

Don’t cheat

The easiest way to get good reviews is to write them yourself, right? Wrong. It’s unethical and a sure-fire way to tank your reputation if (and when) you’re caught. Consumers are savvy when it comes to sniffing out fake feedback and won’t be shy about making your chicanery go viral. The public aren’t the only ones you have to fear by gaming the system: In 2012, Yelp put “consumer alert” labels on businesses found to have been buying positive reviews.

Do create opportunities for interaction

The obvious points in the buyer’s journey when your customer is likely to comment about your brand are the moment of purchase, completion of use, and if something has gone wrong. Create other opportunities for feedback with exclusive discounts, contests, or other special offers. Hashtag campaigns can inspire your customers to spread the good word, but do your research before starting one.

Don’t forget the basics

“Make your website work” seems like obvious advice, but it’s truly shocking how many brands fall short on this step. According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that didn’t work well. If your site doesn’t have a solid mobile experience, you’re losing customers. Your desktop experience matters just as much, though. Load time is one of the factors that Google takes into consideration when determining search ranking. The slower your site, the further down the results page you land.

Do it all again

Your reputation isn’t something you tweak once and abandon. It requires regular monitoring and maintenance, both to watch for potential pitfalls and to observe positive trends. You may not even realize aspects of your business that are resonating with your customers unless you’re regularly trawling comments and reviews. Your business will change over time, as will your customer base.

Keeping up with what’s being said about (and to) you forms a foundation from which you can build a strong relationship with your customers, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.

Happier customers fuel the viral loop and therefore help in acquiring new ones. That’s why it’s important for brands to grow through existing customers. Scaling your CRM is the only way to do that.

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