Barry Craft on Protecting Your Company’s Reputation Online

The number of consumers who are searching for products and services online keeps growing. The importance of online marketing has never been more important, especially for brick and mortar businesses. One of the key elements to online marketing is managing your company’s reputation.  We are here with reputation marketing expert Barry Craft to see if we can get some insight on protecting your online reputation.

Barry Craft Business Innovators MagazineQ: Barry, can you explain exactly what reputation marketing is?

A: Reputation marketing is a rather new field that has evolved over the past 3 years or so. It is a hybrid between reputation management and brand marketing. It has many of the components of both, but together they work synergistically to amplify the benefits and produce a greater ROI for a company’s marketing efforts. Reputation marketing has become our main business focus because of the critical role it plays in the local online marketing space.

Q: How important is it to make sure you have a good online reputation? 

A: I would say having a good online reputation is the single most important factor that can influence how a brand is perceived, as well as the likelihood of a consumer choosing to do business with them. According to the 2015 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey, “92% of consumers now read online reviews and star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business.”In the consumer’s eyes, a company’s reputation is based on what they find online about that company. Being in the top search results on Google is no longer good enough because most consumers will first check out a company’s reviews and ratings before doing business with them. All forms of marketing, online or off-line, are affected by reputation, so it is imperative that an organization always strives to deliver five-star service by having a reputation marketing culture within the company. 

Q: How can reputation affect someone’s bottom line?

A: Companies with bad reviews would most likely experience a decrease in profitability as a result of fewer phone calls and new customers, due to a lower reputational value. There are many factors that contribute to this value, but having an insufficient number of reviews, especially if some of those reviews are unfavorable, is one of the most important considerations. Some of our clients have also told us they were able to charge more for the same products and services offered by some of their competitors because of the increase in reputation, we have helped them achieve. 

Q A lot of people think having good Yelp reviews is all you need to worry about online. What are your thoughts on this perception?

A: Yelp is certainly a trusted authority with regards to viewing a company’s reputation, however, they are only one of many online platforms that influence the likelihood of a potential customer doing business with that company. Google is also one of the most trusted authorities with regards to reviews but it is also important for a company to properly claim and have reviews on other sites such as Bing Places, Yahoo Local, Facebook, Yellow Bot, Insider Pages, and many others. Many companies want to know the process involved for properly claiming and setting up these directory listings. Therefore, we recently published an 83-page step-by-step guide that is available at no cost.

Q: What are some factors that can hurt a company’s reputation and what can be done to minimize those events?

A: There is always a chance of getting a bad review regardless of how well your organization strives to deliver five-star service. Let’s face it, some people cannot be pleased regardless of what you do and there is also the likelihood of a staff member having a bad day and a sensitive customer perceiving that as the standard for your company. Those types of unfavorable reviews online can often be turned into a positive review by quickly responding to that complaint and attempting to resolve the issue. Many people just want to be acknowledged and understand that things are not always perfect. In addition to the possibility of the unhappy customer changing their bad review to a more favorable one, other potential customers also see that company’s concern and attempt to reconcile issues. Without a doubt, the biggest flaw in addressing those concerns is that most organizations do not have a sufficient system or process in place to monitor those reviews on a daily basis so they can be promptly addressed. 

Q: Why will working with a professional like yourself greatly improve a business’s chances for success?

A: The online reputation of any business is the greatest single factor that can influence the visibility, reach, and ultimately the bottom line profits. The main focus of our business is reputation marketing. We help small businesses develop a five-star reputation online and then market that reputation to get more customers. We utilize many different proprietary systems and processes that effectively manage, build, and market a company’s reputation and help them become the brand leader in their local market.

Tavis Bucklin

Tavis Bucklin is a #1 Best-selling author, and contributing iReporter for CNN covering leaders in Business, Health, and Personal Development.Tavis has been published in ABC, CNN, NBC, FOX and Forbes Magazine among other outlets.