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How Valuable is Your Reputation?

Digital Reputation CurrencyDoes your reputation actually convert to dollars? Is there such a thing as reputation dollars?

Since the digital revolution began over 2 decades ago a number of things have popped up on the horizon that have never been envisioned before. Right now there is great discussion regarding the value of a business’s reputation and how to convert that to actual dollars. Think of the concept for a moment: you receive a rating from a customer for your products or services and that rating converts to digital currency that you are able to spend somewhere else.

That might take a while to sink in because never before has such a thing been possible. There is an article concerning this in Wired magazine that is definitely worth reading.

Take a moment and consider some of the possibilities and ramifications. On a positive note it would more surely enforce the idea that businesses take care of their customers more. They deliver the products or services that they advertise and they take care of the customers making sure they know-how to use it, understand it, enjoy it and fulfill their wishes with the purchase.

Talk about leveling the playing field! One single customers opinion would have an even more dramatic effect than it already does right now.

But there must be a way to control the obvious downsides. If there’s that much control or power in digital reputation currency, what’s to prevent unethical competitors, irrational customers and disgruntled employees from trying to do damage to the business? My first thought is that there would have to be proof of an actual purchase of whatever product or service was discussed. In the digital world this type of thing is possible.

But I am concerned about the “house of cards” foundation of the whole concept because it is not based upon actual physical experience, it is something that is in a digital file on some computer hard drive that could be manipulated or lost. Yes of course there are such a thing as Raid backup drives and security systems, but that still doesn’t prevent someone from manipulating the data.

The purpose of this blog post is really only one thing: every business needs to be profoundly aware of the power that consumers have to sway public opinion and to build or tarnish your reputation. Whether something like this digital currency regarding reputation actually comes to pass, is yet to be seen. The current ability of customers to leave positive or negative reviews regarding their experience exists right now and has a very profound and powerful effect upon every business. Businesses who are not actively collecting, monitoring, reacting to and promoting positive reviews are going to be left behind.

SEO doesn’t work anymore. What people want are reviews about their experience with you. They want to see what others have gone through, what their experience has been whether positive or negative. People don’t want to lose money. They don’t want to make a mistake. People rely upon consumer’s reputation more than ever before and it is imperative that businesses take an active role in this entire process.

Many companies I visited with are making drastic changes in their business and how they treat their employees and customers based upon the reputation reports that they have received. In one sense it is a very good thing. There is even a new system where employees rate their bosses and create reputation from an internal point of view! I predict it will not be long before any business run by an arrogant and power-hungry monster will be humbled to the dust unless it changes its ways.

If you are looking for a system whereby you can collect, monitor, and promote positive reviews while dealing with the negative ones, give us a call today at 775-722-4949.

Your digital reputation currency is already active with you realize it or not.

Search Engine Optimization vs. Reputation Marketing

search engine optimization, reputation marketingAs pioneers in developing Reputation Marketing systems, our sales team often runs into the objection “But, I already have someone working on my SEO”.  The misconception that all things related to managing a business’s online presence are the same is amusing, frustrating and resolvable.

Perhaps the simplest way to distinguish the difference between SEO and Reputation Marketing is to acknowledge that SEO is more mechanical and factual, while Reputation Marketing is more opinion and emotion.  And, when it gets right down to it, people narrow their choices based on facts, but actually buy based on emotions.

Another distinction is clear from the names we put on these functions.  “Search Engine Optimization” is a clear indication that the target of the effort is search engines.  Reputation Marketing, on the other hand, is directed at real people.  Mechanics vs. Opinions.

SEO has one objective; getting a business’s website to rank well in Google (68%) or any of the other search engines (32%).  Reputation Marketing presents the business through the eyes of people who have actually experienced it.  Their opinions are absolutely critical to the very success of a business – regardless of any SEO efforts.

SEO is like advertising.  A business can put up billboards, buy newspaper ads, run spots on radio or cable TV.  Thousands of dollars can be committed to making people aware of the business.  The fact remains, over 80 percent of people will still check out a business online before initiating a transaction.   If they see others are displeased, or even offer tepid reviews in response to their experience, all the advertising in the world will not gain a new customer.

A well-executed Reputation Marketing campaign is steady and never-ending.  It involves monitoring what is being said about a business and providing the business tools with which to encourage customers to express themselves.  It allows less-than-happy customers to get their issues resolved before “yapping on Yelp” and happy customers an easy way to know how to express themselves online.  Over time, the preponderance of positive experiences will steadily have an “SEO effect” by lifting a local business in the rankings.

In fact, Reputation Marketing for a local company is vastly more powerful than SEO.  While SEO is helpful for non-geographically-specific businesses, a local search always has two components; the type of business and the location of the customer (e.g. Dentist, Canton, Ohio).  A national company does not have the advantage of such simplicity and is far more reliant on SEO to even be found, but will still rely on positive customer feedback to be selected.

In the end, the two strategies are not mutually exclusive.  SEO is important to get search engine ranking.  Reputation Marketing is important to establish trust with prospective customers and can supplement SEO dramatically.  When it comes to local businesses, the lines are blurred even more where consumer feedback is treated by search engines in ways that optimizes the possibility that a business will be ranked higher and found more easily.

By Tushar Patel and Roger McManus

Why Your Reputation is Profoundly Important

If you ever wondered just how important it is to have a good reputation or wondered why all the hub bub about this issue, here is a talk given at TED in June of last year by Rachel Botsman calling it “The currency of the new economy is trust” and is all about Reputation Marketing. It is an excellent article and well worth the 15 minutes of view time.

After viewing this, please call us to see how we can improve your online presence and increase the number of people calling you every day wanting to buy your products or services: (702) 726-2427

Garage Door Customer

One of our newest customers is a well-established company that installs and maintains garage doors in homes and businesses. They have a very good reputation and spend a significant amount of money each month in marketing and advertising. One of things that has happened because of the changes in Google and their emphasis on people’s reviews about a business, is that they managed to get a couple of negative reviews. The owner did not like this because they were very proud of their reputation.

Once they saw the system we had to offer here at 5StarMax, they instantly signed up and incorporated it into their business. The unique thing with them is the fact that they had QR codes created for every single employee and when any of them meet with the public to install and service any kind of garage door, they give the customer a business card and asked them for a review of how they did.

It didn’t take long before they began to acquire multiple five-star reviews pushing down any of the negative ones that were showing up. Each month they get a report showing which employees got which reviews and it helps them in not only managing them but keeping their focus on keeping the customer happy.