I probably don’t have to tell you that your corporate reputation, like your personal reputation, is your most important asset. A good reputation with your customers and prospects can mean the difference between a big bankroll and bankruptcy.

In a pre-internet world, a bad review or experience could take a long time before it had any real effect. Today, we are blessed (and sometimes cursed) with the ability to share our views and complaints instantly, with information going around the block and around the world.

That’s why you need to be ultra-mindful and proactive when it comes to managing your online reputation. One bad review mishandled will often have a magnified effect that can take a long time to reverse – if it can be at all.

A look at the numbers

Don’t think it’s all that important? Let’s take a quick look at some sobering statistics:

  • 72 percent of consumers report that they regularly investigate companies through social channels before making purchases (Cone Communications)
  • 59 percent will use social media sites to complain about customer service (Cone Communications)
  • 89 percent of consumers believe that these online channels are trustworthy sources (Society for Communications Research)
  • 80 percent changed their minds about purchasing after reading a negative comment or review (Society for Communications Research)

So how can you make sure bad reviews online don’t ruin your business? Here are three ways:

1. Make stellar customer service a priority

Without question, the single most important thing you can do to manage your online reputation is to take customer service very seriously. You may think you do that, but in a world where a negative review can be shared thousands of times in a few hours, taking a week or so to try and rectify the problem could be the death-knell you hear ringing. Contact the upset customer (privately if possible) and offer to make amends.  And please: check your ego! The customer may not always be right, but she or he is always potentially in a position to do great harm.

2. Encourage and reward positive reviews

The fact is that in business, sooner or later, you will get a bad review. One of the best ways to help negate the effect of the occasional poor review is by encouraging and rewarding good reviews from your happy customers. This has several benefits, among them creating a positive culture surrounding your online persona, as well as by pushing the negative reviews further down the search results.

3. Respond publicly

If you’ve done all you can and the customer still won’t change their review, you can make a public entry to state your side. Use this wisely, and only to present the facts. Don’t “flame” the customer, and don’t use this as a way to appear as anything but humble. Coming off defensive and unprofessional will make the situation far worse.

Make it your business to deal with your online reputation just as diligently as you would any other aspect of your business. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, then hire a consultant or firm that you can trust to do it for you.

I’s that important.

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My Biggest Business Lesson of 2014 (And Maybe Ever)

by Eddie Reeves on December 28, 2014

I learn something every year in my business. Actually, I learn something just about every day in my business, but I try hard to take at least one major lesson from every year and apply it earnestly perpetually from then forward.

This year, there is no question about the lesson I learned, even though I am a bit embarrassed to admit it. Why am I embarrassed? Because it is a lesson I have been teaching and coaching others on for years, but I only this year realized how much more I needed to internalize it myself.

My biggest marketing lesson of 2014 was this: Get over it and keep pressing on.

Not exactly Earth-shattering in its simplicity, I know, but it is a profoundly powerful lesson for me, and I hope, for you, too.

I had a couple of major setbacks and disappointments this year. That’s not new – I have those every year, just as every entrepreneur does. But what was different about them this year was that the major ones were not due to any failing on my part.

This year, more than any other I can ever remember, I had clients flake out on me, vendors fail me and prospects flat lie to me.

And the truth is, I let it get me way too down way too often.

I know better than that, or lat least, I should know better than that.

The good news is that I have learned this lesson and learned it deeply. I now know not just in my head, but in my heart that I have no control over any one else’s ethics or morals.

All I can do is to be the most honest, ethical and principled businessperson I can be.

And the good news is that, much more often then not, people will respond in kind.

The icing on the cake for me was that just as I was reflecting on this lesson the other day, my favorite movie of all times came on TV, and it was a deeper and richer blessing to me than it ever has been.

What was that move? Why only the greatest piece of cinematic art ever created: Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life.

If you haven’t watched it lately, I strongly encourage you to do so, and to reflect deeply on its message.

May you have the most blessed of holiday seasons and a truly wonderful year next year befitting your truly wonderful life!

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A Year-end Wish for All of You

December 18, 2014

To all of you who honor me by reading this blog, thank you and may God richly bless you!!!

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How to Leverage Multicultural Marketing for Maximum Money

July 20, 2014

Your business’ sales are drying up and you don’t know what to do about it.
Here is one of the smartest questions you can ask yourself:  Am I leaving big money on the table simply because of my own cultural blind spot?
Answering this question forthrightly can lead to huge breakthroughs in growing your revenues and profits, [...]

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How To Make Sure Your SEO Marketing Really Works

April 11, 2014

Ah, those SEO blues.
More and more people are complaining to me these days about SEO (search engine optimization) efforts gone bad. As Google has continued to refine and update the way its search engine works, more and more of the work of so-called SEO “experts” has proven to be essentially worthless.
And the real shame [...]

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Here’s Your 2014 Marketing Success Kit!

January 8, 2014

Want to significantly increase your success in 2014?  Study and apply this:

What if I fail? from Jesse Desjardins – @jessedee

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Five Mistakes That are Killing Your Marketing ROI

December 21, 2013

In this tough economy, it is crucial that every dollar your business allocates to sales and marketing be well spent. But which marketing methods really give you the most return on investment (ROI)? SEO? Direct mail? Social media?
The truth is that there are other, more basic questions you should be asking before worrying about specific [...]

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Protect Your Business Success by Protecting Your Online Reputation

October 27, 2013

If your home is your physical castle, your website is your royal abode online.  For virtually every business today, your digital real estate is a key asset that must be zealously safeguarded.
While cyber security – protecting your website from hacking, phishing and other nefarious online maladies that didn’t even exist a decade – gets a [...]

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Does Your Marketing Grab Your Prospects Attention? Here’s Why It Must!

August 8, 2013

Do your marketing messages compel your prospects to buy what you sell? Do they tap into their basic emotions? Are you aware that prospects buy on emotion and justify their purchase with logic?
Your marketing must convince your prospects that you offer “extraordinary value.” And it must resonate with them emotionally. Simply telling them that you’re [...]

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PR: The Professional Service Firm’s Secret Weapon for Business Development

July 19, 2013

A well-executed public relations (PR) effort can be one of the most effective business development techniques most professional services firms have ever experienced.
One of the biggest benefits of good PR — being quoted in the media, being highlighted in profiles, having articles bear your firm personnel’s byline, etc. — is that it effectively sells you [...]

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