What do people think of your brand? Whether opinions or stories are on social media, in the press, or pasted online for the world to see, it has always mattered to businesses.
In fact, you may already have a reputation management strategy where team members deal with what customers and other people say about your brand.
But how far does that strategy go? Does it stop with ensuring that you respond to negative posts? Or have you included elements of reputation marketing in your overall strategy? How does this approach differ from reputation management? Perhaps more importantly, how can you use this tactic effectively?
What is reputation marketing?
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First, let’s look at reputation management, something you may already be doing effectively. Put simply, reputation management involves efforts to decrease the amount of negative reviews and comments online. The aim is to resolve customer complaints you encounter and respond to online customer feedback.
If you are already doing all that, you may be wondering what more you can do. Reputation marketing takes things further.
As with reputation management, the first step is to monitor the various places where people might talk about you: on your website, social media platforms, third-party review sites, and even traditional press outlets.
There is still an element of reputation management involved in that you want to be proactive with negative comments. You can look at how the best PaaS providers approach both and bring them together.
However, what is of more importance when it comes to marketing is that you collate all the positive things being said about you. You want the two tactics to run in parallel while remaining distinctively separate.
Once you begin to monitor and track all that positive feedback, you can utilize it to better understand what people say about you and market your business based on that material.
So in short, the main difference between marketing and management of your reputation is that the latter focuses more on dealing with negatives (or potential negatives), while the former focuses on using positive material to promote your brand.
Don’t confuse reputation marketing with brand marketing, either. Brand marketing focuses on your organization’s values and identity, and communicates these to existing and potential customers.
Key reputation marketing tactics
Screenshot sourced from Who Gives a Crap customer newsletter
If you are going to implement this strategy, then you must understand two key tactics. You could say these two are symbiotic and that one cannot exist (or at least function well) without the other. The two tactics are:
- Reputation maintenance and improvement: How strong is your brand reputation currently? If your existing baseline is a business with a good (or great) reputation, then you will not want that to decline. If it’s average or even bad, then the only way is up and your main focus is to improve it.
- Reputation marketing: This will be your primary focus and involves taking all the existing positive material in your marketing efforts. This will ideally lead to more positive feedback and, of course, the ultimate goal of increased sales.
Think about your own purchasing behavior for a minute. What makes a difference when it comes to choosing who you buy a product or service from? For most people, various factors can influence this decision, including:
- Overall brand reputation
- Customer reviews
- Quality of customer service
- Product/service quality
Today, customer expectations are higher than ever. They can access information that helps make an informed decision at the click of a button.
Perhaps they want to know your business’s green credentials or what your CSR policies are. Information like that should be on your website. But for things such as peer reviews, they can look on social media or third-party sites.
In particular, it’s worth noting that Gen Z is an omnichannel generation accustomed to seamless online experiences, actively engaging across various digital platforms to gather insights before making decisions.
An organization must now ensure they meet customer expectations where possible. So you need to deliver a great first impression and ensure a positive experience throughout the customer journey and life cycle. This can cover everything from initial discovery to the quality of customer-facing staff when you provide call center hosting services.
Those experiences are intrinsically linked to who you are as a business, what your mission and values are, and what key stakeholders expect from you.
Benefits of reputation marketing
Utilizing this strategy has numerous advantages, some of which will be familiar to you from other marketing strategies. Remember though, even if these are things you are already achieving, you can still benefit from adding this tactic to your arsenal.
Think of it as turbocharging an already finely-tuned engine that can complement other strategies, such as using influencer marketing or advertorials that give people in-depth information on a product or service. Let’s dive into the essential benefits.
1. Greater brand awareness
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Unsurprisingly, this is something every brand wants. And the better your reputation is—and the more you let potential customers know that fact—the wider your reach will be. More people will talk about you through comments, reviews, and posts. People trust their peers more than they trust your core marketing messages, so they will soon spread the word for you.
2. Higher customer lifetime value (CLV)
You already know the importance of customer retention, and reputation marketing can help achieve high retention rates. Happy customers improve your reputation, and people are more likely to remain loyal to your brand. In turn, that means they are likely to spend more with you over their lifetime as a customer.
3. Lower customer acquisition costs (CAC)
Every new customer you get comes at a cost. CAC can include factors such as salaries (or agency fees), ad placement, designers, and more.
That cost can vary according to your business size and budget, but it’s still significant. Having a good reputation can help decrease your average CAC and have an impact on your bottom line.
This can happen because of two main factors: you’re increasing customer retention rates and attracting new customers through word of mouth and recommendations.
4. Optimized marketing
When done correctly, online reputation management enables your brand to market itself, creating an ongoing cycle. When your brand has an excellent reputation, it will attract new customers who may even pay more for a product than what a competitor (with a negative reputation) sells it for.
5. Better growth potential
It’s basic business logic: a good reputation can lead to more customers. More customers means more revenue, which allows you to create or add new products or services. From here, you can diversify your target market, leading to more customers and.. Well, you get the idea. It can even help you develop new generations of products that sell for higher prices, thus increasing CLV figures as well as average customer spend.
Reputation marketing not only enhances your brand’s image among potential customers but also plays a crucial role in reducing customer churn. By maintaining a positive reputation and delivering exceptional experiences, you can keep existing customers satisfied and loyal.
6. Improved staff retention
A positive reputation isn’t just beneficial for customers; it can also have a positive effect on your employees.
Staff retention can be just as important as customer retention. Good reputation marketing can not only help you keep the staff you have, it can also help you attract the best talent when your business inevitably grows.
When a business has good staff retention rates, it can improve their reputation through factors such as more knowledgeable staff.
How to implement a reputation marketing strategy
Marketing is about making your brand stand out, engaging customers, and generating leads. The end goal is much the same. So you may find that you’ve already implemented some components involved in this tactic. But it’s about expanding on your efforts to create a strategy that builds on brand recognition and helps you achieve specific business objectives.
Screenshot Sourced from Amesandoates.com
Here are the essential elements every reputation marketing strategy should have:
- Optimization: SEO optimization can be as important as content optimization, so don’t neglect it. Building a solid online reputation involves establishing authority. This, in turn, can increase your ranking in search engines, thus boosting your reputation and gaining you more traffic.
- Referral programs: If you’re not already doing so, implement referral programs and incentivize them so that people are encouraged to share your story and boost your reputation.
- Localization: Do you get a lot of business from your local area/region? If so, take your SEO efforts one step further by optimizing your website to be more visible in local searches. Also ensure your site is optimized for mobile use and that you have good Web Ops capabilities to deliver a seamless online experience.
- Feedback loop: While a business may have no control over what people say, you can take steps to improve the quality of reviews. Respond quickly to reviews, thanking customers for good reviews and trying to solve issues raised by negative feedback. Receiving good reviews—and effectively managing bad ones—can significantly improve your reputation.
- Reviews: Positive reviews make excellent marketing content. Collate all your good reviews and publish them on your website, either on the home page or in a dedicated section. When potential customers see these, they will be more likely to buy from you.
- Social media: From LinkedIn to Threads, social media platforms offer an excellent opportunity to engage with existing and potential customers. As well as sharing reviews and testimonials, you can have conversations with people and show that you care.
- Google: Whether operating locally or nationally, having a business account with Google is highly advisable. It’s free and can help improve your reputation as well as connecting you with more potential customers.
Part of good reputation marketing is meeting customers’ expectations and constantly engaging with them. Communications in the digital era can involve everything from live chat to using local fax services. You should recognize not only what they expect but also how they want to communicate and engage with you. By meeting their needs in every way, you can enhance your reputation.
One thing you might have realized is that many of the tactics associated with marketing your reputation marketing may be things you’re already doing. You just need to shift focus so that those tactics focus primarily on your reputation as a business.