The Four Part Online Marketing Strategy: Part 1 – Reputation

The Four Part Online Marketing Strategy: Part 1 – Reputation

Over the next four weeks we’ll be covering a comprehensive online marketing strategy revolving around four cornerstones: reputation, reach, resell, and referral. We’ll be covering how to grow and retain your customer base in order to solidify your position as an authority in the online marketplace. Today we’re starting with Part 1: Reputation.


Reputation Management is Not Enough

In the pre-internet era, reputation was managed in just one of two places: mass media and word of mouth. You managed your mass reputation with advertisements and press releases, and you managed your word of mouth with customer service.

The world has changed. It started with rating sites, which gave consumers an outlet to rate or discover products and businesses. Then came the search engines, which consumers used to inform themselves about your business. Finally, social networks came along and gave every consumer a place to share their opinions with all of their friends at once.

Reputation management is no longer enough. In today’s world, your reputation is your position in the market. Consumers no longer have to guess what other people think of your business. They can find the information at a moment’s notice. An ad here and a press release there won’t do it anymore.

It’s time to leverage your reputation as a marketing channel in and of itself.

An Introduction to Reputation Marketing

With SEO and social networking, you can leverage your reputation to increase your exposure. Reputation comes down to four things:

1. Who you know?

Whether we like it or not, we are judged by who we associate with. Traditional marketers are well aware of the influence a celebrity endorsement can have. The same goes for digital marketing. Consumers will trust you more if they see that you’re associated with prominent bloggers and social media personalities. A larger follower count can also help things along.

More than anything else, if a consumer notices that a friend or family member trusts your business, they will find it hard not to follow suit.

Human beings are social creatures. Who we associate with matters.

2. What you’re known for?

Obviously, you would like to be known for your products, but effective branding goes deeper. Consumers want to know that you share their values and interests. The modern business is known just as much for its products as for its culture.

Customer service is no longer confined to the telephone call. Businesses interact with their customer base through their blog, social networks, newsletters, and mobile apps. That public conversation is happening whether you take part in it or not. If your brand culture doesn’t find its way online, many consumers will assume it doesn’t exist.

You will find it difficult to build any kind of long term relationship with customers if that is how they perceive you.

3. Where You Are?

It sounds basic enough, but many local businesses fail when it comes to letting consumers know where to find them.

With bad SEO, searchers won’t find you in Google Maps and will have trouble discovering your location.

With bad site design, users will have trouble finding your nearest location, one of the main reasons they come to your site in the first place.

With poor social media integration, consumers may hear of you but never figure out where you are.

4. Why You’re the Right Choice?

All too often, businesses focus on being merely “better” or “cheaper.” It’s almost always more important to emphasize why you are different. Consumers won’t believe you are cheaper unless they hear it from a different site, nor will they trust that you are better without something specific they can latch onto.

An enormous part of your reputation is your unique selling proposition. What makes you different from any other business in the area? That is what builds camaraderie with your customer base and sets you apart.

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