Local business in 2020: why online reputation management is more important than ever
Local business is under attack. Your customers face a constant, daily onslaught of marketing messages from huge, multinational companies trying to win them over.
How many messages? Digital marketing experts estimate most Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day.
Walmart spent over 3 billion dollars on marketing last year. Want to take a guess at how much Amazon spent? More than TEN billion. That’s billions with a B, folks.
For local businesses struggling to stand out in this chaos, there’s no way to compete with the “big boys” when it comes to marketing budget or exposure.
What you can do is optimize each customer interaction, provide the personalized, “small town service” people crave from local businesses, and—this is an absolute must—own your online presence and reputation management.
Online reputation management is like free advertising for small businesses
Believe it or not, 84% of customers search online for local businesses, 97% read online reviews for local businesses, and 88% trust those reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
You may think that your business relies on foot traffic or “word of mouth” to bring in new business, but in our increasingly digital world, word of mouth has moved online to places like Facebook, Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor. In fact, as we’ve stated before, your listings on these sites for online reviews are more important than your company website.
That means that your online presence—the digital footprint of your business—needs to be the absolute best it can be. To get you started, we’ve written helpful articles about how to take control of your online business reputation, how to claim your business listing on TripAdvisor, how to claim your business on Yelp, how to claim your Google My Business listing, and how to respond to negative online reviews.
Go deeper: read new research from Womply showing that businesses that claim their listings on multiple online business reviews sites make 58% more money!
The good news about online reputation management
The good news is these review sites are free for all to use, and your efforts to improve your “star rating” by engaging your customers and providing an excellent experience can pay off huge. Studies show a one-star increase in your rating can increase revenue by 39%, and 94% of customers say they will use a business with at least a 4 star rating.
Another positive is that the process is relatively easy, and anyone with an internet connection and the time to do it can effectively manage the process.
The bad news about online reputation management
The bad news is these review sites are free for all to use, and one bad review can cost you 30 customers. What’s more, 87% of customers say they won’t use a business with a rating below 3 stars.
The other major issue with managing your online reputation is that it can be very time-consuming, and for busy small business owners without sufficient staff, this is a task that often falls by the wayside.
This is why reputation management software is one of the fastest-growing categories for small business.
Reputation management software is a lifesaver for busy local businesses
Womply is dedicated to helping small businesses thrive in a digital world, and has developed simple-yet-robust reputation management software offering that allows the business owner to read and respond to reviews on all of the popular review sites, all in one place with one login. Womply also automates the feedback process and has been shown to increase small businesses’ star rating by at least one-half star on average.
Businesses that use Womply have been shown to seen an average 20% increase in revenue, earn 22% more repeat customer visits, and save 10 hours per week.
As one of Womply’s happy small business software clients says, “I don’t know how any storekeeper gets by without Womply, to be honest.”
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Womply Product Overview - Reputation Management, CRM, Email Marketing for Small Business.