When you are looking at ways to increase sales don’t overlook the value of your business’s Online Presence and Online Reputation and the potential for improvement as a way to drive sales.
Your Online Presence refers to your business overall footprint online and includes things like social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), directory sites (Yelp, Tripadvisor, Yellow Pages) and even apps and a lot more. These are places where consumers can engage with your business online and hopefully make the connection that will lead to a sale either now or in the future.
Your Online Reputation refers to the Reviews and Ratings you have online for your business but also includes the mentions, comments and even photos and videos from your business .. they all contribute to your reputation online.
Here are a few ways improving your Presence and Reputation online can help you get more sales.
Being listed in more places gets you found more.
Its common sense! If you business is not listed where your customers might look for you then you have little chance of them choosing your business. As a kicker .. you will be passing them straight to your competitors that are listed. This does not mean you need to be listed in all of the 100’s of places online relevant to your business but you should aim to be listed on the services that are important to your client base at the very least. You should also consider being listed on any niche services for your industry as consumers looking there are more likely to be interested in using a service like yours and you should also consider hyper-local services that only list very local businesses.
While you are getting your business listed you should also try to make each of your listings as compelling as possible. Include things like photos, offers, your logo and anything else that will stop consumers from looking further.
A better online presence helps you rank better.
If you are a local business then you need to be aware of the importance of local search. You are doing a Local Search if you search for a type of business in a certain area and when you do this you receive a special set of results that includes a map and 3 local listings. These local listings are often at the top of the page and are the most prominent results.
This is one of the last places you can get free access to the google homepage as a local business and it is very important that you optimize your business’s online presence so that you can rank in the top 3 that appear on the first page of results.
You can do this by creating more listings online where your business Name, Address and Phone Number appear and by ensuring that these are as consistent as possible across all your profiles.
Improving your information means interested customers can find you.
It is hard enough attracting interested consumers to your profile, but when they arrive and the information is incorrect or incomplete you are creating a bigger problem. If a client tries to call or drives to your business location and finds it is incorrect then they are likely to move on and go to your competitors.
Reviews help your business standout.
Reviews are becoming increasingly important to all businesses and they play an important part in the decision process of deciding whether consumers will patronise your business or your competitors.
When consumers see that you have reviews they are more likely to choose your business to read more and it is often the extra information they find in your reviews (or your replies to reviews) that makes the difference.
Having reviews on your profiles will often mean your business will rank higher and the right number when consumers search on a site and your profiles will receive more clicks if you have right number of reviews.
Bad ratings might mean consumers never see your business.
If your ratings on a service are below the average ratings of your competitors then chances are your business will either be pushed off page 1 or may never be shown at all. If your ratings are letting you down on major sites like Yelp, Google and Tripadvisor then this can have a significant effect on your revenue.
Many of these sites now allow you to filter by rating so ensuring your business is as high as possible should be a priority. Below is a ratings filter for google that allows you to focus on restaurants with a rating of 4 or better.
Your business will appear in places you never expected.
Listing your business on some services will mean your business will not only be listed on that service but potentially hundreds or even thousands of other services. This is particularly true of services like Foursquare, Factual, Infogroup, Axciom and Localeze but many services will share their listing information with other services.
It is not only other websites where your business will be visible, one of the most important places where you want your business is in Apps on a phone or a tablet and ensuring your business is listed on services like Foursquare, Google Local, Yelp, Facebook and more is that your business will then be available to anyone build an online service using their API. This is incredibly important and something most business owners are not aware of but having at least a presence on these services is highly recommended. As an example, Uber uses Foursquare for their place database and if your business is not in Foursquare then when people are using the Uber App they will not be able to select your business as a pickup location or (more importantly) destination.
Your business’s Presence and Reputation online is something that is only going to become more important every year as more and more consumers rely on online to connect with local business. You should aim to create a presence for your business that maximises your ability to get in front of consumers when they are looking for businesses like yours and then ensure when they find you they are impressed with what they find.
Once you have established a strong presence and enviable reputation for your business you will not only see an increase in revenue but will will be well positioned to benefit from the continued