Managing a company, and that company’s brand can be difficult when combined with the wide array of other tasks that business owners and managers must tackle every day. Online branding is everything and it’s what makes certain companies stand out from the rest.
An additional differentiating factor is the number of reviews left for your company – and this is true for businesses of any industry, including doctor’s offices.
According to Forbes, a shocking 90% of consumers read online reviews for businesses in 2017. What does this statistic mean exactly? The majority of consumers are reading into your business prior to even stepping foot in your shop.
Even business owners are simultaneously consumers, so think about your online research habits. When you’re looking for a new doctor or even a new product on Amazon, it’s likely that you’re doing to be taking a look at their reviews to see what other people experienced.
You may have to dig deep before finding someone who can remember the last time they made a purchase without researching the company’s content or reviews online. Nearly fifty percent of adults in the US, Google someone prior to doing business with them. This also means that the majority of consumers or future partners know about your business and products even before you meet them.
Even more shocking is that anyone can leave you a business review. There is no prerequisite for leaving online reviews. Literally, anyone can write into google and say whatever they feel about you or your business, which can become problematic in cases where a competitor is buying fake negative reviews against you.
You can have one thousand happy consumers and one really angry customer who writes a scathing review and has their friends join in as well, even though they’ve never worked with you. Essentially, without proper management, one angry customer can really damage the online standing of your brand and it’s overall reputation.
Fortunately, there’s good news for business owners: you really do have all the control over your digital footprint. In the face of potentially damaging negative reviews and all the other competition that exists online, each and every company can use their online brand to differentiate themselves and draw in their target audience.
How exactly do you do this? The goal is to create an experience for the person searching you. This is similar to the customer experience that you’ve carefully curated, whether that’s in-store or on your website. Anything from having staff say hello to everyone entering the store, or making your website very easy to navigate, is considered a positive way to impact your brand.
Below are 5 secrets on how to make sure your online presence is flawless:
1. Take a minute to Google your company.
It is important to have a baseline understanding of what is already out there about you, your side hustle,
Your name or your company. If you do not know what is currently on the web, then how do you know
Where to begin?
When you Google yourself and your company, you’ll be able to see where exactly your business stands. This is similar to the process many employers go through when hiring a new staff member – they’re going to head to Google first to see what’s available out there. In industry terms, this is called an audit and it’s the most critical step to developing your online brand.
2. Be incredibly focused on your mission.
Take time to reflect on why you opened your business. Try to get in the shoes of your most ideal consumer. What do you think is going on through their head prior to making a decision. This is more Business 101, but prior to opening any doors to a business, you must have an understanding of who you are trying to connect with.
Who is it you are trying to get into your doors? If you lack focus in your business, then who do you know you want to bring into the door. Who are you trying to speak to?
Answering these questions will help you form the base of your marketing campaigns and the online brand that will define your business for years to come.
3. Unfortunately (but really, fortunately), you need to really care about your public image.
Yes, it is true. Everyone can simply type a few letters into the google search bar and find out a ton of information about you. Why don’t we spin this into a positive thing though? Why does it have to carry a negative connotation to it?
As a business owner, you need to invest in your brand. As we mentioned above, over 90% of consumers are researching your company even before they reach out to you. In order to get them in the door, you need to have a specific branding message for them. Speak clearly and deliberately to your consumers. The rest is organic, and they will follow!
4. Invest in yourself, invest in your future, and invest in your brand.
There is nothing more tragic to me than watching someone go through years of training, drowning in debt from their business, sacrificing all their time and energy, and then not paying a professional to help them develop their professional profile.
As a business owner, you must follow the philosophy of delegating. Know what you are good at, and know what you need to hire out for. There is no one else to better invest in than you.
5. Let the experts manage your online content for you.
For many business owners, taking the time to manage their online reputation isn’t high on the priority list when compared with doing things like ordering new products and overseeing daily operations. Fortunately, there are tools online that can audit your online brand to pinpoint where exactly your site is ranking, what can be done to improve that and reach a wider audience, and ensure that there’s a constant influx o positive and honest online reviews left for your business.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.