Today’s marketing environment is dramatically different from that of only a couple of years ago. Before, you could advertise or use coupons to get customers in the door. People would “give you a try” if they had an emotional motivation or incentive to do so. Treat them well and they would come back.
Currently, people don’t have to give you a try. They let others try for them. All they have to do is look you up on line and dozens of review sites will have the opinions of perfect strangers who are all too happy to let you know the good, bad and, sometimes the ugly. It is great for the consumer. He or she does very little work to get lots of information. When you consider how many searches are made every day, it may be surprising to realize that 25 percent of them are for local businesses.
You have heard radio advertising offering to bury bad online reputations or even to eliminate them. People who respond to those ads are already in deep trouble and are hoping to fool the public into thinking they are not. Rarely can a legitimate negative statement be erased. Illegal or libelous statements can be, but they are rarely the cause of anxiety for the businesses involved. The cost of fixing these things can run into the thousands of dollars. This is reputation management in the extreme.
In fact, that is exactly what those companies who charge thousands of dollars actually do. They create or encourage lots of positive “noise” on the Internet to literally bury the negative on the back pages of Google making it much less likely that a prospective customer will ever see it. The negatives don’t really disappear, they just get buried.
That falls into the category of “Reputation Management”. It is more of a defensive posture; reactionary to overcoming a negative event. On the other hand, “Reputation Marketing” is inherently proactive. It involves actively promoting the positive about a business — and encouraging customers to express that positive experience online..
Proactively encouraging patrons to report on their good experiences will turn the process from Reputation Management to Reputation Marketing. Using various systems or even outsourcing can help business owners to garner more positive comments and resolve about negative experiences before an upset customer leaves the premises.