Whether you are an online-only business, a brick and mortar business — or a business that operates both online and offline—branding yourself in the digital ecosystem is a must. The internet is not only the modern-day phonebook but is often the first place one will go when searching for the products or services you provide. This means that you must not only be present online—but must cultivate an online brand and win customer loyalty. Below are just a few ways in which positive customer reviews will help you to do both.
Branding You as an Industry Expert
Before trying a new restaurant, visiting a new retailer, or hiring someone for a new personal or professional service—many will go online to see what others are saying about your business. Some of the most popular sites people will turn to are Yelp, Google+, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and industry-specific review sites.
What your prospects are looking for is not necessarily a perfect rating, but far more positive reviews and ratings than negative—and comments related to their specific needs. Many prospects will do more than view your rating but will read your individual reviews—to determine what makes you the expert they should turn to. While ratings offer an anonymous surface-level analysis of your product or service, reviews make bring the human element into the picture. There’s no substitution for some in-depth reviews!
Not only that, but previous clients’ feedback also resonates far more than any answers you provide about your business—and 90% of consumers are influenced by positive reviews.
Search Engine Optimization
Even if online marketing is not your area of expertise, you are sure to be familiar with the need for SEO. There are many ways to improve your SEO, one of which is to ensure you are present on review sites that have a high SEO rating—such as Yelp. This will help to create backlinks to your website from a high ranking website, and will also help to increase your SEO when it comes to keyword searches—because you will have more reviews that link to your business name.
Your online brand is dependent on visibility, and without a robust SEO and marketing strategy, you won’t be found.
Encourages Customer Loyalty
The customers who love your products and services want to celebrate you by singing your praises. If your customers find you online, they are more inclined to leave an online customer review on your behalf. On top of that, when customers share their praises with you directly (either in person or by email), most will happily place their words online if you ask. Every customer will have inevitably have a reaction to your product or service.
Every customer experience is an opportunity for encouraging customer loyalty. Positive experiences can be highlighted, boosting your brand’s trustworthiness and illustrating your product or service quality. Even negative experiences can be a learning point for your brand — but they can also be leveraged to create customer loyalty. The way a brand handles poor customer reviews says a lot about how much a business cares about the customer experience. Taking the time to offer empathy and incredible service by correcting the issue and making up for their troubles can go a long way in promoting customer loyalty.
Harnessing Customer Advocates
One of the best ways to boost customer loyalty is by creating strong advocates from your current customer base. The alliance between your brand and its customers is living — especially when we’re talking about your online brand. In a world where every individual is essentially given a virtual microphone (through social media or review channels), it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to pay close attention to their online presence. How customers speak about or interact with your brand online plays a major role in customer loyalty, as it only takes a few clicks for a possible buyer to read about the experiences others have had.
Whether it’s through paid brand ambassadors, influencers, or offering discounts to those singing your praises through social media — there’s almost an infinite amount of ways your brand can create advocates.
There’s certainly some creativity when it comes down to harnessing the true potential of brand advocates, but that’s where it can be fun! These are people that love your product or service and will go out of their way to promote your brand because it’s something they believe in. Taking the time to appreciate and look out for these individuals will encourage others to partake in the praise — which will snowball into more loyalty and advocacy for your online brand.
It’s Not Always About Beating Others
Winning customer loyalty doesn’t always mean beating the competition — not directly at least. Sometimes, the best method is to stand out and create your own lane in how you manage your online brand. What do we mean?
Well, every brand should be sticking to their values and mission statements at all times — which should be somewhat reflective of their UVP (unique value proposition). The very reason why someone may purchase your product or service should also be implemented into how you manage your online brand.
Customers are smarter than ever. With an insurmountable amount of information at their fingertips, these customers will go above and beyond to learn about your brand and make snap judgment calls about you — especially online.
There You Have It
To wrap things up, obtaining the customer loyalty and brand growth you crave really does start with your online brand. There’s simply no substitute in today’s marketplace, as so many consumers flock to review websites, social media pages, and websites to evaluate the trustworthiness and potential of your brand.
If you have yet to focus much of your attention on your online branding and loyalty, online reviews are an excellent place to begin. Putting your business in front of real people is the best way to build an identity for your website. Offering social media management for small businesses, the team at The Guerrilla Agency can help you reach out to customers and build a community around your brand. By understanding your audience and creating content they are looking for, we will help put your business in front of your audience while promoting interaction to help you build a community of followers and increase your site’s conversions. Contact the team at The Guerrilla today, and let us help you start a conversation about your brand.