Reputability is everything in business. Businesses that have the trust of their community will have a steady stream of new clients and satisfied customers. Businesses without solid reputations will quickly find customers, and cash flow, dwindling.
The good news is: reputability is not something you stumble upon out of pure luck. Just like you built the business of your dreams, you can build a stellar reputation through hard work and informed decisions.
The key to creating, and keeping, a trustworthy reputation is to be proactive. If you’re not actively working to build the reputability of your business, then chances are your reputation is actually decreasing. But don’t let this intimidate you—there are many steps you can take to make your business more reputable.
We made this step number one for a reason.
In today’s technological environment, a company’s website is usually the “first impression” of your business for potential clients.
If a website is outdated in its design or is difficult to navigate, it will affect the way customers view your entire business.
Reputable businesses are expected to have websites with updated designs, quick loading speeds, current information, and user-friendly browsing experiences.
Also, all text on your website should be checked thoroughly for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Frequent, glaring mistakes in grammar or spelling can make even a carefully designed website appear disreputable and careless.
It’s also crucial that your website is mobile responsive, meaning it adjusts for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Many people today use their mobile devices as much or more than they use computers.
If your website isn’t compatible with mobile devices, chances are you’re losing out on a lot of customers.
Once your website fails to load or becomes difficult to navigate, potential clients will likely move on to the next service provider.
Another benefit of having a mobile responsive website is that it’s a perfect opportunity for “call to action” links, which viewers can conveniently use to call you directly from a mobile device.
Making sure your business’s website is well designed and easily accessible is a crucial step towards ensuring that your business makes a reputable first impression.
So ideally you now have a well-designed, updated, mobile responsive website.
Great! So you can just leave it to build your business’s reputability on its own, right?
Well, there’s a little more to it than that. Content can come in many forms, blogs, info-graphics, and videos are all great examples.
Content is the backbone of your business’s web presence.
By “content,” we mean information of substance that customers and potential clients will find helpful. This content can be distributed through avenues like blog posts on your website, social media posts, or email newsletters.
For example, posts about recent developments in your industry, or “how to” posts with DIY tips in your area of expertise.
Reputable businesses keep their websites and social media pages active and current by providing viewers with interesting, relevant, quality content. This sets you up as an expert in your industry, builds trust in clients, and puts your brand in front of them regularly in a non-intrusive way.
Adding new, substantial content to your website regularly also improves your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking, which will help your business’s website be more visible in search engine results.
Adding regular blog posts with topics and keywords that are often searched-for in your industry will help potential clients find your website.
All of this quality content works together to demonstrate that your business is current, relevant, and reputable.
Website views are great, but even better is turning those views into leads.
Successful businesses don’t just sit around and wait for customers; they’re proactive in seeking out and attracting their target clientele.
Effective websites should be active in engaging viewers, rather than passive. Your website should have lead generation methods built into it.
For example, pop-up boxes that offer free, informative e-newsletter subscriptions or one-time discounts. Users simply enter their email address in the pop-up box, providing you with a “lead” that you can follow up with later.
Prominent call-to-action buttons (such as “Call Now”) on your website are also effective lead generators.
A “Contact Us” button can link to a lead generation form where users leave their contact information, ask questions, or give feedback.
Make sure your lead generation methods are tailored to your target audience, are not overly intrusive, and are offering something worthwhile. You’re an expert in your industry, so offer something that you’re uniquely qualified to give, such as DIY tips, industry news updates, or a free consultation or analysis in your field of expertise.
These methods of using lead generation to offer value to your audience will increase your reputation as a knowledgeable, considerate service provider.
In order to build a positive reputation, your business must have a clear identity that customers can easily understand and remember.
The homepage of your website should make it immediately obvious what services your business offers and what level of quality your services provide.
Company motto's and mission statements are also great ways to set down in writing what defines your business and its principles.
A motto or tagline is a short, catchy phrase that sums up your business’s purpose and personality.
A mission statement is a longer paragraph that goes into more detail about what your company stands for and strives to accomplish.
Display your motto and mission statement prominently on your website, in email signatures, on company publications, etc. These clear messages about your company’s principles, as well as your consistency in following them, will stick in clients’ minds and go a long way toward making your business more reputable.
Marketing can only go so far in establishing a business’s reputation.
In order to maintain and increase reputability, a business must “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk.”
Make sure the services you provide for clients live up to the claims made on your website and promotional materials.
Ensure that all employees understand the company mission statement and consistently uphold the values and goals of your organization.
Quality work and personable service are the fundamental building blocks of making your business more reputable.
There are other ways you can provide value to customers besides the services you offer.
Using your expertise to share tips through your blog or e-newsletter is an excellent way to build trust by providing clients with free, valuable advice.
Truly great, reputable companies are never afraid of giving away the secrets of their trade or informing clients about DIY alternatives.
“Tricking” clients into thinking your services are their only option, or using content space only for sales pitches, will lose your audience quickly.
Instead, reputable businesses are willing to provide value for their clients without asking for anything in return.
While word of mouth reputation certainly carries a lot of weight, the main way that people today share their client experiences with others is through written reviews online.
Most consumers check reviews thoroughly before purchasing a product or choosing a service provider, so it’s crucial for your business’s reputation that you accumulate and display positive customer reviews.
In a perfect world, a reputable business could focus on providing excellent service and wait for the glowing reviews to roll in.
But there are some steps you should take to make sure you’re getting the highest quantity and quality of reviews possible, and to ensure that those reviews are easily visible to others.
The number of reviews a business has matters.
A perfect five star ranking based on one or two reviews doesn’t carry as much weight as a 4+ star ranking based on 20+ reviews.
Also, the more reviews a business accumulates, the better its SEO score becomes.
One of the best ways to bring in more reviews is simply to ask for them.
Make sure customers know where and how to review your business. Email each client who has received your services, ask politely for them to share their feedback or to contact you with any concerns, and include links to sites where they can leave reviews (Google, Home Advisor, Yelp, etc.).
You can also invite customers to leave reviews by hanging a sign in your physical office letting them know where to leave their reviews.
Make sure you check for online reviews of your business consistently. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. This shows that your business is responsive and cares about the experiences of each of its clients.
Address all concerns raised in negative reviews and, if possible, contact the client to resolve their issues privately.
Ask posters of positive reviews for permission to display them on your website. Your website should have a section dedicated to customer reviews, with new reviews being added frequently.
Utilizing reviews to their fullest extent is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make your business more reputable.
A simple system to proactively collect and use feedback from all of your customers.- Activate happy customers to share the good word where it matters - Reach unhappy customers before they bad-mouth your business - Give your team the time and intel to turn a negative customer experience around
If your website is difficult to find, it makes your business itself harder to find, which makes your business appear less reputable.
We’ve mentioned a few tips already on ways you can improve your SEO score and make your website rank higher in search results, such as posting regularly to your blog and bringing in more customer reviews.
But search engine optimization is a complex subject and there is much more that can be done to improve the online visibility of your business and its website.
For example, make sure each page of your website has the proper ratio of text to images in order to improve its SEO ranking.
If a page is overrun with text with only one or two images, search engines like Google will demote the page to a lower ranking.
You should also consider taking advantage of free tools such as the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to make sure your website is reaching the most people possible, as well as reaching the target audience that you most want to reach.
One of the best tools for any website, google analytics is a must have for any reputable business.
If you're unsure what type of visitors your website is getting, google analytics breaks it all down for you. Age, Gender, Location and more can all be found inside your google analytics.
Fully understanding your audience is the first step to any successful marketing campaign, and google analytics makes that possible.
Another great part of google analytics is the events and goals you can set up.
Want to know how many people click a button on your page? Set up an event and google analytics will track it for you.
Want to track which page gets the most conversions? Google analytics can do that also!
If you’re not on Facebook, do you even exist?
This cliché joke is becoming applicable to businesses as well as individuals. Having a reputable presence on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn is an important way for your business to stay visible and relevant online.
Facebook, especially, is an excellent platform for business use. Many people today will search for a business on Facebook as well as, or instead of, using a search engine.
Setting up a Facebook business page is an effective way to gather followers, view data about your audience, and run ads and posts to keep your brand in front of that audience in a casual, personable setting.
Potential clients and current customers can message you directly through Facebook, or click a button to call you directly from their mobile device.
Facebook also allows customers to leave reviews on your business page, which makes it another important platform for building your business’s positive reputation.
Citations of your business are places online where users can locate your business’s information.
Any place where people can search for local businesses, your business’s information should be available and prominent.
Common local listing platforms are review sites like Yelp and Home Advisor, search engines like Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages, or social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
There may also be local websites that contain directories of local business in your area.
Search for your business on each of these sites and make sure there is a citation for your business.
If your business is not listed, add your business and all of its relevant information.
If your business does appear, check the listing information thoroughly to ensure the accuracy of each detail and edit the listing if anything is incorrect.
Do this on as many local listing platforms as possible. The more local listing platforms your business is visible on, the better.
Business citations increase the visibility and reputability of your business, and also improve your website’s local search engine ranking.
All reputable businesses should have a carefully managed “Google My Business” (GMB) profile.
It’s free to create and keep a GMB profile, and it’s an essential step towards a high SEO ranking on Google.
A GMB listing helps put your small business in front of users when they search for your services in your local area, both on desktop computers and mobile devices.
If there’s already a GMB listing for your business, claim it so that you have control over its information. Adding pictures is a great way to help searchers recognize your physical location.
Check your GMB listing regularly to keep your information up to date, as well as to keep track of and respond to customer reviews.
If your business doesn’t have a GMB listing, create one as soon as possible in order to increase your online visibility.
When creating a GMB profile for your business, give it the exact, complete title of your company. Also, make sure to use a local phone number and address that match the contact information in the website your business profile links to. This is one way that Google verifies the validity of GMB listings, and makes sure that each profile is connected to an authentic, reputable business.
Be very specific when choosing your business categories and services, so that Google and its users know exactly what services and products you provide.
Making sure your GMB information perfectly matches your website information will help your Google SEO, as well as make your business appear more trustworthy and reputable to viewers.
Take Action Today to Boost Your Business’s Reputability
A business’s reputation is not a stationary thing. With every client interaction your company’s reputation will change slightly, whether for better or worse.
So don’t just sit back and wait for your business to become reputable on its own. Be proactive, and do what you can now to create the positive reputation you want for your business.
Here at Visibly Connected, we make it a point to keep up with the latest developments in online marketing for local businesses.
If you would like a consultation on how to actively increase the visibility and reputability of your business, we’re here to help.