A bad reputation online can destroy a business. Many consumers now use the web to research a company’s credibility before choosing to use them. Here are seven things that could be tarnishing your reputation and what you can do to restore your credibility and win over clients.
Negative online reviews
Online reviews are almost impossible to escape nowadays. Even if you decide not to opt for reviews on your Facebook page (or avoid social media altogether), you’ve still got the likes of Trip Advisor and Google Plus to contend with, which are extremely difficult to opt out of. If you’re getting lots of negative reviews, it’s likely this could be seriously damaging your reputation and your ability to get customers. Read these negative reviews and determine if any of them are from trolls – you may be able to request that these are deleted. When it comes to genuine negative reviews, take the effort to reply to these as this will show customers that you care about your brand. Encourage all happy customers to leave reviews and you may be able to eventually drown out the negative reviews and restore your reputation.
Poor website design
A poorly designed website is another big factor that can put customers off. If it looks old-fashioned, visitors may believe that your company is equally outdated. If it’s difficult to navigate or hard to read, visitors may assume that your company is equally difficult to work and communicate with. If there are typos or pages that don’t load, a visitor may assume that you don’t pay attention to details and may not offer the thorough service that they’re after. If you’re not sure whether your website is well-designed or not, you could do some market research and get strangers to test and review your website. You can then use their feedback to make positive changes. You could invest in a professional web design company such as Maxburst Web Design to ensure that your website is built to a good quality standard. Alternatively, you may be able to build your own website for free using a website-builder like WordPress – just make sure that it doesn’t look too template-y.
Lack of testimonials
When looking at your company website, many visitors will want to see proof of past work. You could include case studies of previous projects or you could include testimonials from previous clients (the most effective option). Testimonials could be quotes from public online reviews or they could quotes from private client feedback – either way they show proof of working with past clients and making a good impression. Without testimonials, many visitors may doubt your credibility. If you’re a new business, you may want to take on some clients for free simply to gain some testimonials, or you could get quotes from investors and people who like the idea of your company. They’re essential references to show that other people believe in you – make sure that your website and social media bio has them.
Dishonest promotional tactics
Lying to customers is never a good idea. If you get found out to be lying, word could spread and could be extremely damaging for your company. Common dishonest promotional tactics involve faking reviews and testimonials, buying social media followers and using false scarcity (telling people you’ve only got a few products left in stock to create panic, when you’ve actually got loads left). These tactics may work in the short run, but could cause difficulties in the long run if information gets leaked out, so make sure that you’re always being honest with customers.
No email signature
If you’re not signing your emails off with a signature, it could make your business seem unprofessional. This should look like the sign-off of a professional letter and should contain vital contact details such as your phone number, property address and website (you can even include social media links). Adding your logo can also add a professional touch. Most email services allow you to set an automatic signature to display at the end of each email. This could save you having to type it out at the end of every email exchange.
Low search engine rankings
If you don’t rank highly on search engines, most people probably won’t be able to find you online, but those that do may assume that you’re not as successful and recommended as website listed higher up the rankings. You’re best off investing in an SEO company such as Search Influence who can boost your rankings naturally. It is possible to do your own SEO by creating more web content and creatively using keywords, but it’s often a time-consuming task. Avoid spamming keywords on your site as a DIY SEO tactic as this could be having the opposite effect on your rankings and your reputation (Google will rank you lower for spamming keywords and it could make your website unreadable).
A low social media following
A strong following on social media can help you to look more popular and successful. Increasing your following isn’t easy and you may find it beneficial to hire a social media marketing company. To gain natural followers, it’s generally all about the type of content you post – if it’s too promotional it could be putting people off. Your content needs to be fun and engaging, whilst still having a professional edge. Offering advice, using images, linking to current events, hosting competitions and even using appropriate memes can all generate followers. For quickly getting a strong initial following, make sure that you’ve invited all your friends to join your page and encourage any employees and existing clients to also follow and invite their friends. This could get you a couple hundred follows right off the bat. As mentioned earlier, avoid buying likes – whilst it may look good on the surface, people will get suspicious if none of your hundreds of followers are interacting with your content.