Simply put, Inbound Marketing is the practice of advertising via social media, blogs, SEO, podcasts, video, and other forms of content marketing. This is as opposed to Outbound Marketing, which involves cold calling, print and television advertising, junk mail, and such.
Inbound Marketing is on the rise, while Outbound Marketing is going the way of the dinosaur, although, unlike velociraptors, many forms of Outbound will remain with us no matter what.
But here’s the harsh truth: your company can adopt, embrace, even outright worship Inbound Marketing, but if you have a dodgy business reputation, it’s all for nothing. Prospective customers will avoid you. There’s simply too much fraud out there, and no one wants to get burned by taking chances with a shady company.
Here’s how to ensure that your business reputation stays as good as gold.
Once More Unto The Breach…
Like a modern day Henry V walking incognito amongst his troops before Agincourt, you need to see for yourself what people are saying about your business. Read their reviews, take note of their comments and pay attention to their feedback. Nothing gives you a better idea of whether you have a reputation problem than seeing what people think of your business first-hand.
Right The Wrongs
If a customer has had a bad experience and is now anywhere close to a computer, the odds are pretty good that their tale of woe will find itself online with all due haste. If a customer has a legitimate complaint, then rectify it as fast as you can. The goodwill you sow will be more than worth it.
Inaccurate or misleading search results can also negatively impact your business. Even if the cause of the inaccuracy had nothing to do with your business, that won’t stop disenchanted customers from blaming you anyway. Make sure that keywords are accurate.
Putting in Some Good Words
No reputation is not much better than a bad reputation. You need an online presence, and it needs to be a good one. Encourage positive feedback and post it prominently. Do NOT attempt to counteract unfair bad reviews with made-up good reviews. Maintaining your business’ online integrity is important; trust must be built within the Internet community, because that’s your prospective customer base.
Get Some Outside Help
There are numerous online reputation management companies who will not only work to remove unfair comments and reviews about your company, but also going forward will monitor the Internet for further negative reviews, references to your company, etc. Granted, these companies cost, but the savings in the long run usually make it more than worth the expense. This is an especially good idea if you and your staff are not knowledgeable in online reputation pitfalls; it’s wise to have someone with experience in this relatively new way of doing things.
Tying It All Up
Oscar Wilde once said “There’s one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Make sure you have an online presence so that people can comment about your business, but guard your reputation so that those comments aren’t negative.
Author bio: John Terra has been writing freelance since 1985. He has had ample opportunities to embarrass himself online but has thus far avoided doing so. Mostly.