Reputation Management

Reputation Management

Managing your company reputation online.

A business’s reputation used to be what they said about themselves in their advertising and the reach their customers had via word of mouth.  Now, consumers are pushing out a company’s reputation and image collectively by providing real-time feedback online through review sites, social media, forums and other channels.  Basically, if it is an online source and a consumer can say something about business on it, then it is a channel where your business’s reputation should be managed.  In addition, your company reputation can be affected by listing accurately, or more to the point, inaccurately online.


Digital marketing and online reputation management for businesses

Online reputation management is a part of a greater digital marketing strategy that works alongside review management, business listings, paid search/ads, social media management and SEO to help your business stay competitive and relevant online. While your business should be managing each of these segments of digital marketing to maintain your online presence and (consequently) offline reputation, many businesses are not. They really should: four in five consumers surveyed use search engines to find local information from multiple devices to find store address, business hours, product availability and directions.


Online reputation management: your business has options

Your business’s reputation can be affected at any time on just about any source across the web. You can use products (SaaS), services (outsource services) or people (outsource or hire a digital marketer) to cut down on your reputation management time expenditure. Even if your business tracks and constantly checks on social media, there may be sources that your business is unaware of such as a new review site from a listing that your business never knew that existed.

Your business should weigh the pros and cons of conducting online reputation management in-house or outsourcing, but there are definitely best practices when responding to reviews that your business should be aware of. Maintaining your business’s online presence is one of the most worthwhile services a digital agency or local media company can provide your business and is one of the most worthwhile services you can invest in.


Why your business’s online reputation matters

An online reputation needs to be backed by reviews and ratings by consumers. Without them, there would be no reputation to manage and quite frankly, it would appear as if no one ever visited the business.

Ready or not, consumers are talking about your business

Whether a business chooses to manage their reputation online or not, consumers are talking about their favourite and not-so-favourite businesses. If a business simply ignores their reputation online, the consequences can be detrimental.

Unmanaged negative responses can create an angry mob mentality and bad word of mouth spreads like wildfire. While a business may not realize how exactly one instance can affect their online reputation, it is possible that only one negative post on a highly ranked site can actually be what shows up near the top of a search results page when a consumer searches for that business’s name.

Consumers Control the Conversation and Everyone’s Feedback Matters
Social media is a two-way conversation — businesses can no longer broadcast the message they want people to see. There is a democratic nature to social, with brands, consumers and everyone having an equal voice in a shared space. Customers can rave about a business or let everyone know they had a terrible experience. Social networks have dramatically changed the way businesses communicate. Today, consumers can converse with brands and vice versa as if they were talking to a friend. As a result, businesses have had to become more personable than simply a business entity and manage their social presence in a manner that reflects as such.

Reputation drives conversion

What people see online matters. Approximately 74% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations—this is a huge shift in thinking that has become more prominent as time goes on. This trust in reviews translates to dollars, as customers put their money where their trust is. A Harvard Business School study found that a restaurant that sees a one-star increase on Yelp will see revenues increase anywhere from five to nine per cent.

As discussed previously, many businesses find that cultivating their digital profile on their own is too time-consuming. There are reputation monitoring tools that make keeping up with customers way easier, saving time and money. Whatever your business does, it is essential that you are not perceived to be ignoring your customers online. The worst thing your business can do is appear unresponsive.


What makes a good online reputation?

Being present (listed online) and having a good reputation (reviews and reputation management) go hand in hand. Not being listed on a reference site customers use is just as bad as having bad reviews on that site. Building a consistent online presence and a positive reputation is important for both consumers and search engines. Some of the most important aspects of the online footprint include:

  • number of business listings
  • consistency of business listing information (name, address, phone)
  • overall sentiment in reviews
  • frequency or current velocity of new reviews
  • the overall volume of reviews
  • social activity and engagement (especially with reviewers)

Customers now view social recommendations and reviews as more authentic, expecting \\reviews to be a mirror of the actual customer experience that they would experience themselves. This means that maintaining your business’s online reputation is gaining importance as each review is a perceived snippet of what your potential customer expects to experience.


Online reputation management: the main points

According to Google, 9 out of 10 of local searches lead to action, with more than 50% leading to sales. If businesses have a good web presence, customers will go to them rather than the competitor. Once they’re in the store, 79% of customer use their smartphones inside to look at reviews or compare prices and 74% of them end up making a purchase. Those numbers alone make the opportunity clear: online reputation management is essential for your business to get consumers in the door to make the sale.

We manage your company reputation for you

Most packages include some reputation management.

Contact us to discuss your Reputation Management requirements.

Search Local

Search Local

When looking for services or products locally,
we turn to our phone first.

Is the local chemist open?
When does the pizza shop open?
What sort of reputation does the local car repair garage have?
–   all quick searches online.

Company representation online is important in three main ways:

  1. Be found.  People must be able to find your business easily.
  2. Accurate Data.  Your opening times, location and contacts must be accurate and up to date.  Out of date or wrong information will adversely affect your search ranking and your company online reputation.
  3. Active.  Active profiles look better and perform better.  Impress your visitors and search engines by updating and adding new content to your social platforms.

Top places to promote Search Local:

Google. Google business is a great place to publish your location, opening times, COVID updates and what’s new.  Google account holders can add reviews, which are very valuable.

Facebook with Instagram. Facebook is the most active of all the social platforms for most businesses.  Here you can add your opening times, location and attract reviews.  Posting at least once per week will keep your online reputation looking good.  Depending on your industry you may have to post more often to keep up with the competition.  Remember to use hash-tags.

Twitter.  Twitter is nice and simple, fast to update and looks professional.   For most sectors, it’s not really very active but I always suggest the addition of a Twitter account, keep the account active to help with the overall reputation and it helps with search too.

Directory Listings

There are about 40 recognised directories we suggest you list on.  These include Bing Maps, Foursquare, Manta, Brown Book and Show Me Local etc.  You can also be active on Yell and Gumtree, this all helps but depends on your industry.

Listing on all the directories requires an investment of time and going forward effort to keep up to date.   Don’t expect a huge response or uplift in traffic immediately.  Listing accurately on the directories strengthens the business online profile and will benefit search ranking.

I do suggest you list on all the main recognised directories;  helps with search local and overall search results.   You will notice directory listings are starting to pop-up at the top of search results when searching locally, your company needs to be there.  See screenshot.

Local Search

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Darlington”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big website stores.

Local searches lend themselves to instant requirement and the interaction between browser and business will convert that browser to a loyal customer.

Let’s say you need new brake pads for your car. You want them today;  want to pop to town to collect the parts, you may want to look at the item before buying to be sure the right fit etc.  A search of say ”Car parts shop in Darlington’ will work.   Or you are looking for a local service that can only be local; Joiner, Decorator, Loft Conversion Company, Upholsterer etc.  These all need to be local.

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.

Lastly, you should be everywhere.  When a browser searches for your local business you should be everywhere, accurately presented with an active and up to date profile.

What are Sitemaps?

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

A way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at.

Sitemaps are something most of our clients are not aware of. Sitemaps help search. Sitemaps are free and easy to add, they are simply a way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at to help make the search engine crawl (a robot clicking through your website) easy and accurate. They help produce a SERP Map too, a multi-link search engine result on Google and Bing.

A sitemap file is hidden from human visitors, but search engines like Google and Bing can see it.  The sitemap helps search engines easily see all the content on your site in one place.

Why do you need a sitemap?

Without one, the only way for those bots to find all your content is by following links on your site. So, if you have any pages on your site that aren’t linked to often, or it takes a lot of links to reach a certain page, there’s a chance that Google won’t find those pages and they’ll never end up in search results.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.

Sitemaps are something most of our clients are not aware of. Sitemaps help search. Sitemaps are free and easy to add, they are simply a way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at to help make the search engine crawl (a robot clicking through your website) easy and accurate.  They help produce a ”SERP Map” too, a multi-link search engine result on Google and Bing.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters (the person who looks after your website) to inform search engines about pages on websites that are available for crawling.  In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.  So a more often updated website will be more attractive to search engines.

Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites.  Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata.

Using the XML Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides help for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.  XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It’s a markup language similar to HTML, but its main purpose is to organise data.

How to set up a site map

You can generate a site map from your host provider or admin panel.  WordPress for example provide a site map automatically now.  A site map link looks just like a website address with .xml on the end. Then submit it to a search engine.

WordPress provides a sitemap as standard now (5.5.1).   If you already use an SEO tool to boost your website traffic, no action required.

Upholsterer Case Study

Website for upholsterer

How Marketing Changed This Business | Marketing Case Study

BJ Upholstery based in Darlington is a traditional business that restores and reupholster antique soft furnishings.  Operated by a husband and wife team they have been in the reupholstery business for thirty years.

The Challenges

The established local customer base was reducing, general demand for reupholstery, repairs and restoring of antiques was reducing too.  A wider, more modern, targeted audience was required to promote the reupholstery and restoration services.

BJ Upholstery in Darlington

What We Do

First, we looked at the company website and the supporting social media. We ran a ‘Marketing Evaluation’ report that highlighted the company’s exposure online. They had very little exposure and the marketing message was weak. The new prospective customers required were online, engaging and chatting but they did not know BJ Upholstery existed. BJ Upholstery were well known in Darlington and narrowly showed in search results as an ‘antique reupholster’,  the ‘Marketing Evaluation’ report clearly showed where BJU was not showing well on-line and where the prospective customers were engaging.  This gave us the information we needed to build a marketing action plan.

We updated the website and created an easy to publish and search-friendly platform to work with.  We did not totally rebuild the website for a few reasons; we wanted to keep the costs down, it looked OK and the style ref elected the business accurately, a nice traditional upholstery workshop in a market town, a bit old fashioned but well established. We didn’t want to disturb the website image,  a modern generic-looking website would not fit.  The website looks like an old traditional upholstery workshop that is producing beautiful bespoke work – perfect. 

Next was to build the social profile; we added Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and started telling the BJ Upholstery story consistently.  Photos and descriptions of completed work is published regularly which is really interesting to see by prospective customers.  Previously completed beautifully upholstered items were never seen by anyone else than the team and the furniture owner.  Website SEO was boosted by optimising the website pages and adding rich content to attract the target customers.
Forever evolving, ongoing and flexing content in response to demand and requirements as the business evolves and changes.  

The Results

Inbound enquiries are at a historical high and the company is attracting the ‘perfect customer’.  The perfect customers are people who appreciate quality and don’t mind paying for the best service.  People from further afield have become customers.  At the time of writing two sofas are in the workshop from Gloucester, BJ Upholstery are producing jobs for interior designers, making bespoke sofas to order, upholstered a chair in football shirts and last year reupholstered a footstool in a potato sack for a customer in London.

BJ Upholstery travel to the Yorkshire Dales, York, Harrogate, Newcastle as well as the surrounding area of Darlington and Durham.  Furniture can be shipped to the Darlington workshop and collected at completion. 

Digital Marketing can be overused and misunderstood.  Digital Marketing is simply your story and what you offer shared and reflected in the public domain, on the Internet, which is a digital environment. 

More Information

Learn More about our ‘Marketing Evaluation’ from Zedcomms.com.  See BJ Upholstery’s website

Zedcomms are a leading business development consultancy specialising in Website Design and Internet Marketing along with onsite training and ongoing mentor support.

Jo Griffiths | BJ Upholstery

Franchise Business

Zedcomms

Become a franchise partner.  Zedcomms offer a bespoke training franchise package to individuals and companies who want to offer our marketing services either locally or to a speciality market.

Packages include:

  • Training in Darlington or at a location near you.
  • Website set up
  • Logo and branding kit
  • Social account set up
  • Social account synchronisation
  • Technical support 
  • Mentor support

History

Zedcomms worked with an expanding business opportunity business marketing the franchise offering.  Our client is based in the UK and asked us for marketing assistance to recruit franchisees overseas.   Managing the advertising and online socials we marketed to three target markets; the UK, Australia and Kuwait.  Indeed we chatted with and enrolled a new franchisee in Tasmania.  The power of the Internet.

In 2020 Zedcomms decided to offer a similar model to allow individuals to trade along with us servicing clients with marketing services.  We enrolled two pilot franchisees who have both progressed very well and trading in their own geographic area.

The Zedcomms franchise offers you an opportunity to quickly start your own branded marketing agency to serve local businesses in your protected area. Work from home as a lifestyle business or build a team. You can work part-time or full time. Zedcomms offers you the flexibility you need, whilst earning from a rewarding business model you can trust.

We sell competitively priced effective marketing products and services to Small to Medium Businesses, helping them maximise their business presence on the Internet, freeing them up to concentrate on their business.

The types of businesses we work with

Manufacturers
Artists
Solicitors
Charity
Builders, Painters, Decorators
Engineers

Retailers
Hotels
Solicitors
Online retailers
Professional services

About Zedcomms

Zedcomm Franchise Opportunity

Zedcomms is an agile marketing company that is hard to beat. Years of experience with expertise in website design, SEO and modern Internet marketing.

We have a suite of tools and systems to support our clients producing fantastic results, with that personal touch and at highly competitive pricing. Having worked with some 2000 businesses in the UK for over ten years we are ‘Passionate About Improving Business.’

Our marketing services are combined with training and mentoring support to further improve our client’s business.

The Timing is Right

There is a huge demand from businesses that require help to capitalise on digital marketing using social media and other internet platforms.

To prosper, businesses need to be active on relevant internet platforms that allow them to engage with customers and especially to engage with the ‘ideal customer.’ Businesses need to be up to date and aware of their online activity to be able to attract more customers.

Most of the UK’s 6 million SME businesses don’t have the time or know-how to manage this environment. We have proven systems that provide well thought cost-effective solutions delivered along with our local Zedcomms Partners.

How to Attract the Perfect Client

We provide a world-class ‘state of the art’ detailed marketing report to prospective customers – free. The report shows where they are performing well and where they can improve. If required we can also report how their competitors are performing and where they market. You will also be provided with an optimised website and email address.

The Marketing Analysis will report on:

  • Online Reputation
  • Compare To The Competition
  • Where You Can Improve
  • Your SEO
  • Your Social Media Status
  • Where Your Company Is Listed
  • How Many Reviews You Have
  • How Many Reviews The Competition Have
  • Where You Can List For Free
  • General Tips On How To Maximise Your Internet Marketing

You are fully supported therefore you do not need any digital marketing expertise.

Earning Potential

What you earn out of a Zedcomms franchise business depends on you; how hard you work and how much effort you put in. Working full time, we’d expect you to earn £5,000 per month. Part-time, around £1,500 per month. The average product value is £1,620 per annum with products starting from £40 per month.

These figures are based on existing franchisee earnings and are not a guarantee or warranty of your own actual earning figures. With hard work and commitment, we expect these figures can be met or even exceeded.

Special offer – Free Marketing Pack. Consists of a bespoke WordPress Canvas Theme 10 page Website, a business logo and three months service of ‘Social Media Marketing’.

Who We’re Looking for

Whilst not compulsory, we feel that experience in the following roles would enable franchisees to get off to the best possible start:

  • Corporate Sales
  • Office Sales
  • Digital Sales
  • Business Managers
  • Managers
  • Advertising Sales

We start with an initial chat on the phone, our objective is to make sure that you know enough about us in order for you to make an informed decision on the franchise.

Equally, we need to know about you, are you are suitable to be part of Zedcomms and what we uniquely offer our customers. We look for people who are capable of setting themselves up in business, who see the value in the partnership of working with us, training, knowledge and support that investing with Zedcomms Businesses brings. You will be investing time too, at the very least one full day per week.

  • Ambitious
  • Hard-working
  • Self-motivated
  • (Most likely!) Tech-savvy
  • Friendly

Next Steps

If you think the Zedcomms franchise would be a great fit for you, fill in the form and you will be sent further information on this fantastic opportunity.

Get Your Free Information Today from Zedcomms

To contact Zedcomms for more information regarding their Franchise and speak to them directly with any questions you have, please complete the form below.