9 steps to mastering online reputation management best practices
When it comes to online reputation management best practices, directories dominate search results in B2B. If you’re looking for how to promote your B2B business online, this article will show you everything you need to know.
Online directories are a place where potential buyers can get an honest review of your product or service from actual customers. These directories have sizable marketing budgets to drive paid traffic to their sites and listings, which gives you a free extra boost in traffic. On top of that,directories also show up in search results for terms that are competitive to rank for, giving you an extra edge.
So how do you make sure you show up favorably? Here are a few tips to guide you through this process.
1. Know how you’re doing in search results
People trust review sites more than claims on your company website because an independent review site is less likely to skew facts in favor of your company. That’s one reason directories get so much traffic and rank well in searches. So how do you tell how well you’re performing?
First, discover the most common search phrases customers use to find your products. We suggest using a keyword research tool to discover keywords with volume—because otherwise, you may be analyzing and optimizing for keywords that no one searches for. There are free tools that can help you do this, such as Keywordtool.io, Answer the Public, and Ubersuggest, as well as paid tools like SEMRush. The directories and competitors that appear in the first few search results are likely the best in your industry when it comes to SEO.
Next, find out how you rank in the directory itself. Are you even listed? If not, sign up. Most directories let you submit your company for free. Reach out to online directory representatives because they’re the best way to learn how to move up above other online directory listings.
2. Monitor your online reputation (and do something about it)
These days, a few online reviews are as good as word-of-mouth references. Prospective buyers want to hear from real people about real experiences with your brand or product. Keep tabs on the general impression your profile gives off based on its average review. Work your butt off to make your image the best it can be because the Internet rewards your reputation based on how well you treat your customers.
If you discover that you don’t satisfy customers as much as you could, create systems to make sure customers are delighted after using your products or services. The key here is to be proactive about your reputation.
3. Ask for reviews
Customer reviews are one of the most persuasive pieces of content on the Internet. Gathering more five-star reviews is the top online reputation management best practice to increase your market share. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and testimonials from past and current customers—get your team’s help here.
Every delighted customer you don’t ask for a review is a missed opportunity. There’s usually no reason they won’t give you a review if they’re happy with the experience; chances are they’ve simply never considered doing so. If your average rating is good, promote it everywhere—on your landing pages, organic pages, social media, and homepage.
Many customers need that extra bit of motivation to leave a review; a giveaway or industry-specific offer is a great way to get the ball rolling. When you offer an industry-specific gift, like a free 30-day trial for your premium software rather than a gift card, you filter out freeloaders who have no interest in your product or service to begin with.
4. Focus on the top directories
Usually, a couple titans take home most online traffic. In this winner-take-all dynamic, it’s better to focus your time on the top directories rather than the dozens out there. Out of all the B2B software directories, focus on these:
- G2 Crowd
- SaaS Genius
For business to business directories, check out:
- The Business Journals
- Mango B2B
5. Be consistent
Consistent information helps not only potential customers but also your online search presence. Google looks at consistency in a few areas, especially name, address, and phone number (commonly called “NAP”). Keeping this information uniform across directories and social media platforms improves your local SEO because Google can better correlate and score any good ratings you accumulate with your brand.
Having up-to-date contact information also helps prospects find your establishment and/or reach out more efficiently. Overall, it makes for a better user experience, which in turn increases the chances that prospects will buy from you.
6. Provide helpful product imagery or screenshots
Show, don’t just tell— users want to see the actual product before they make a purchase. Provide examples of hot features or the beautiful UX/UI of your interface. Some users are visual or emotional learners and aren’t easily persuaded by text.
Beyond that, adding images of your employees and the services you offer humanizes your brand. The B2B software industry typically uses boring stock images and text to describe their offer, so original imagery and videos will set you apart with authenticity.
7. Keep your information up to date
The directory itself is also a search engine. Therefore, make sure your profile is filled out with relevant keywords. If it’s an empty shell, like many auto-generated profiles, the perception of your credibility and customer service declines.
Everything changes quickly in the digital era. New features? Update your business directory listing! New product? Make sure it’s known. New address? Update your contact info in your profile, Google My Business, and website. This is where many companies drop the ball because it’s seen as a minor priority.
But as mentioned, it can affect the customer experience, SEO, and your online brand reputation management. Keeping your info up to date gives you a leg up on plenty of companies who don’t.
8. Use directories for research and networking
Directories are a great place to get a lay of the land. Many B2B companies underestimate the number of players in their market. With an online directory, you can get a more accurate sense of who you’re up against. Anyone in your industry who’s serious about their online marketing efforts will be there.
Moreover, it’s a great place to leverage two of the most valuable B2B online marketing strategies: networking and finding partnerships. You can search and contact many companies in related niches, including suppliers, wholesalers, and traders across the world.
9. Get a higher return on investment with sponsored listings
If you want to learn how to promote B2B businesses online, try out sponsored listings in directories, many of which can help promote your company. In short, you pay to get listed towards the top. While it may initially seem unfair to those who don’t pay, keep in mind that sponsored listings often simply show your ratings and profile to more people. That means that you still can’t manipulate how customers perceive you. If you have poor ratings, paying for a listing won’t do you much good.
If you have good ratings, though, a sponsored listing is a fantastic way to get more quality traffic at an affordable cost by increasing how many interested people see you. The best part? The traffic you’ll get will be from prospects with higher intent because they’re already searching and comparing options. With some directories, you’re even offered detailed targeting by sector, demographics, country, search terms, and more. The return on investment is likely higher than what you’d get elsewhere because it’s undervalued.
Online review sites, also known as directories, provide a massive opportunity to rise above your competition and occupy more of the mindshare of your prospective customers. Frankly, few B2B companies are doing their profiles justice. You should now know how to improve online reputation.
Use these 9 online reputation management best practices to make sure your listings are flawless. When you’re deciding which product to buy on Amazon, for example, you’re likely going to trust the one with a high average rating and lots of reviews rather than one with a low average rating and fewer reviews. Keep tabs on your listings on all the top directories to make sure they’re accurate and up to date. And remember to set up documented systems to make sure customers stay delighted and leave reviews after their experience.
How has your experience been with online directories and reviews?
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