No Crisis Here: 5 Best Practices for Brand Reputation Marketing

Managing your brand’s reputation takes more than crisis management—it takes reputation marketing. While there’s no doubt an adroit response to a defamatory review or snarky Tweet can work to your advantage, why not let your marketing strategy proactively influence customers’ perception of your brand? Here, we take a closer look at how you can put the power of reputation marketing to work for your company.

Reputation: Customers Make It or Break It, but You Can Shape It
What impacts your brand’s reputation in the marketplace? Maybe the better question is, “what doesn’t?” At a high level, it’s what your customers say. And in today’s digital world, they are most certainly talking. Your prospective customers, employees, and business partners (and let’s face it, everybody else) are listening—and responding accordingly. That’s why you need to help shape the conversation.

You simply can’t control what others are saying about your brand, good or bad. But if want to ensure that what you’re putting out there for your customers to consume makes you look trustworthy, knowledgeable, and—yes—reputable, then consider putting these best practices into play:

1. Adopt a Reputation Marketing Mindset
In brand reputation management, you think damage control; in brand reputation marketing, you think attract, influence, and inspire. Make the decision to actively deliver content and experiences that represent your values, and speak to customers in a way that encourages trust. Treat your online presence, in particular, as a living, breathing, dynamic entity that’s always communicating with customers and prospects. This helps you remain proactive—not reactive—in a consumer marketplace where almost anything can happen!

2. Prioritize the Customer Experience
A customer’s experience with your company is what shapes what they say about your company—and what they say has a powerful influence over others’ perceptions and behaviors, from what they think to what they purchase. Some points to ponder:

• What do your customers expect in the first place? You need to know what support they need at each stage of their customer journey so you can deliver satisfying interactions and ongoing engagement. This includes paying attention to off-site digital touch-points like social media channels and review sites.

• Is your website useful and relevant? The hub of your digital presence, your site should be Google-friendly and offer helpful content that raises awareness about your brand, promotes interest in your solutions, and generates and converts leads. Each visitor-turned-customer can be a terrific advocate for your brand!

• Do employees put customers first? It doesn’t matter if you’re in a B2B or B2C market: customer service matters. That means help should always be a phone call, email, or chat message away.

For more insights, explore:
How Direct Response Marketing Can Keep Up With Customers’ Liquid Expectations
What Your Social Media Activity Is Saying About Your Brand

3. Take Control of Your Listings
According to Edelman, 65% of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies—a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source. Directory listings are an important way to “get found” today, so take some time to make sure your company is represented and that your details are accurate.

Some popular directories are Google, Yelp, Facebook, YP.com, CitySearch, and Manta. Check out Hubspot’s blog for a more comprehensive list.

4. Monitor Mentions
Here’s where you need to do some reputation management. Watch where your company (and/or product) name pops up online. You can do this on a manual, DIY basis using free web monitoring tools like Google Alerts, or partner with a reputation management service. The idea is to know who’s talking about you, where they’re talking, why they’re talking, and what they’re saying—in case you need to step in to perform some damage control.

By most accounts, it’s recommended to address any negative remarks you find. As long as they’re not flat-out illegal or against your social posting policies, it’s a good idea to respond relatively quickly and to avoid any aggression. Dealing with unhappy customers directly—even publicly—shows that you care about their experience and appreciate the opportunity to look into the situation further and/or make things “right.”

5. Get More Positive Online Reviews
Apply the law of attraction: instead of focusing on the negative things customers could be saying about your company, try to increase the volume of good things they share. Since 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business (according to Brightlocal), it makes sense that you’d want to have as many positive reviews as you can get. To learn more, don’t miss our two-part blog series on customer reviews:

5 Reasons Customer Ratings and Reviews Boost Your Sales
3 Ways to Ask for Customer Reviews—and How to Do It Right

Contact us for more ideas on successfully marketing your brand online.


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It's time to look back at our top blog posts of the year!
Below is number 2.

 

Today’s multi-channel—and omnichannel—direct response marketing campaigns pack some serious punch. Reaching customers from every angle and providing multiple ways to reply, respond and convert, they also strive to deliver a seamless experience across every touch point. That’s a whole lot of moving parts!

If this sounds like the beginning of a “How will I measure this?” nightmare, pinch yourself gently and read on…we’ll break this down for you.Read more


When is it Time to Hire a Direct Response Marketing Agency?

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It’s easy for us to say (we’re just a little biased!), but hiring a direct response marketing agency might be the smartest thing you can do for your internal marketing team, customers, marketing budget and, most importantly, sales growth.

Direct response marketing campaigns are the workhorses of your growth strategy—and you depend on their performance to take your business to the next level.

But how do you know it’s the right time to partner with an agency?
See if a couple of these hit home:

  • The phrase “omnichannel marketing” scares the bajeebers out of your marketing team…and you’ve been unable to effectively expand campaigns to the digital channel, including social media.
  • You spent several weeks (and several thousand dollars) on a direct mail campaign…and response rates were dismal, or worse yet weren’t even able to be tracked and measured.
  • That absolutely fabulous, no-chance-for-failure offer you came up with? It didn’t drive ANY action.
  • You have inconsistent results across campaigns because you’re not testing to find out what works—and what doesn’t work

We’re marketers ourselves—and we come face-to-face with these challenges every day. So take it from us: there are times, like these, when the agency perspective really matters:Read more


6 Guidelines for Running a Social Media Group for Your Business

There’s the social media page and then there’s the group—and there’s a big difference. While there’s no knocking the page as the social platform’s “home” for your brand, the group is peoples’ go-to destination for conversation, camaraderie, and support. Read on to learn how we approach the running of a social media group—and what it takes to make yours a success.Read more