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,, 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.

How Direct Response Marketing Can Keep Up With Customers’ Liquid Expectations

Customers compare their experiences with your brand to their experiences with Amazon, Disney, and Starbucks, even if you sell insurance, building supplies, or printing services. And you better believe these interactions are shaping their perceptions of your company—and they’re raising the bar for your direct response marketing efforts, too.

It’s Time to Widen Your Competitive Lens
Who’s setting the bar? Not your direct competitors. In fact, your competitors aren’t often who you think they are. Your competitors are also the brands that your customers engage with on a daily basis. That’s right, these include McDonald’s, Google, PetSmart, and Nike; the brands who pour billions of dollars into marketing research, product development, and advertising. And in the process, they’re redefining the customer experience and driving new consumer demands.

Accenture Interactive’s Fjord agency coined the term “liquid expectations” to describe when customer experiences seep over from one industry to an entirely different industry. For example, a customer might compare their easy-breezy coffee shop mobile ordering and checkout experience with their not-quite-as-simple online life insurance quoting and application process. They’re going to find the insurance company experience lacking. They’re going to feel dissatisfied, on some level, and think, “That should have been a whole lot easier!”

While this is clearly an apples-to-oranges comparison, it signals to insurance companies a need to prioritize the customer experience—an experience that’s getting easier everywhere else. It’s an opportunity to rise to consumers’ digital demands and improve the buyer journey, taking cues from how leading consumer brands are delighting their customers.Read more

2018 Direct Response Marketing Trends: The Best of the Best

This isn’t just another “trends to watch” list. We’ve scoured the direct response marketing headlines and assessed the “2018 trends” lists. Combining the trend lists and what we are observing in our daily efforts, we’re going to share what we believe are the trends to watch: the top 5 response-generating practices that we believe are going to make the most impact on in the year ahead.
Read more

3 Ways to Ask for Customer Reviews—and How to Do It Right

Boost sales. Establish credibility. Build trust. Increase brand awareness. Learn more about your customers. What’s the one thing your marketing team can do to accomplish all of these things and more? Leverage customer product and service reviews!

Customer Reviews Matter
As we shared in 5 Reasons Customer Ratings and Reviews Boost Your Sales, 81% of consumers read reviews and check ratings—and customer reviews are tied with family/friends as the most trusted source of information on products and services. In B2B markets, customer reviews are just as powerful. G2 Crowd’s 2018 Benchmark Report: The Impact of Reviews on B2B Buyers and Sellers reveals:

  • 92.4% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they have been able to read a trusted review about it.
  • 60% of buyers use review sites and 82% find them to be very valuable in their research.
  • And…55% of companies don’t use reviews as part of their marketing mix!

These results may or may not surprise you. Either way, it’s important to know that customer reviews are important—and you’re wise to put them on your radar, especially if your B2C or B2B products and services are purchased or researched online. And let’s face it: what isn’t being at least researched online these days?Read more

5 Reasons Customer Ratings and Reviews Boost Your Sales

B2B and B2C companies at both national and local levels can enjoy the sales-boosting power of customer ratings and reviews. Thanks to popular review sites like Google, Facebook, and Angie’s List—not to mention corporate and e-commerce websites featuring customer reviews—people can consider others’ feedback before they buy products and services. And yes, they’re indeed buying.

Consumers are talking about their purchases, from handbags to computer software, from health insurance to golf clubs, from HVAC services to online educational programs. And potential buyers want know what to expect and how to make the most of their investment. Ratings and reviews help facilitate this process—they essentially formalize and digitize traditional (and highly effective) word of mouth marketing.

But as we’ll see, ratings and reviews do more than support the online shopper’s journey. They can add up to more revenue for you. Let’s take a closer look at what makes customer feedback so valuable to your digital marketing and sales strategy:Read more