Reputation management offers a low cost potential means for a small business to greatly expand. It gives you access to markets undreamed of 20 years ago. If you have owned your business for several decades, starting before the Internet existed, you may not feel comfortable with working on it. But you can learn to feel at home on the Internet, and connect your business to its tremendous marketing possibilities. You should do more research on this topic if you are interested in developing an Reputation management campaign for your small business.

Online Reputation Management for Small Business

Small BusinessWhen some people think about Reputation management they probably don’t think that it can be used for anything more than just selling products. While it can help with that, it’s also good to use for getting the word out about your small business. If you have a product or a service that you’d like to be able to get out there to the world but don’t know how, read below to learn more.

  1. Create a simple website to present your business. The goal of a website is to inform your visitors about the products or services you offer. If you want to create a more advanced website, write articles related to your products and services. You could for instance share tutorials with your readers or write about the latest innovations in your field. Find a reliable web hosting service and register a domain name for your business. If you have no experience with developing websites, choose a web hosting service that includes a quality site-building tool or create a blog instead.
  2. Register your business with sites such as Yelp or Google Maps. Local customers looking for a specific product will come across these results. You will be more likely to get these potential customers interested in your products if you have a short description of your business on Yelp or Google Maps. Customers can also review your business on these sites; encourage people to write reviews if they had a good experience with your products.
  3. Social media is a platform you need to use for your Reputation management campaign. Your customers probably use Facebook on a daily basis. Create official profiles on the social networks your customers use the most and update your profiles regularly. Share valuable content on these sites and encourage your audience to interact with you, for instance by commenting on your content or sending your questions. Always be professional and helpful when interacting with customers on social networks and keep in mind that your goal is to interact with customers, not make new friends. Use the ‘check in’ feature of Facebook and create a page on Foursquare to draw attention to your store or office.
  4. Get involved in local events and document these activities on the Internet. You could for instance help local non-profit organizations by donating some of your products or selling products for charity. Participate in different events such as fairs and festivals, for instance by renting a booth or giving away free products. Have someone take pictures or film these events so you can easily share this content online. People from your community will be very interested in learning more about the events and perhaps recognize themselves in some of your videos. Do not hesitate to organize your own events if this method is efficient with your target audience, for instance by organizing a small festival related to your products or put together a fun event and donate profits to a local charity.
  5. Start by finding a web hosting company and buying a domain name. Make your current business your domain name if it is available. You will then own this name on the Internet and no competitor can use it. This is the first step in establishing your company’s unique identity on the Web. Research web hosting companies online. Choose one that suits your needs. It will provide you with a choice of templates on which to build your website.
  6. Before you design your site, study Search Engine Optimization. Google and other search engines will help you with information, including advice on choosing keywords. You will also find tutorials explaining SEO online, and lots of good information and advice on forums and chat rooms. When you understand the basics, imbed SEO into your website design. This is like opening the door and inviting visitors to come in.
  7. Pay close attention to the written text on your site. Proofread it carefully. Make sure that it is accurate and reflects what you want people to see in your business. Add some images for visual appeal. Feature your contact information prominently. Make sure your domain name is in your URL, with keywords in all the right places. Include a secure payment system for customers. Now you are ready to publish your business website. You can add some of the finer points later on.
  8. Once your site is up and running, there are a lot of extras you can add to create a good experience for visitors and motivate them to return. Offer a special sale each month or each week. Start a blog to communicate with customers. Give them expert information that will help them. Let them know about new products in the pipeline, and get feedback from them about your current products. Invite comments and questions. Answer all of these, plus those you get through email. Keep up a running conversation with your customers.
  9. You’re going to need to find a web host to put your website onto when you want to market to people. This website should probably not go onto a free hosting service for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that when you use free hosting, you’re not able to generally use your own URL. You’ll get stuck with a URL that has a company name and then a username that you’ve chosen. With paid hosting you can get a URL that contains your company name which is a lot easier to share with others in your marketing materials.
  10. Figure out what kind of content you’re going to put onto your website. This kind of content should be optimized for search engines so that people can easily find your site when they type in a set of words to search for. These will be your keywords and that is what your content will revolve around for the most part. Do a little research on the Internet and see what kinds of keywords are effective for your niche. There are also tools that allow you to get the density of keywords you are using in content so you can avoid getting flagged by search engines as a spammer.
  11. Start an online only mailing list that gives people coupons that they can use on your website. You’ll get a lot more business this way and people that buy online can come from all over the world. Just make sure that you specify whether or not you’re willing to ship all over so that you don’t get customers ordering that you can’t help out. When you mail coupons out it’s beneficial to you if you put an expiration date on them so that they cannot be used over and over again in the future.
  12. Market your online sites by marketing offline as well. You can get yourself business cards for very cheap these days. You can also be sure that you add your contact information to any type of mail that you may send out to people. Advertise in your store if you own one by getting posters of where people can contact you online. When you give out coupons in your place of business to people that buy from you locally, don’t forget to print your website onto them in case they want to find you online or to share your company with friends that don’t live nearby.
  13. When you have your website in great shape, start a page on Facebook. Here your conversation with customers is more in the social realm. Create some exciting or unusual content on this page, and people will tell their friends about it and hundreds or thousands of new people will hear about your business. Give them an incentive, like a free offer, to visit your website, and many of them may become customers.
  14. Another good way to make your business known on the Internet is to produce informational and instructional videos on YouTube.

Even if you just run a small business you will find that the Internet is very powerful in helping you get more business than ever. This isn’t going to happen overnight, however. Make sure you put the above ideas into your marketing plans and you should start to see results in the near future. Follow these tips and your small business will soon be well-established on the Internet. Once you have opened your doors, be ready for a lot of new customers to come in.