How to Shape Your Responses to Reviews for Better SEO Results

small-businesses

Online reviews have become like the currency for a brand’s reputation on the internet. Every business should pay attention to their reviews because of their ability to impact your online search rankings. This is a major part of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Online reputation can make or break any business, therefore having a strategy in place is essential to a business’ activity. All people that might come in contact with your business, from employees to customers and suppliers will always check your reputation on the internet. Especially customers pay attention to what other customers might have said about your brand. Managing your online reviews, both good and bad, should be an active process for every business.

Responding to Positive Reviews

Responding to positive reviews always gives your social profile a boost. The customer who left the review will feel appreciated for his effort and will re-enforce his positive opinion of your business. On the other hand your audience will see that your brand online has an identity and is inclusive of every client. Finally it will also positively impact your SEO. Responses to positive reviews should include, but are not limited to:

  1. Thank your customer: Always express how much you appreciate the positive review.
  2. Personalize response: Pay attention to what the customer has highlighted and try to come up with a personalized response. You want people to know that their response is from a human and is not an automated message.
  3. Include your brand name, location and services to boost your SEO.
  4. Leverage the feedback: Use this as an opportunity to invite this particular customer back. Encourage indirectly others to try your product as well.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Every once in a while, there might be a customer who was unsatisfied with his experience and he will leave an unsatisfactory review. This is a great opportunity to turn around a negative review into a positive effect for your reputation through an appropriate response. If you succeed in solving the issue, then you will have won not only this customer back but also probably those surrounding him. If the issue is un-solvable, potential clients will see your willingness to solve problems, ensuring you are caring and trustworthy. When formulating a response to negative reviews keep in mind:

  1. Respond as quickly as possible. This will minimize the frustration of the customer and maybe lead to quicker resolution.
  2. Thank your customer. It is important to thank your customer for taking the time to leave you a review and for potentially identifying any weakness in your activity.
  3. Always admit when you are in the wrong. Apologize accordingly and never try to find excuses for a client’s bad experience with your product.
  4. Identify an appropriate resolution. Consider leaving them your customer service contact information. This will show others that you are willing to go everything in your power to overcome the situation.
  5. In this case avoid using SEO related terms like your business name, location, and services.

Quick Scan Search Results to See if You Need Online Reputation Management

Before the widespread use of the Internet, what people could learn about your business and brand was relatively limited – often locally limited and spread only through word-of-mouth.

Fast forward today and the decision making process when buying has significantly changed. Buying decisions are often influenced by the brand’s reputation, which very often can be searched online. It is tough for anyone to admit that their business is affected by online reputation, irrespective whether the criticism is irrelevant or negative.

Your brand’s online presence matters and this cannot be ignored. You should always expect that your business has been already searched on the internet, especially by potential customers, investors or partners. Furthermore they will often base their decisions on what they see online.

One of the red flags for your reputation is the negative search results. It might have a negative impact on your business’ ‘attractiveness’ and should be managed accordingly.

Negative Search Results

While search results are only scratching the surface of what constitutes your online reputation, they are like the first impression when you meet someone. 65% of people consider online search as the main tool to acquire information about people and companies.

Keep in mind that anyone has the possibility to write anything about your brand on the internet. This might be a dis-satisfied client, an employee that was fired or someone with a personal vendetta. In an online world everything compounds as all past records remain ‘forever’ on the internet – from an old lawsuit to a negative article.

Research indicates that businesses lose up to 22% of potential customers when they find one negative feedback on the first page of search results. The percentage increases to 44% and 59% for two and three negative search results respectively.

Even for businesses that get their clients from referrals, search results matter. After hearing your brand’s name, potential customers will initially take to the web to find out more details. We’re used to living in a world where we know we can get more information on the internet if we haven’t made up our minds.

Do a quick check and see if you have irrelevant or negative feedback on your business. If so, assume this is in some way affecting your results. Consider organizing a campaign to manage your online reputation and clear your digital presence, so that it doesn’t affect your current sales process. If you don’t know where to start, you can always appeal to an expert to help you get initiated.

Financial Services Industry Wants to Catch Up with Digital Marketing Budget Increases

The Financial Services Industry has been lagging behind in customer experience and is increasing their digital marketing budget more so than other industries, according to a research by Adobe. The sector’s unique problems around regulation means greater organisational change will also be taking place within firms.

70 % of financial services institutions plan to increase their digital marketing budgets during this year, as they fend off agile, customer experienced driven fintechs, according to the Adobe report.

The Adobe report, 2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services, was done in partnership with Econsultancy and surveyed around 700 FSI senior leaders as part of the global study. Results show digital marketing budgets are increasing across all industries, but the financial services industry is clear leader in this regard.

The report states that the increasing budgets will go towards automating marketing, personalising the experience for the customer, lead generation and lead management.

Customer Experience

The competition and the motivation to improve is coming from smaller more agile fintechs that able to respond to customer requirements rapidly or from established technology companies improving their services and moving into the finance industry.

The fiery competition is a somewhat new challenge for an industry that commonly had just a few established players and user expectations were at lower levels. Now, with the appearance of new competitors and digital disruption, the finance sector has begun to devote more effort to maintaining a high level of standard for customer experience.

25 per cent of FSI firms consider optimising the customer experience as their top priority this year, 10 % more than other industries. Customer experience is also a differentiating factor for FSI organisations over the next five years, according to the report.

The main narrative of the customer experience challenge is “optimising the customer journey across multiple touchpoints” – something the financial industry is now prioritising more than other sectors.

Meeting that challenge will require a paradigm shift in organisational structure. The report argues the structure of an FSI firm must now transition in order to “reflect the fluid nature of the customer journey”.

“The rigidly demarcated channels that characterise many incumbent businesses can prevent a joined-up and omnichanel approach. It is paramount that companies can both surface and share data and insights relating to cross-channel customer activities with teams, processes and software that transcends the boundaries that have historically divided teams within large organisations.”

Lagging Tech

Data is a sensitive subject among consumers already and sharing data with a scope to unify customers is a tough prospect for any large organisation but is perhaps even more difficult for financial organisations.

The Adobe report reveals FSI providers are having a particularly rough time with adopting new technology.

46 per cent of financial organisations stated technology was “challenging to master” – nearly 10% more than the average for the rest of the industries. Even among major players there is a considerable gap – only 7% of FSI organisations have a “highly integrated cloud based technology stack” compare to the average figure of 12%.

Considering the tight regulations financial services institutions are subject to, it is understandable they are relying on monolithic old systems. However, with increased competition, user requirements rising and potentially more digital disruption coming through open banking, FSI organisations will have to quickly adapt to keep up with competition.

Tips to Use Negative Comments on Social Media to Your Advantage

Crisis management comes with the online reputation management territory of changing negative sentiment around your brand into positive sentiment.

It is a tough task to change the sentiment around your brand from negative instances and keep things positive, but definitely not impossible. Here you can see four tips to protect your business and your brand’s reputation:

1.Avoid contrarian reactions

Negative comments on your brand, business, products or services you provide, can cause you to attempt an instant justification and demonstrate that the consumer is “of the mark” or “wrong”.

While this is normal reaction but won’t necessarily help you keep a positive online image for your business. The most important tip is to never place blame, especially on a consumer, even if his comment is negative or misleading.

Furthermore, try to not take it personally and avoid responding emotionally and with an accusatory tone. It is always best to take some time, think it through and give a professional, calm and appropriate answer. You can set a clear ORM response policy around commenting and responding to comments.

2. Comments are a resource to be used

Comments you receive on social media, negative or positive, can be thought of as consumer research – and it’s first—hand research which can become a valuable resource. Keep a record of your comments and responses, tips, questions, suggestions and key problems.

You will find interesting bits of information about your followers or consumers. The main purpose is to switch negative sentiment into a positive one, while you can still benefit from the information and data you accumulate in the process.

Applying this method, you will start seeing value in engagement with your brand on online channels. Online reputation management is a daily task. This is all part of maintaining your digital reputation and online media presence.

3. Keep in mind that online is visible to everyone

Because everything is public on social media and everyone can read the comments and responses, it is imperative to take into consideration both positive and negative comments. Usually there are more persons reading the comments than those actively participating in the discussion.

Most of them are following to see the reaction of the brand to negative commentary. This is an opportunity to demonstrate how connected the business is with their customer; it is the perfect platform to solve problems and defuse tense situations.

This will create a sense of trust around the brand when it actively listens and solves potential problems for its consumers. It shows that the brand is prepared to go the extra-mile. This can have positive ripple effect through your customer base.

4. Hire a specialist for online presence

Social media has its own specifics and dynamics where an experienced specialist will be able to extract maximum value out of all online interactions. It is important the specialist to be well-connected with the marketing team. The same content should be projected over all your online channels.