What Did They Say? Learn to Perfect Reputation Marketing for Your Small Business

April 27, 2022

Of course, every company worries about its reputation. This concern becomes even more pressing for a small business. Your startup needs to compete against established competitors with long-standing brands. Building a respected standing among your customer base represents the key to your long-term success.

However, your brand shouldn't just stand as a hard-won fortress you need to defend. Instead, treat it like an asset &#151 a resource you can use to help you compete in your market and a tool to drive more sales.

That's where reputation marketing comes in.

If you're looking to boost sales for your small business in 2022, it may be time to learn more about this trending tactic. Here, you'll learn the basics and get the information you need to expand your online clout and increase your sales opportunities.

What is reputation marketing?

Reputation marketing represents a top marketing trend for 2022. That's because this form of consumer interaction sits at the intersection of online culture and overall branding efforts. After all, 97% of consumers admit that they can be swayed by online reviews.

Given the importance of this kind of reputation, a marketing effort focused on this area has become a critical tool. Companies can use these efforts to build connections with potential customers &#151 competing in an age of ubiquitous online reviews, social media, and user-made content.

But how does reputation marketing work? When we think about marketing in general, often our minds turn towards traditional campaigns. We see visions of Super Bowl commercials for cryptocurrency trading platforms or YouTube pre-roll ads for nutritional supplements.

Reputational marketing takes a different angle. The process plugs into the conversation already taking place around your products. It uses the tools of online culture, like reviews and social media content, to build brand recognition and associate positive consumer emotions with a company.

How is reputation marketing different from reputation management?

You can think of this as a difference in mindset. Reputation management involves a defensive stance towards online conversations. You're looking to limit the damage caused by negative reviews.

However, reputation marketing switches the mode of operation. In this strategy, you go on the offense, using the online conversation surrounding your brand as a jumping-off point for a positive sales push.

In [reputation marketing], you go on the offense, using the online conversation surrounding your brand as a jumping-off point for a positive sales push.

What are the benefits of reputation marketing?

As you consider whether to add reputation marketing to your arsenal, you should understand what it can bring to your small business. Here are some of the benefits to consider:

Boost your overall brand

Reputation marketing plays into your overall brand building. It draws power from having an organic basis. By leveraging the online commentary around your offerings, you can accelerate the recognition of your company and drive future sales growth.

Enhance your credibility with customers

Don't think of your customers as individuals separately seeking your products and services. Rather, consider them as a community. Reputation marketing contributes to this conception. You not only enhance the conversation between you and your customers, but you also help bind them together to create a more cohesive and enthusiastic client base. This, in turn, lets you build trust and credibility.

Engage in cost-effective marketing

A long-term commitment to reputation marketing can bring marginal financial benefits to your company on many fronts at once. For instance, one study found that consumers are willing to pay 9% more for offerings that come from a producer with a strong reputation. At the same time, a healthy brand makes it easier to attract potential clients and speeds the process of converting sales.

What are the keys to successful reputation marketing?

If you've decided to pursue reputation marketing, it's important to build a strong foundation for your efforts. This process involves thinking about the strategy from a broad perspective and considering how to construct the optimum framework for future success. Here are some keys to keep in mind as you get started:

Dedicate resources to reputation marketing

Reputation marketing won't happen by accident. You'll need to direct resources in that direction. Budget funds for the strategy and make a concerted effort to leverage this process.

Build the right team

Beyond the application of funds, you'll need experience and knowledge to get the most out of your reputation marketing efforts. That requires the right people.

The field represents a burgeoning and fast-developing segment of the marketing profession. Start by connecting with experts on a consultancy basis. From there, you can consider engaging full-time staffers dedicated to the task.

Stay open to improvement

Interacting with your online reputation shouldn't merely involve repressing negative feedback and boosting your positive comments. Rather, the process should create a beneficial loop.

You can use the upbeat commentary as the basis for your reputational marketing effort. Meanwhile, the chatter surrounding your offerings represents strong data for you to improve over time.

In other words, don't just see your reputation as fodder for marketing or an asset that needs to be managed. Instead, get even more out of your investment by gathering and reacting to online commentary. Compile and analyze the information to improve your offerings over time.

Tips to create your own reputation marketing strategy

As you set up your reputation marketing operation, look for ways to optimize the process. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your efforts:

Gather feedback from customers

The first step to strong reputation marketing takes the form of information gathering. You need to engage with the online discussion about your products and services. Seek out areas where your customers post about you &#151 such as websites and social media &#151 and discover what they have to say.

Run this process in an organized way. You want to be able to build a comprehensive picture of your reputation, which requires more than a cursory perusal of comments. Instead, you need to build a process designed to glean useful insights. You can do this by:

  1. Building a rigorous, sustainable process
  2. Leveraging technology, such as reputation management software
  3. Seeking out comments by inviting customer feedback on your own website and social media outlets

Use positive reviews as marketing material

Look for ways to get the most out of the organic conversation happening around your offerings. Boost the positive chatter and respond constructively to the negative discussion.

Look for ways to get the most out of the organic conversation happening around your offerings. Boost the positive chatter and respond constructively to the negative discussion.

In this way, reputational marketing allows you to leverage your online brand to gather further momentum. Long-term, this will help you build a closer connection with your target customer base because your promotional efforts have a basis in the opinions of real buyers.

Build a healthy two-way conversation

Reputation marketing can also play a role in generating meaningful dialog with the circle of interest surrounding your startup. By engaging meaningfully in this aspect of your brand, you learn a lot about your customers and your place in the market.

Encourage this back-and-forth communication. You'll foster a sense of community that can become a powerful asset as you move to the next stage of your growth.

Use reputation marketing to take your startup to the next level

Reputation marketing is helping small businesses boost sales in 2022. The strategy dovetails perfectly with online culture, letting you expand your customer base and build a loyal following. This will make it easier to compete with better-established names.

Use the strategies outlined here to perfect your own reputation marketing plan. From there, you can get the most out of your brand and move your startup to the next phase of growth.