Whether you own a business or you freelance, establishing your brand is crucial if you want to succeed. Building your brand takes a lot of hard work but it represents people’s perception of your business, creates trust, improves recognition and increases financial value.
With that being said, protecting and monitoring your brand is even more important if you want to grow your business and get referrals.
Luckily, the Internet makes it simple to analyze the key factors that dictate your reputation and keep an eye on how other people perceive your business. It’s safe to say the best customers and clients are the ones who have already made the decision to work with you, based on your reputation and successful brand.
To keep attracting those types of clients, utilize the following essential tools and techniques to craft a flawless reputation.
Ask Customers for Feedback
Satisfying your customers should be your most important goal since the people you provide services for can make or break your brand. Asking for customers’ opinions and using their feedback to improve your operations is one of the best ways to monitor and manage your brand, while at the same time improving your reputation.
Create surveys and case studies to find out what people like and dislike about your business, and use the feedback to your benefit. Gathering and analyzing customer feedback yourself is a very hands-on way to improve your reputation, and communicates to customers and clients that you value and care about their opinion.
Critique Your Website
Your website should be one of the first interactions people have with your brand. When people read or hear about your company from another source, they will probably head straight to your website for more information.
If your business is web-based, you will most likely rely heavily on your ability to make a great first impression with your website. Your website should also be the easiest representation of your business to control, since you have full access to it.
It’s important to take the time to stop and critique your website to ensure that you are making a great first impression to potential prospects. Assess your overall layout and design to ensure it looks clean, professional and is up-to-date with current web design trends. Proofread content throughout the pages of your site to ensure proper grammar and eliminate any errors you find. You can also test user ability by utilizing several different tools, including:
- Peek by UserTesting: Offers a five minute video review of someone navigating through your site with their feedback.
- 5 Second Test: This handy tool enables you to know what people remember most about your site in five seconds.
- Spur: Offers at least seven different tools to assess your website and find out what’s working and what isn’t.
Ensuring that your website is up to par will help improve your online reputation and make it more likely for visitors to turn into customers.
If you’ve been working with a client who has expressed satisfaction with your product or service, don’t be afraid to ask them for a review. Asking for a positive review from a pleased client is far better than receiving a random negative review from someone who was not happy with your service.
You can add the review to your website to build credibility, or you can ask the client to leave a review online if you think that will be more effective. Here is a simple template you can use when asking a client for a review:
Hi [Client Name],
I am pleased to hear you are happy with xyz service/product and your business really means a lot to our team. If you have a few minutes, could you please leave us a positive review online at either our Google Places listing, Yelp or our Merchant Circle account?
For Google Places you need a Gmail account. Here is a link to our listing:
For Yelp, you need either a Facebook or Yelp account: [Insert Link]
For Merchant Circle, you can either use Facebook or quickly signup: [Insert Link]
Thank you again for your business and it was a pleasure working with you. If you need anything from us in the future, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
You may not be able to monitor or control what people say about you verbally, but you do have complete access to monitor your online reputation. Check complaint websites and reviews on Google and Yelp often to see what people are saying about you; good or bad.
Try to address any negative reviews by politely offering an apology or a solution to the reviewer’s problem. Even if you get a mediocre review online, it’s not the end of the world. When you respond it demonstrates your attentiveness to the issue and your problem-solving capabilities.
You can also set up Google Alerts so you can be notified whenever your name or business is mentioned online. Google Alerts are easy to set up, free, and you can enter multiple keyword-based alerts to notify you when content is published about your products or services.
For social media, you should be tracking your accounts daily and checking for spam and comments. If you don’t have time to keep up with your brand on social media, you can always hire a virtual assistant to take care of this task for you.
Social media management tools can also help you cut down on the time required to monitor your online reputation, but some them require a small fee to use. Tools like Social Mention, Tweet Alarm, Hootsuite, SalesForce and Hyper Alerts can help you track, monitor and analyze your social mentions throughout the web.
Work with a PR Professional
If you’re not in favor of the DIY approach when it comes to monitoring your brand and reputation, you may want to look into hiring a PR professional if it’s in your budget. You can choose from a PR coach, individual, or agency to help monitor your business’ mentions on the web, draft and pitch press releases, and manage your reputation by securing good press and fixing bad press.
PR professionals are skilled in branding, writing, marketing and communication. In addition to helping you monitor your brand both online and offline, they can help you come up with a custom reputation management strategy tailored to your needs and goals. If you choose to work with a PR expert be sure to include posting honest and original content related to your business in your strategy; this helps craft an exceptional reputation.
Choose Your Partners Carefully
When you reputation is on the line, it’s important to choose your partners wisely. Partnering with a company that seems illegitimate or has a bad reputation is never a good idea, as it can have a negative effect on your reputation and how people perceive your brand.
The last thing you want is for prospects to negatively associate your business with a sketchy company because you failed to do your research.
If a business or individual approaches you about an opportunity you should verify their credibility and reputation both on and off the web before establishing a partnership.
Your reputation along with a positive brand presence are crucial to your success. Using the tools and techniques mentioned above will make successfully monitoring your brand more attainable.
How often do you monitor your brand and reputation? Have you used any of these tools or techniques before? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s note: Here’s another way to promote your brand-send out proposals.
You’ll need to explain to your client leads not only what you can offer them, but who you are and why you’re best suited to offer them services.
We’re helping you to brand yourself via proposals by offering you a free 14 day trial offer of our proposal web app!
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