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Reputation Management and Why it Matters to Your Small Business

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Reputation management has undergone many changes since the term was first coined. Now, more importantly, your online reputation is one of the core components of overall reputation management and strategy for your small business online. In this day and age, the sheer overwhelming amount of sources in which you have to maintain a good forward-facing image in order to build and maintain your reputation online is staggering. We’ll try to guide you through reputation management in it’s current state and try to understand how it fits into your everyday model as a small business owner.

Having a good online reputation can do the following for your small business:

Reputation Management defined by Wikipedia:

Reputation management, also known as directory management, is the process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entities’ opinions about those actions; reporting on those actions and opinions; and reacting to that report creating a feedback loop. All entities involved are generally people, but that need not always be the case. Other examples of entities include animals, businesses, or even locations or materials. The tracking and reporting may range from word-of-mouth to statistical analysis of thousands of data points.

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An Evolution Has Occured — Where are You Standing?

We’ve seen a slow evolution of reputation management occur throughout the years. Now, more than ever we see people discussing small businesses and organizations online through different mediums and channels. People are conversing with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, about places they like to eat, what movies they like and how where they like to shop. Before, this was strictly by word of mouth, rumor, or what your parents told you. We no longer have to scan the newspaper or ask our neighbors for what their opinions are, we can go to one or multiple sources and figure out for ourselves whether or not the product or business is really worth our time/money. With the evolution of digital media, we almost get bombarded with opinions from everyone on what’s good and what’s not. We can even track what people are saying about us with analytic and sophisticated data tracking.

“84% Of Marketers Believe That Building Trust Will Be The Primary Focus For Marketing Efforts In The Future” [1]

Three Fundamental Categories of Reputation Management

Reputation management can be for any company size, from large corporate entities who want to self-promote or fairly newer companies that want to get their name out.

Growing – This type of reputation management has to do with growing the reputation of a business that is just barely getting started. It includes building a good reputation and maintaining it for your business.

Maintenance – A key aspect of reputation management is ongoing maintenance. This is meant for small business’ that are established and want to maintain their solid reputation and build upon an existing brand/image.

Healing and Recovery – If you’re a small business and garnered a bad reputation for yourself, then the healing and recovery stage is meant for you. You’ll want to implement a sound strategy to get your business back in good graces with its customers and reassure potential customers of your core values.

Small businesses need reputation management and solutions that keep their best face forward for both potential customers and existing. We provide the necessary tools to maintain a proper brand image and portray a business that cares and listens to its customers.

[1] 1 To 1 Media Survey of the 1t1 Xchange Panel, 2008

What Is a Call to Action and Why Your Website Needs One

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What is a call to action? According to Wikipedia,

“A call to action, or CTA, is a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue down a conversion funnel.[1] It is an essential part ofinbound marketing as well as permission marketing in that it actively strives to convert a user into a lead[2] and later into a customer.”

Well, that was boring. So what does it mean? Any small business’ website without a clear call to action confuses a potential customer and makes them leave your website. Not good, right? If you have a clear, concise call to action on your website, your potential customers will effectively stay in the sales funnel and not discouraged or distracted along the way. For many small businesses, this leads to more conversions and ultimately, more revenue.

Fancy, but Not TOO Fancy

A lot of websites have all the bells and whistles and while they have their place in many effective designs, they get in the way of the sales funnel or what they are trying to accomplish. We can’t forget that a small business’ website primarily serves as a tool to move potential customers into actual customers and eventually, repeat clients. Do you need three videos on the homepage? Do you need that gigantic slideshow with beautiful pictures if it’s not moving them along in the sales funnel? The answer is no; you need a clear call to action.

Call to Action Examples

Here’s a great example from tasty downtown Chicago, IL restaurant Bel50.com, where they combine slideshow elements with a clear call to action all at once:

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We believe that having clear call to action elements sprinkled throughout your website (in effective places) will help increase conversions. The first thing we do when looking at a client’s website is assess what could be done differently and what is unnecessarily hindering people from moving on to the next step. Next, we take action in removing roadblocks and replacing it with concise, explanatory content and clear calls to action.

Some examples of effective calls to action include:

Here’s another example from Bel50.com where they cleverly ask a question and move the potential customer along at the same time:

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A call to action can come in any form, you’re not limited to one style. Be it a big red button, a short sentence, or a simple text link, once you begin implementing calls to action within your website, you’ll begin to notice how effective it is in getting more leads from your small business’ website.

Tim’s Place Restaurant Owner Tim Harris is the Friendliest Small Business Owner Ever

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Tim Harris is the proud owner of one of Albuquerque New Mexico’s friendliest establishments. They happily serve breakfast, lunch, and most importantly of all, hugs. Tim also has down syndrome but that doesn’t stop him from owning and successfully (and very happily) operating his own establishment. In fact, we all could probably take a few things away from this happy-go-lucky owner.

According to NDSS.org, down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. That being said, it’s no argument that Tim is definitely one-of-a-kind.

Watch the video below for more heart-warming small business goodness!

“I am so excited to go to work, so I do a dance-off in the parking lot. It’s a dance of magic. We serve breakfast, lunch, and hugs. Hugs are the best part.”

– Tim Harris, Owner of Tim’s Place

Tim’s Place is located at 8050 Academy Blvd. NE, ABQ, NM 87111, Suite 101. Check out their website for their menu and more information on how to support Tim’s amazing cause.

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