online reputation management
Instead of assuming that local customers don’t use the internet to research local businesses, small business owners should take a proactive approach to attract new customers and keep their existing ones coming back for more.
Why Online Reputation Still Matters to Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
The majority of today’s brick-and-mortar businesses, such as restaurants, retail stores, and doctors’ offices, cater primarily to local customers. Many small business owners assume that, since their customers live within a short distance of their stores, it should mean they don’t have to worry about digital marketing and online reputation management. Unfortunately, that assumption often winds up costing them money.
Instead of assuming that local customers don’t use the internet to research local businesses, small business owners should take a proactive approach to attract new customers and keep their existing ones coming back for more. They can read on to find out about some best practices for online reputation management that specifically target small, local businesses to get started.
Many local businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals to draw new customers, but they shouldn’t assume that means they don’t need to maintain a presence online. While many consumers do still seek referrals from their friends, the majority of them will still look for other opinions prior to deciding where to take their business. Creating a website and maintaining a positive presence on social media are the best ways to encourage new customers who have heard rave reviews from their loved ones to follow up on them.
Demonstrate Community Involvement
One of the reasons that consumers are still willing to shop at local stores instead of heading online to make all of their purchases is that local stores tend to be more tied into their communities. Many of them sponsor local sports teams, put on fundraisers for local charities, or donate money to local schools. All of these amazing offline contributions to the community can be showcased on a company’s website and its social media pages.
Expand Customer Bases
The fact that small, brick-and-mortar businesses tend to pull in local customers doesn’t mean business owners should just settle for whatever they can get. Establishing and maintaining a positive online reputation can help local businesses draw customers from farther away. After all, a family passing through town on a vacation and looking for a restaurant will almost always turn to online reviews rather than word-of-mouth recommendations from people they don’t know.
Make it Easy for Loyal Customers to Show Support
Well-established local businesses tend to have loyal customer bases that would be more than happy to head online to leave a positive review. This simple act gives them a quick but meaningful way to show their support.