Cyber Monday emphasizes the importance of e-commerce in a big way. Plenty of small business owners miss out on this retail celebration because they don’t offer online sales. While this may be a deterrent to some consumers, there’s more to the advertising picture than meets the eye.
Simply having a web presence will suffice in most cases, at least when it comes to local customers. These days, prospective buyers expect to be able to find product images as well as prices without leaving the comfort of their homes. But having a useful website is just one piece of the e-marketing puzzle.
In this instance, small business owners should probably follow the model that larger companies employ. Almost every huge retailer, regardless of industry, allows customers to review their items and services. The authenticity of these reviews is nearly impossible to verify, yet consumers place a great deal of trust in these amateur assessments.
Small business owners don’t necessarily have to incorporate a review platform into their websites in order to stay on top of this trend. That’s obviously a solution for those with the technological and financial resources to do so. Everyone else ought to focus on researching their own brand name. This might sound odd as businesses typically believe that they are in charge of their public images. Such thinking applies to a bygone era, not the 21st century digital age. In today’s tech-savvy society, consumers control company’s reputations with their words as well as their dollars. There are tons of review resources/directories available to both satisfied and disgruntled customers alike, such as Yelp, CitySearch, InsiderPages, LocalPAGES, and the like. Unfortunately, former employees and competitors sometimes attempt to tarnish a good name by writing bad reviews online. Basically, anything connected to a company name that appears on a search engine is fair game.
Although entrepreneurs cannot prevent negative comments from showing up occasionally, they can stay on top of their internet reputations. The easiest way to keep up with this type of information is by conducting searches. If there’s something negative, try to address the complaint wherever it lies. This isn’t always possible, but it’s certainly worth trying. Almost any response is better than unanswered accusations or issues. Subscribe to RSS feeds or email alerts for these kinds of sites, when applicable, in order to stay on top of things.
Naturally, there are going to be glowing reviews, too. Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on the bad stuff. Use positive comments to promote a particular area that the company excels in. Maybe the staff impressed someone with outstanding customer service or found a rare item on the shelves that the major chains no longer carry. Make sure that other customers see these remarks and encourage the faithful to put in their two cents.