***Special Guest Blog ***
Do any of these statements apply to your business?
  • You are not gathering customer testimonials in a consistent or systemized way. 
  • You are not leveraging the social proof of your existing customers in order to grow your business.
  • You do not have a strategy for handling your online reputation and are not prepared to counteract negative comments.
  • You are not leveraging mobile search.
If any of these are true then this you should continue reading.
Are you prepared to handle an online negative commenting and reviews attack?

It is not unusual to have a customer that is not happy with the service provided by a business.  Most will not ever say anything but occasionally there will be those that feel they need to “warn” others about your poor service or bad product experience.
What if you received the message: “We will spend 25 million dollars to ruin your business name if you do not comply”?
Imagine the challenge of a threat of having to give in to someone who wants something from your business and will go to great lengths to coerce you to comply.
I was recently privy to just such a situation.  It was an unusually brutal online attack by an individual trying to force a business to capitulate to their requests.   The attack was massive and fierce.  In fact it was so cleverly devised that the customers of the business being attacked were left with the idea that the business was either no longer reputable or not even in business any more.
The attack came from online.  It used social media, video, email, cleverly devised surveys, etc. The business being attacked which has been around for more than 45 years was not ready to deal with this.  They were left scrambling trying to fight its way through this digital online barrage.  In fact they are still fighting the battle today.   They had no digital marketing or reputation strategy to be ready for such an attack.
Now this is a worst case scenario.  I hope you will never experience anything that extreme in your business.  However it does beg the questions, “What is my online reputation strategy or How do I overcome a negative online attack?
Online the term “testimonials” has been replaced with the word “reviews” or comments.  A small local business should have a system in place to leverage the variety of options to collect these reviews.  The reason for the use of the term reviews is primarily because of restaurants and entertainment venues that depend on foot traffic.
It is also a fact that testimonials on your website are less effective than testimonials (reviews) on a third party site.
Search engines like Google are now including reviews as a part of their search algorithms.  So now search rankings are even being impacted by online reviews.  How are you doing compared to your competition?
Some things to consider:
  • For businesses dependent on foot traffic you should be leveraging check in mobile services like Foursquare and Facebook Places.
  • Build processes and scripting for you or your staff to request reviews from happy customers. 
  • Provide a common place where you c
    an send your customers so they can easily give you the review.  (Like a special place on your website)
Should you want more information on how to manage online reviews please request my special report “Overcoming Negative Online Reviews, How to survive a digital attack” by emailing me at peter@dmdude.com.    You can also sign up for my weekly digital marketing tips at www.dmdude.com.
Peter Brissette
Digital Marketing Dude