We’ve heard a lot about content marketing and how it can create traffic, leads and sales for your business. What we haven’t heard a lot about is utilizing content marketing to help build and retain your online reputation.
Up until now most business owners have felt like they were powerless over the online review sites like Yelp and Google+. The information on these sites can dictate whether a prospect will buy from you or not. When 94% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchase decision, it’s time to take back your power to build your own online reputation by publishing content you authentically create yourself.
I was listening (as I always do) to Marcus Sheridan’s podcast about the future of content marketing. He evangelizes the idea that content, created by your employees and customers, sets your business apart from everyone else, especially when it comes to search results. Your business’ self-published stories win every time. Taking it one step further, it’s possible to use content marketing to improve your online reputation.
Like Marcus, I spend my days teaching dealerships and other businesses to capture the power of content marketing. I go through a brand discovery process that defines who my client is, why people buy from them, and who their ideal customers are. We create a solid content strategy that’s rolled out over the various social media platforms and their blog. Not all dealers see the value yet and that’s ok. It certainly leaves a lot more for the taking from those that do!
I recently wrote about what content marketing is why you need it. In that post, I outlined 5 topics that your business should be writing about:
- Cost/Price questions
- Problems/issues/concerns questions (“How to” falls in this category too)
- Vs/comparison questions (compare products and services both within your business and with competitors)
- “Best” questions (best and worst choices when purchasing)
- Review/opinion-based questions
This last one – Review questions – holds great value for your business because you can talk about your authentic customer’s opinions before anyone else does (positive or negative). I’ve spent my life managing car dealerships and contrary to the stereotype, there are literally thousands of happy, loyal customers who frequent the dealership. It’s just that those stories rarely get told. Negative experiences are going to happen and those customers who have them naturally want to share the info with others.
How can your business minimize its exposure when a negative review is published on 3rd party sites? Superior content strategy and well-positioned marketing. Here’s how it works:
- A prospect types in search, “Reviews for XYZ Motors.” The top results will certainly contain Google+Local and Yelp reviews. People search online all the time for negative reviews because they want to make sure they’re getting a good product and want to have a good experience.
- What happens now that your prospect or customer sees that you have some negative reviews on these 3rd party sites? They decide to click away and look for another company that has more positive reviews. At this point, I hear many dealers and other business owners say to me, “I hate Yelp” or “We’re screwed by people and we can’t do anything about it!” Does this sound familiar to you? If so, read on.
How to stop allowing review sites to dictate your sales revenue
Create your own review engine with your blog. Use your valuable from-the-heart “Review” blog posts to push those online review sites to page two of search. Here’s what your posts would look and feel like:
- “The truth is we’ve sold and serviced thousands of vehicles and we’ve delivered some negative experiences. Here are some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past and here’s what we’ve done to correct them.”
- “We give our customers a list of references that they can contact. We want you to know that although we haven’t always been perfect, we’re always addressing the issues and getting better and better and better.”
- “We know you’d like to know everything about us and we’re happy to show you. Of course you’re smart enough to know that no dealership is perfect. Here’s how we stumbled and still lived to tell about it.”
- “We don’t mind sharing our missteps. We don’t always make them but when we do, we learn. This is what’s going to be the great gauge for you to pick which dealer is the best for you.”
The consumer will say WOW.
With your authentic approach, you’re not going to give someone else the opportunity to address any negative subject before you. If somebody ever types in “negative reviews for XYZ Motors”, your consistent, regular “Reviews” content will show up instead of Yelp’s or Google+Local or anyone else. Your going to capture the hill first! It’s simple, direct and it’s called being honest and transparent.
You know the questions consumers are asking. Stop allowing 3rd party review sites to dictate your sales revenue!
You can’t leave your business in the hands of other people. Some of the these review sites are run so poorly that competitors are writing negative reviews of your business. Use content marketing to improve your online reputation. Take control of your future, think like a consumer and address their questions before anyone else does.