In today’s cutthroat business environment, reputation is everything.
No matter whether you operate exclusively online or run a brick and mortar business, potential customers are more than willing to do their due diligence before making a single purchase.
This sort of scrutiny begs the question: what sort of impression is your business making?
Highlighted below are six elements of your business’s presence both offline and off that could ultimately impact your reputation. Understanding these pitfalls could be true game-changers when it comes to winning new customers.
Failure to Stay Compliant
Among the many factors that could make or break your business, regulatory compliance remains at the top of the list regardless of your industry. The experts at Reciprocity Labs put it rather bluntly: “non-compliance looks bad period.”
Think about it. Failure to secure customer data or meet audit requirements could not only raise questions about the quality of your service but could also incentivize someone to bounce to a competitor. Remember: compliance is an industry-wide concern that goes beyond your own customer base.
High Turnover Rates
In today’s era of digital transparency, companies today have a tough time hiding both their hiring practices and if their employees actually want to be there. Sites like Glassdoor provide an anonymous sounding board for satisfied and disengaged employees alike, cluing the public in on whether or not your company’s policies are up to snuff.
Businesses obviously want to avoid high turnover for their own sakes, but consider how constantly cycling through employees appears to outsiders looking in. Ask yourself: would you want to do business with someone who doesn’t seem to treat their workers properly?
Nasty Comments from Satisfied Customers
Speaking of transparency, dealing with negative feedback has become an expectation of today’s businesses given the wealth of ratings and review sites out there. Not only are we talking about legitimate complaints from customers, but also potential trolls and competitors trying to bring your business down.
Handling such feedback with grace is a smart first step, as is closely monitoring your business’ mentions online. By consistently creating your own content and scoring positive media mentions, you can effectively drown out the noise and create your own good press. That said, the fewer complaints you have out in the open, the better.
An Inconsistent Online Presence
Although any given business’s online presence has tons of moving pieces, you can’t afford to let any of them gather cobwebs.
Think about it. An inactive company blog or social feed isn’t good luck, signaling that you’re potentially neglecting pieces of your marketing on a whim.
Inconsistency although applies to brand and products, too. For example, you can’t constantly switch up your deals or design to the point where what you offer becomes unrecognizable from one week to the next.
As a rule of them, make a point to stick to certain aspects of your marketing and then commit to them. In short, don’t make the mistake of hyping up campaigns you can’t realistically keep up with. Doing so is a lose-lose as you spread yourself thin and look amateurish in the eyes of your audience.
Pettiness When Dealing with Competitors
Mentioning competitors by name is a hotly debated tactic for businesses in today’s call-out culture. While it can work out in some cases (think: Pepsi versus Coke), it can be akin to playing with fire for a business who do it without tact. Sometimes calling out your competition can feel like a petty attention grab, which could be potential poison for your brand at large.
Lack of Link-Building Power
Perhaps it’s not totally “fair” to judge a business based on its SEO presence.
Even so, just know that any business is just a Google search away from prospective customers.
If someone finds little more than your social profiles and website with no other feedback or shout-outs from others in your industry, you might have a problem. Positive PR and earned media (think: blog mentions) aren’t just powerful tools for link-building: they also serve as concrete proof that you’re a legitimate business.
Make a point to have some linkable assets to grow your name in the blogosphere for that ever-so-important link juice. The time to outsource some pillar posts and perform link-building outreach might take some time and energy now, but it’s worthwhile in the long-run if you’re smart about it.
The points above provide a comprehensive checklist of what not to do if you want to succeed in business for the long-term. While some of these snafus might be bigger than others, avoiding these sorts of “bad looks” ultimately spells good news as your company is as inviting to new customers as it can possibly be.