When was the last time you checked your brand rankings on search engines? Do you know how visible your brand is to your target group of customers? What is your online reputation? Why is a good online visibility even important?
Hello? Are you there?
In the digital age your brand represents not only your corporate identity but also value. Value can mean many things but two of the most important questions you need to ask is ‘What problem do we solve for our customers?’ and ‘HOW do we do it?’. If your products or services don’t offer much value, you need to do a better job in marketing because people will probably not be talking about your brand online. Or they might even talk about your brand in a negative manner meaning your online reputation is BAD. You can get a picture about what people think about your brand by doing a reputation analysis.
On the other hand, if you offer good products or services that people really enjoy, your customers might become promoters of your brand. Promoters are people that recommend your brand to people in their network but are not related to your company in any way. They are marketing your brand free of charge and this kind of social proof is very valuable because recommendations from people who have already tried the product or service are much more trustworthy. This is something that every company should strive for. To get promoters there are several check boxes that need to be ticked.
- Your company needs to offer high quality products or services
- Your offer must not be too expensive
- A good reputation and
- High online visibility
By offering high quality products or services at low cost gives the customer much value and the chances for getting promoters increase. A high price can also give much value but decreases the chances of getting promoters. A good brand reputation increases the possibility of people promoting your brand because people in general are reluctant to recommend a company that has a bad reputation. A high online visibility increases your chances of getting promoters. Less known brands can of course also get promoters but that requires high quality products or services. Less known brands can also get promoters if the price is low, but if the quality is less than acceptable these promoters tend to stop promoting the brand rather quickly.
Why is good online visibility important?
High online visibility is not just advertising and in-your-face-banners but accounts more importantly for showing up where customers are looking for you or expect to find you. That includes search engines, forums, Youtube and rating sites.
Rating sites are extremely important from a reputation perspective because of the immense social proof it carries. The behavior of customers have changed a lot in the past decade as people have learned to do better research about things they want to buy. By sharing their thoughts and experiences on rating sites they can either promote a brand or in worst case, help kill a brands reputation. And that can happen very fast.
Youtube is a place where people can upload videos of almost anything. When was the last time you checked Youtube for videos regarding your brand? Or your competitors brands? Today it is very easy to create professional looking videos and upload them to video sites, thus adding to your brand value.
The right kind of commercial can get high share volumes and that is an important part of your online branding, but with almost everyone carrying a camera comes the flip side of the coin namely the fact that incidents can be recorded and used against your brand. For example, United Airlines suffered a huge drop in sales after video clips was shared on social media showing a chinese doctor being thrown off one of their flights, bleeding from his face.
Forums are good places to learn what people are talking about and what they think is good or bad with certain products or companies. You can learn what competitors are doing right and what customers think about your service and after sales support.
Forums also allows you as a brand representative to interact with customers which is a huge advantage. In forums you can have discussions about the issues of a product for example and assure customers that you are working to fix potential problems. This is one way to change the minds of customers who might otherwise hurt your brand and reputation. It also shows that the company has a professional and service minded staff.
The last and in my opinion the most important thing about online visibility is search engine rankings. The reason for this has to do with the mental state of individuals who are searching. They are looking for something which makes them interested in finding what they are looking for.
This turns the brain on high alert which makes them more suggestive for input. When someone searches for something he/she is looking for and your brand name pops up in their face, they will more likely make the connection with what they were looking for and your brand.
New pathways in the brain are created this way and when making these types of connections repeatedly, the individuals neurological pathways are strengthened and the individual will associate the brands with the searched for artifacts. Therefore, search engines are a big and important part of your brands online visibility.
This article scratches the surface of online visibility and reputation. The purpose is to let you as a representative for your brand understand the importance of good online visibility and reputation, and also understand the consequences of customers online behavior, both good and bad.
Online shoppers today have the power to either make or break a brand, so the tables have turned from when the companies told people what to buy into a new situation where customers tell the companies what they are doing right and wrong. And the companies better listen because if they don’t, dissatisfied customers might send the brand to oblivion.