It happens all the time: The hard-working crew at a small business loses customers thanks to the sour grapes of one person.
It could be a disgruntled employee, an angry customer or even a competitor, says V. Michael Santoro, coauthor with John S. Rizzo of Niche Dominance: Creating Order Out of Your Digital Marketing Chaos (www.NicheDominance.com).
"Anyone can post a bad review online and hurt your business," says Santoro, who is a managing partner with Rizzo of Globe On-Demand, an internet technology company. "Unfortunately, most business owners are not even aware that these bad reviews are out there."
Seventy-two percent of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 70 percent trust consumer opinions posted online, according to a recent Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey.
"A bad review published in a newspaper, or broadcast on radio or TV, is short-lived, but a bad review posted online can live indefinitely," says Rizzo. "With consumers now researching an average of 10 reviews before making a buying decision, and 70 percent trusting a business that has a minimum of six reviews posted, business owners need to be proactive in developing their online reputation. You need several positive reviews."
John S. Rizzo obtained his bachelor's in business administration and spent three years as a consultant for Amazon.com's publishing group. He has assisted several businesses with digital marketing strategy and has served in leadership positions for multiple initiatives for the Charleston, S.C.-Area Chamber of Commerce.
V. Michael Santoro has more than 10 years in the digital marketing field. His prior experience includes international senior marketing positions in technology fields. Santoro was an adjunct professor with the computer science department of Western Connecticut State University.