But digital marketing goes beyond SEO — and SEO requires a lot more than knowing your relevant keywords. Ranking algorithms take many factors into consideration, and require you to optimize myriad facets of your digital footprint, including your business listings, online reviews and social media channels.
And that’s no small task. Keeping listings data accurate, monitoring and managing online reviews, and engaging on social media with targeted, local ads and ongoing commentary is complicated and time-consuming. Each of your locations must be fairly represented, promoted and active on a variety of review sites, social channels and search engines — from Facebook and Google to the long tail of industry-specific sites.
As you open locations, the number of sites to manage expands exponentially — and your lean marketing team may not be able to keep pace with all the key activities that ensure your online reputation is solid. If this scenario sounds familiar, you may consider outsourcing parts of your digital marketing execution to a managed services provider who specializes in Online Reputation Management (ORM).
Here are three areas of ORM to consider offloading to a provider:
Business Listings Management
According to Google, consumers are 38% more likely to visit businesses with complete listings. Ensuring your business listings are accurate for all sites across the web requires regular audits and updates — and that’s after you claim all your listings, which, in itself, is a slow, arduous process. Say you have 20 locations, each with a business listing on 4 sites. That’s 80 listings to find, claim and maintain. The more locations you add, the higher that number climbs.
What are the dangers of inaccurate business listings? A bad customer experience and lost business. If people can’t find you, can’t call you or don’t know your hours, they’re likely to do business with a competitor instead.
A managed services provider can claim your listings on all relevant sites and verify they’re up to date and accurate with regular, reliable and comprehensive audits. This takes the legwork off your hands and frees you to focus on marketing strategy for new and existing locations.
Online Review Response Management
Leaving online reviews about your business unanswered can leave consumers wondering if you’re even paying attention to feedback — and questioning your commitment to customer experience. That’s why monitoring and responding to online reviews is a critical aspect of your digital marketing strategy.
But if your 20 locations are getting even two reviews a day on four different sites, you’ll need a full-time employee to keep up with the volume of responses. And if your locations are handling reviews on their own, someone has to ensure that all reviews are answered in a timely manner, and that responses are appropriate and comply with corporate policy.
A managed services provider can work with you to develop response templates that meet corporate guidelines, and monitor and respond to customer feedback at all locations, on your organization’s behalf. They can escalate issues and negative reviews, routing them to the appropriate stakeholders within your company to ensure rapid resolution, reducing customer attrition as well as the risk of additional negative reviews or social banter. According to Corra Group, 89.7% of consumers would give companies a second chance before giving up on them for good. In other words, it pays to engage.
Social Media Management
Today’s consumer is online — all the time. In fact, adults in the U.S. spend nearly six hours per day consuming digital media. If you fail to engage in the conversation happening about your business on social media, consumers will decide on the tone and direction of it, and your brand perception will be out of your control. Consider the devastating effect of a viral post to even the largest, most established brands — companies such as United Airlines, Uber and Adidas have all felt the pain.
But social listening across all channels for all locations is impossible for companies that don’t have dedicated social media manager or team. An effective social strategy requires posting locally relevant content across all locations’ channels, running targeted advertising and responding to comments. A managed services provider can do all this, plus ensure a mix of industry, brand-related and local content. They can also provide analytics and reporting to measure and track customer sentiment across channels.
Outsource for Bigger Impact
If the thought of outsourcing time-consuming, repetitive yet essential digital marketing tasks appeals to you, consider the impact you’ll have by leveraging a third-party resource with skills and experience you may not have in-house. Typically, managed services providers hand-pick talent based on their experience in digital marketing, and they’ve likely helped many other businesses establish their online presence.
Look for a provider that offers dedicated account managers, and leverages an integrated platform with deep analytics and reporting features. Choosing a provider that can manage all aspects of your online reputation with a unified platform will not only eliminate the cost of managing piecemeal point solutions, but help you get a more accurate picture of customer sentiment across the web.
Moreover, you’ll benefit from having a single source of truth for data from business listings, online reviews content, social media and other sources — making ongoing management easier, more efficient and cost-effective.