Does your business need to protect, tidy up and build a professional online reputation? In this short video we examine three ways to optimize your business’s online reputation.

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These days, having a good online reputation is more important than ever for small businesses. In fact, in a recent survey, 90% of customers said that what they decide to buy is influenced by positive online reviews. So what can you do to make your online reputation as strong as possible? Here are three tips. Having positive reviews is the best way to attract new customers to your business. Encourage current customers to leave reviews by adding a message to your website, email signature, or storefront. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely a potential customer will want to give your business a try. Of course, sometimes negative comments are unavoidable. But there are ways to limit the damage to your online reputation. When someone criticizes your business online, the best way to respond is by calmly addressing the complaint and seeing if there is anything you can do to remedy the situation. Consider taking the conversation offline if the customer is upset, rather than engaging in a public back-and-forth. It’s never good to ignore negative feedback. People could interpret that to mean that you don’t listen to your customers. At the same time, responding with anger is a sure way to earn yourself a bad reputation. Another great way to boost your online reputation is by using customer testimonials. New customers are more likely to believe the words of others than anything that comes directly from you, so use that to your advantage. Interview a loyal customer and use their quotes on your website or marketing materials to highlight the best parts of your business. This can go a long way toward making new customers want to try your business. Managing your online reputation takes a lot of work, but it’s an essential part of running most businesses today. For more ideas to help make your business successful, visit Santander Business First at business hub dot Santander Bank dot com.   Economic cycles are difficult to predict, so it’s never too early for business owners – especially small business owners – to have a plan in place to deal with a potential downturn. Here are three challenges your business may face and what you can do to prepare for them. It’s common for financial institutions to adopt more stringent lending criteria during a recession, making it difficult for small business owners to access capital. That’s why you may want to secure extra capital before it’s needed. That way, you can reduce the likelihood of needing to ask for funding under less fortunate circumstances. During a recession, businesses may have less cash available as spending slows down or clients are slower to pay. To ensure that you have enough cash on hand to continue to meet payroll and other vital expenses, it’s a good idea to maintain excess cash reserves when planning for a recession. Make sure you have sufficient cash to cover your business needs. Many experts recommend having enough cash to cover three to six months of expenses. For a more accurate evaluation, speak with your accountant or financial adviser to determine the best course of action for your situation. Another potential issue that could come up is when a recession affects your suppliers and vendors. Other businesses that you rely on may have a difficult time weathering the recession – and could even go out of business – potentially creating a major disruption for your business. To prepare for this, consult with your current suppliers and vendors regarding their recession planning to make sure they are prepared as well. It might also be a good idea to research alternative vendors and suppliers in the event your current relationships are disrupted. Economic cycles are a part of doing business. To protect your interests, make sure you’re as prepared as possible for a potential recession. For more ideas to help make your business successful, visit Santander Business First at business hub dot Santander Bank dot com.

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