OnlinereputationMaintaining a great online reputation is crucial to attracting new customers to your business. With 97% of U.S. Internet users gathering information prior to shopping online, it’s important that when they’re conducting research they come across your business and like what they see. However, these three mistakes from Marketing Profs could hurt your online reputation and send potential customers to your competitors.

Having an incomplete website: Many small businesses that conduct their business transactions in-store rather than online may not have website design and upkeep on their main priorities list. This is a mistake because although your potential customers may not purchase your product or service online, they are using the Internet to conduct research about your company. If they see a half-complete website or a site that lacks user-friendly or aesthetically pleasing design elements, they may decide to go with one of your competitors that updates their website often.

Firing back at a negative review: It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, you can’t make everyone happy. There is always a chance that someone will leave you a bad review. Although this review may be unfair, it’s important not to fire back and get defensive. If you do, you’ll look immature to other people viewing the review thread and you will probably make the angry customer angrier. Instead, respond with an apology and invite the customer to come back again for free or a discounted rate.

Expressing your opinion on controversial issues: Although social networks and blogs are full of people sharing their opinions, it’s not a good idea to share your personal opinion on your business page or blog and risk offending your customers online. Keep your posts professional and encourage opinion sharing, just don’t encourage discussing controversial topics that may upset some of your customers.