Let’s pretend that you own Johnny’s Auto Repair in Anytown, Missouri. Let’s also pretend that you advertise like crazy on radio and TV, in newspapers and magazines, and even online. You drive hundreds of people a week to your auto repair shop. Things couldn’t be better, right?
Wrong. What if your repair shop was surrounded by people walking up and down the sidewalks all around your building carrying picket signs that say “Johnny’s Auto Repair Sucks!” What if they were yelling “Johnny ripped us off” through bullhorns that were so loud you couldn’t even think clearly? What if they did it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and you couldn’t make them leave?
You would have a HUGE problem. MORE advertising wouldn’t solve it, because even though it could get people to come TO your auto repair center, it probably couldn’t get them to come IN because of all of those protesters walking the streets.
Well, this kind of thing happens online every day. It might even be happening to you right now. It could happen to you in the future. The worst part is that the “protesters” online (i.e., the people who write bad reviews and try to damage your reputation online) could be relatives or friends of your competitors who are intentionally trying to smear you. Or maybe your staff did make an honest mistake and tried to fix it, but the customer was just impossible to please no matter what you did.
In any case, if people type your company name, product name, or service name into search engines and the first page of results features “haters” calling you out (justified or not) and telling people to BEWARE of your company in big, bold ALL CAPS (which is how they often act when they’re mad), then your prospects will notice it.
They will notice it when they go online to find your location, phone number, or hours of operation. They will notice it when they go to look for reviews of your company, products, or services. They will look you up on their mobile device while they’re standing in front of your service desk, especially if the estimate is an expensive one.
As long as the “haters” have a place on the first page of search results for your company name and location, products, or services, you’ve got a BIG problem.
Since approximately 9 out of 10 people never look past page one on a search, if you put out content that bumps the “haters” to the second page of search results, you have MINIMIZED POTENTIAL DAMAGE by nearly 90%.
If your auto repair shop made $1,000 from each transmission you repaired, how many of those opportunities would you lose each month because the online “haters” scared away your best prospects? How many would you lose each year, and how many years would you lose those opportunities until you decided to do something about it?
That’s just transmission jobs. Want to add up how much you would lose on brake jobs, radiator jobs, starter jobs, oil changes, electrical system repairs, and so on?
First of all, it’s a GREAT idea to buy a URL with your name on it. It’s also a GOOD idea to buy another one with your name and town included. At a minimum, it might not hurt to get some sites put up that have some basic information about what you offer, hours of service, and locations, and maybe add a blog that you update once a month with tips and helpful ideas.
If you don’t want to add the expense of creating and maintaining more websites, hold on to your URLs because you might need them later, and go with a video strategy that is easier, faster, and more inexpensive (and often works just as well if not better if you do it right). To protect against “haters” in the future or to push down and bury the “haters” that are already there, put out YouTube videos that have been titled, tagged, scripted, and described properly.