Consumers in the past turned primarily to local advertisements on the radio, television, and in the Yellow pages for a list of local businesses offering the needed service. Increasingly, those same potential customers are turning to Internet search engines. The reason for the change is easy to understand. They can find the list of local businesses, reviews for those businesses, detailed maps, downloadable driving directions, and links to business websites that outline services or products.
Consumers obviously win by having all this information at the push of a few buttons, but what about businesses? Internet marketing and advertising campaigns are very different from past campaigns, and they require a level of expertise with Internet tools. These include webpage design, SEO content creation, and review management.
There are two basic steps essential for success in the information-based economy. Businesses must ensure visibility on search engines and maps. They must also ensure the visibility is as positive as possible. Appearance on the list of local businesses offers unique possibilities for driving more traffic to local business. Customers from outside the region are drawn to local business instead of relying on big box stores. Locals are informed of businesses they may have otherwise overlooked. Patrons of competitors can be attracted by well-advertised special deals and events. However, there are also has a number of pitfalls.
## Managing Online Risks
Two factors determine whether a customer even bothers to look at the website for a particular business. Does it appear on the front page of search results? Does it have negative reviews? The first issues is dealt with primarily by creating and updating the site regularly with SEO text. The second problem is why ReputationDefender created the tools for online reputation management. Appearance in the list of local businesses is not enough. Reputation is a critical factor.