Marketing Today: What Shapes Customers’ View of Your Company? Your company’s reputation is on the line. That’s nothing new. Your reputation has always been on the line, but now your reputation is on the line 24/7/365 because your company is online. So what shapes your potential customers’ view of your company? The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) recently reported some interesting results. You can read the whole report here, but here are a few highlights. When asked what formed their opinion of a company, here’s how people responded: 88 percent said what people say (Word of mouth) 83 percent cited online reviews 81 percent indicated online search results 74 percent said a company’s website 49 percent mentioned social networks Other studies suggest that 65 percent of new business comes from referrals. Regardless of where it’s happening, what other people say about your company plays a huge role in how potential customers view your company. So how can you get people to say the right things? One way to do that is to provide customers and prospective customers with truly helpful information. You can do that on your website and through your blog. Don’t use those forums to sell—use them to educate. Provide people with information that solves a problem or answers a question. Here’s an example: Let’s say you (as a consumer) need a drill. You do an online search for drills and you find a blog from Drills.com that explains what kind of drill to use for what specific purposes. After reading the blog, you realize that Drills.com specializes in drills used for fine woodworking. And what you need is an impact drill for drilling into concrete. Maybe Drills.com even suggested in their blog that people looking for concrete drills should check out ConcreteDrills.com. How do you feel about Drills.com? You’re not going to buy anything from them because they don’t have what you need. Are you appreciative? Yes! You didn’t waste time and money buying the wrong drill. Their information was helpful. What will you do when a friend comes to you and tells you he needs a new drill for his woodworking shop? You’ll tell him to check out Drills.com because that’s what they specialize in—and because they helped you avoid getting the wrong tool. The point is, not all referrals and recommendations come from people who have used your products or services. Sometimes you get referrals simply because you establish yourself as an expert and you serve customers best interests instead of your own. Blog Post Written by Spencer Powell Spencer is the Inbound Marketing Director at TMR Direct. Spencer specializes in helping clients create and execute effective inbound marketing campaigns.