Having a solid online reputation could be the difference between success and failure for any architecture firm these days.
Gone are the days when people asked friends or neighbors for recommendations for an architect, or when people would look for an architect in a phonebook.
When someone wants to hire an architect nowadays, the search usually starts online. And, when people find your architecture firm online, it’s critical that you’re able to make the right kind of first impression. Otherwise, they’ll move on to the next architect in the search results.
Online reputation management is all about managing what people see when they find your architecture firm online, and it’s an absolutely critical piece of marketing your business online.
Think about how many architects come up on Google when someone searches in your area. Chances are, you’ve got a lot of competition out there, and your ability to make the right kind of impression makes or breaks your ability to convince clients to choose you over your competition.
Understanding the importance of online reputation management is one thing, but actually knowing how to properly manage your online reputation is another. Today, I’ll be going over a few of the basics.
Basic Online Reputation Management Tips for Architecture Firms
#1. Get your business listed on the right sites.
Typically, the search for an architecture firm starts with a Google search, usually for something like “architect near me.” However, that’s just one of the many ways people could find your business online. There are also countless review sites and directories that they could find you on, but in order for that to happen, your business has to be listed on them.
Of course, you want to make sure that your business is listed on Google My Business, Facebook, and other popular sites, but there are several industry-specific sites that you’ll also want to be listed on. Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and Houzz come to mind as a few sites any architecture firm should be listed on.
Once your site is listed on appropriate review sites and directories, you’ll also want to ensure that you claim your listings. This will allow you to update information about your business on those listings.
#2. Ensure that your contact information is the same across listings.
You’ll want to claim and manage your listings on your most valued sites and directories, but there’s a strong possibility that your business is actually listed on many more. And, because you never know how someone might find your business, it’s important to make sure that your contact information is accurate on all of them.
Another reason why this is important is that, any discrepancies in your contact information, like your address, phone number, etc., can negatively impact how your website ranks in the SERP (search engine results pages). It also creates a poor experience for users when they can’t get ahold of you because an outdated phone number or address is listed, which can create distrust in your brand.
You could go to each website and directory your business is listed on one at a time to update your contact information, but who has the time for that? A much easier way to go about this is by utilizing Local Listing Ads® from Marketing 360®, which makes it easy to update more than 50 of the most popular listings across the web in just a few minutes.
#3. Earn more reviews for your business.
Regardless of whether someone finds your business on Google, Yelp, or Houzz, when they do, they’ll read your reviews in order to determine whether or not they want to work with you. People place so much stock in reviews that most trust them just as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend or family member.
However, in order for people to read reviews to learn more about your business, you need to have them in the first place! If you don’t have very many reviews currently, or if your reviews aren’t current, it’s absolutely affecting how people view your business and could be hurting your ability to gain new clients.
The importance of having reviews — current reviews that is — can’t be overstated. Almost nothing is more important to your business’ online reputation than having reviews, and every architecture firm could benefit from making it a point to earn more of them. How do you earn more reviews? The simplest way is just to ask!
#4. Respond to your reviews.
If you’re like most architects, you’ll probably find that most of your clients won’t leave reviews on their own but are more than happy to when you ask. And, if you ask your clients for a review, and they take the time to write one, it’s in your best interest to respond. That’s true whether the review is five stars or one star.
When you respond to your positive, five-star reviews (which will hopefully be most of them), it demonstrates to your clients how thankful you are that they took time out of their day to write the review. It also shows that you listen to their feedback and take it seriously.
But, where you can make the most impact by responding is with your negative reviews. A response to a negative review can be an incredibly powerful thing — so powerful, in fact, that it could turn an unhappy client into a client for life. However, you have to get it right, which means apologizing, owning up to your mistakes, showing the reviewer that you’re listening to their feedback, and showing the reviewer how you’re using their feedback to get better.
These days, having a solid online reputation is not optional for most architecture firms. And, if you want to make the right first impression online, a great place to start is by claiming your Top Rated Local listing! Get started today!