Customers and businesses don’t want to work with brands that have a bad online reputation. Whether it’s negative reviews, bad press, or some type of scandal that hurt your company, you must take steps to fix your brand’s perception online.
The cost to clean up your brand’s bad online reputation depends on the source, severity, and initiatives you’re planning to take.
But if you follow the pro tips and tools recommended in this guide, you can leave that bad reputation in the past and move forward as a brand people can trust.
Top-Rated Online Reputation Management Companies to Clean Up Your Brand’s Bad Reputation
Cleaning up a bad online reputation is much easier when you seek professional help. The following online reputation management companies will use proven tactics to improve your brand’s reputation, and they’ll do it much faster than you could do on your own.
- WebiMax — Best for small businesses that need a hands-on solution
- NetReputation – Best for ultra-responsive customer support
- InternetReputation.com – Best for personal reputation management
- Reputation Defense Network — Best for permanently removing false content
- Podium — Best for getting reviews automatically
- SEO Image — Best for legal and medical practices
- Gadook — Best for rebranding after reputation attacks
- BirdEye — Best for getting Google and Facebook reviews
- Reputation.com — Best for knowing your competition’s reputation
- Go Fish Digital — Best for improving Yelp reviews
- Netmark.com — Best for hands-off, fast responses to reputation hits
You can read the full reviews of each online reputation management company here.
What is a Bad Online Reputation?
A poor online reputation can come from a wide range of different factors. It typically consists of bad customer reviews, brand mentions with a negative sentiment, bad press, fake or inaccurate reviews, and sometimes deliberate attacks against the business.
In some cases, a bad online reputation can come from a specific event that changes the way people see your business. It could be something like a credit card data breach or the brand’s CEO getting arrested.
All of these factors will be prevalent when a current or prospective customer searches for a brand online—the negative sentiment will be obvious in search engines and review sites.
The Basic Costs of Cleaning Up Your Brand’s Bad Online Reputation
These are core components of cleaning up your company’s online reputation. The costs of each will vary based on your approach.
The vast majority of consumers and business buyers read online reviews before making a purchase. This holds true for physical products, services, food, digital products—everything.
So if you have lots of bad online reviews across multiple review websites, this definitely needs to be a priority. Claiming your profiles on these platforms is free. This gives you a chance to respond to negative reviews and flag fake reviews for removal.
In extreme cases where a brand has hundreds or thousands of negative reviews, it’s worth paying an online reputation expert to handle those reviews on your behalf. These services typically start around $500 or $1,000 per month.
People won’t buy from your brand, and other companies won’t work with you if you appear untrustworthy online. Unfortunately, trust isn’t something that can just be bought.
Instead, you must take steps to clean up your website and online presence.
Eliminate pop-ups, ads, and clutter on your website. Make sure you’re using HTTPS and have an SSL certificate to secure the site. Put trust seals on your website and make sure it’s clear that your checkout process is safe, making visitors feel comfortable about entering credit card numbers and other personal information.
Most reputable web hosting providers offer free SSL certificates. Making minor website redesign changes shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars.
Social Media Presence
In today’s day and age, it’s strange if a brand can’t be found on social media. If a customer or prospect can’t find your profile or it looks like the profile is inactive, it’s a red flag.
First, you need to make sure that you have a social media profile on all major channels where your target audience spends time. This is 100% free.
Next, you must keep those profiles active and make an effort to post at least a few times per week. Engage with your followers, and make it clear that the business is running. Some people interpret social media silence as a sign that a business has closed.
All of these efforts are free unless you’re going to pay an agency to manage social channels on your behalf. Automated social posting tools and social listening tools typically range from $50 to $250 per month.
PR can be expensive if you’re working with a top-of-the-line firm. On the low end, retainers start around $2,000 per month. But some PR agencies charge upwards of $5,000 to $10,000 per month as a starting rate.
If this is out of your budget, you can consider trying to manage PR on your own. Platforms like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) connect journalists with businesses. So if you’re doing something good in the community or you’re sponsoring an event that seems newsworthy, you can use platforms like this as a way to build relationships with reporters.
Net Promoter Score
Net promoter score, better known as NPS, is a KPI that measures the willingness of your customers to recommend your brand’s products or services to others.
To calculate NPS, you’ll need to survey your customers asking how likely they’d recommend your business on a one-to-ten scale. Then take the percentage of promoters (nines and tens) and subject the percentage of detractors (zero through six) to get your NPS.
Survey software for businesses usually starts around $25 per month. But finding out this metric is crucial in determining whether your bad online reputation is affecting your current customer experience.
3 Tools to Improve Your Brand’s Reputation Online
These three tools will shorten the path to success as you’re trying to clean up your company’s bad online reputation.
#1 — WebiMax
WebiMax is one of the most trusted online reputation management companies on the market today. They offer a wide range of online reputation services and digital marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes with unique needs.
They can help you get more reviews, remove negative reviews, generate more leads, and holistically manage your online reputation. WebiMax has additional services for social media marketing, PPC marketing, local marketing, website design, and online public relations. Request a free proposal to get started.
#2 — NetReputation
NetReputation is an excellent solution for any business that needs help getting their online reputation back on track. They offer services to suppress negative results from search engine listings, making it much more challenging for people to see those results if they Google your business. They can even help remove certain results from search engines altogether.
Once NetReputation cleans up your bad brand image, you can continue using them for online reputation protection and monitoring. This will help you quickly resolve and stay on top of bad stories, poor reviews, and negative sentiment before things get out of control.
#3 — Gadook
If you think your bad online reputation is damaged beyond repair, Gadook can help. They specialize in brand building and re-branding services.
While these scenarios aren’t always as common, they can happen. In some instances, a complete rebrand will be the answer to your problems. So it’s best to go with an agency that specializes in these types of services since they’ve been through this process before and understand what works.
5 Pro Tips For Cleaning Up Your Brand’s Bad Online Reputation
You can start cleaning up your company’s bad online reputation today. These quick pro tips below are easy, require minimal effort, and you can start building momentum towards holistic reputation management.
Pro Tip #1 — Remove Negative Reviews and Encourage More Reviews
Online reviews aren’t permanent. Yelp, Google, and every major review platform have rules and guidelines that must be followed when it comes to reviews. So if a negative review violates any of those guidelines, you can flag them for removal.
Just pull up the review guidelines of whatever review site you’re on, and compare your negative reviews against those guidelines. Some should be fairly easy to spot. For example, reviews with profanity are usually easy to get removed.
For those of you who don’t want to do this on your own, you can use an online reputation management company to handle this initiative on your behalf. Since they do this stuff on a daily basis, they know exactly what to look for and how to get borderline reviews removed.
Simultaneously you should also be encouraging more reviews to drown out the negative ones. This is as simple as sending a link to review sites in email campaigns, delivery receipts, and post-purchase follow-ups.
Pro Tip #2 — Highlight the Positives
A quick way to improve your brand’s perception is by highlighting any positive news that you’re doing. You can even send stories to local and national news publications to try and get these stories picked up.
Fundraisers, charitable contributions, offering scholarships, sponsoring community events—all of these are positive actions that you can share about your business.
If you’re making an effort to use green energy or using recycled materials in your products, that’s worth mentioning. Maybe you have inclusive hiring practices or support programs to employ veterans. People love to hear these stories.
To be clear, I’m not saying that you should do any of these things strictly for the benefit of improving your reputation. Instead, I’m saying that you should highlight the good that you’re already doing or were planning to do.
Pro Tip #3 — Take Control of Your Online Content
You don’t have to wait for a reporter or blogger to say something positive about you. Say it about yourself!
Most businesses don’t realize this, but you have a say in what’s being said about you online. Use your existing platforms to put out content about your business that drowns out any negative stories or news.
Push out blogs, social posts, videos, emails, and anything else you can think of that sheds some positive light on your organization. Share photos and stories of your employees.
You can even create customer stories and case studies to highlight how your brand has helped other people and other businesses.
Pro Tip #4 — Clean Up Your Personal Reputation
Many times, something done by a business owner, manager, executive, or employee can have an adverse effect on an organization.
Maybe your VP of Marketing was arrested. Or Maybe your CEO was caught on video doing something stupid in public. These things happen.
If you fall into this category, there are certain reputation management companies out there that specialize in individual reputation cleanups. They can help with mugshot removals and other similar initiatives in this category. This will help ensure one person’s actions aren’t tainting your brand image.
Pro Tip #5 — Set Up Alerts For Brand Mentions
Fast action is the best way to be diligent when it comes to cleaning up and monitoring your brand’s reputation. A simple alert that notifies you when someone mentions your brand online can help you take control of a bad situation before it gets worse.
You can set these up for social mentions, review alerts, and even alerts for blogs and news stories.
If you’re working with an online reputation management company, they typically offer some type of alert system or dashboard with all your brand mentions. Alternatively, you can just use Google Alerts as a quick and free tool to help you out.
What to Do Next
Now that you’re on the way to cleaning up your brand’s bad reputation, it’s time to ensure you maintain that reputation for the future. Offering exceptional customer service is one of the best ways to approach this initiative. Check out our guide on the best customer service software to help you achieve this goal.
Another great way to build and maintain a positive online reputation is through your employees. If you treat them right, your staff can become your best brand advocates. There are some great employee engagement tools on the market to help you with this process.