I recently signed on as the Sales Director for a start-up SEO Firm. My expertise is reputation management and I wanted to share my experiences about building our services from the ground up. Amazingly even in L.A. word of mouth marketing has worked very well for us. Just attending a few chamber of commerce events in the surrounding cities has been quite successful. And I have noticed a growing trend. Initially the calls coming in were the standard repair and management for small to mid-size companies such as night clubs, restaurants, law firms, accounting agencies and the like. However now I find myself inundated with preparing preliminary reputation audits for c-level executives, plastic surgeons, attorneys and accountants. I know this is nothing new but I didn’t expect the majority of our new reputation management business to be so heavily targeted from individuals. I really thought this would come later but word seems to get around town quickly. Even older executives are very interested in discussing RM. At first they don’t fully accept the idea but when I present them with an audit the look on their face let’s you know they now “get it.”
One particular instance was with an attorney who just so happened to have the exact same name as a convicted sex offender! Needless to say when I started the audit I had no where I was headed but this pales in comparison to his reaction once I presented my findings. He had absolutely no idea this guy existed but wanted to put as much distance between himself and the convict as possible. This of course got me to thinking, “What if you less than reputable family members that share your last name?” Obviously this could affect you. Even misspelled names that almost match up to yours or (more recently) one CPA in L.A. with an absolutely horrible online presence and another CPA with the exact same name whose firm is less than 20 miles from the other! The world’s a small place, much smaller now with social marketing; if you don’t take care of your good name no one will.
*Note to my potential reputation management clients.
I will only take you on as a client if you are in fact committed to bettering your online and offline business practices. If you’ve made mistakes and offended your clients I understand. We all drop the ball. But I will not put out the fires, engage your clients, post your press release, optimize your site or participate in your blogs if you intend on continuing shady business practices. Even the best and the brightest have their bad days but risking my reputation by lying about yours is something I will never do.