June 2013, Business Breakfast with Filip Matous.

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Convert Your Brand Reputation Into Sales.

Filip Matous of Evergreen Reputation was the speaker at June’s Like Minds Breakfast. After the unplanned nightclub chic of the previous month, when we met in the ME Hotel’s STK restaurant, it was good to be back in the light of the Radio Bar at the top of the ME Hotel.

Filip started by defining what he meant by reputation, which is one of those terms we all think we know well but struggle, sometimes, to pin down. For the purposes of this talk, Filip suggested we think of this equation: Reputation = search + results. In other words, in the digital age, your reputation consists of the search results returned when someone Googles you. This sees the traditional sense of reputation – what people say about you when you’re not in the room – taken to a global scale. The flip side of this is that reputation is becoming more than ever a great sales tool.

As an aside, Filip mentioned that when he first became involved in online reputation and searched for his own name, he was confronted by a full first page of results on Google for a gay porn star who shared the same name. This is no longer the case.

Everyone wants a reputation. Warren Buffet, for example, believes you can never have too much reputation. But when we come to try and define it, the term remains little more than a concept. How do you turn that vague concept into something tangible? Something you can measure?

To start with, Filip demonstrated his understanding of the cycle of reputation by means of a diagram that is reproduced here in rather more linear fashion: less of a cycle and more of a bicycle pump.

Reputation feeds Interest feeds Conversation feeds Business feeds Reputation. 

Repeat.

On the back of this, it is worth noting how often people look for company information by name. Not company name but by the name of someone who works there. This is one of the reasons that on a company site, the about pages should really have a page for each person and not be limited to a generic team page. To take this further down the road of conversion success, ensure that, when people search for a person by name and reach the site, you encourage conversation. In other words, make it easy for a site visitor to take the next action to get in touch with the person they want.

This is all well and good in theory, of course. It is vital to support any actions with measurement. Understand who is coming to the site and where they’re coming from or what they’ve searched for. A great place to start with measurement is Google Analytics. It’s free and provides a huge range of data and reports. Use it to track searches and traffic sources. Better still, set up goal within the analytics to check your contact page hits and how that translates into conversions.

Filip identified a number of such technical tactics for measuring reputation and its effect on sales. (I asked Filip in a video interview afterwards about this aspect of managing the results of reputation; suggesting that for many small businesses or entrepreneurs, this effort was beyond them. Filip wasn’t having it: he told me that setting up a basic way to measure what’s happening to sales because of reputation is a day’s effort at most. It’s something valuable to do and valuable enough to do yourself. After all, it’s a key part of the sales process and, consequently, vital for business success. That was me told.)

Traffic analysis will provide lots of data but it’s important not to get hung up on the wrong data or to be swayed by the big numbers. A large number of visits to the site can be good but if a large number of visits is not converting to a large number of sales or leads, there is a problem that needs to be uncovered.

The only reason to measure data, of course, is to use the results to take action.

Next, Filip related reputation to the AIDA process for sales (with the recommendation to watch the clip from Glengarry/Glen Ross with Alec Baldwin explaining it.) Here’s the clip but be warned; this is a David Mamet script, so it’s not for the faint of vocabulary.

Attention: social, white papers, advertising (this is where you build reputation)

Interest: UX, content (reinforcing the reputation and driving the conversation)

Decision: contact (I’m ready to buy)

Action: email or phone (let’s do it)

For the final part of his talk, rather than conduct a more formal Q&A session, Filip asked for some real life business issues from among the audience that he could use to walk through a live application of the tools and tactics he had introduced. The issues that dominated these discussions were around measurement and the difficulties of tracking delayed conversion (where the contact may not follow directly from a visit to the contact page, for instance) and also around how to build reputation in a traditionally conservative market where digital is currently underused. It is quite astonishing, in many ways, that so many businesses are still either reticent about using digital tools for success or remain unaware of the possibilities of data capture and analysis for providing a vital source for making business decisions.

Post-talk networking ensued, with a plentiful supply of pastries and coffee to be consumed. There were also copies of “Hit Me!” for all attendees. Finally, we tore Filip away from a conversation and out onto the Radio Bar terrace for the interview that you’ll be able to see soon up on the Like Minds site.

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