Your Business May Be At Risk And You Do Not Know It
Your business may have an online presence and be at risk even if you do not have a website. I will explain a couple of the risk factors in this article.
Local Business Owners
Local business owners that don’t have a website may have a web presence without knowing it. If you have a business phone for your business, the phone company that provides the service has probably published your phone number in their online directory.
This phone directory listing will have your business name, address and phone number at the minimum. It may also include a map showing where your business is located and give your customers a chance leave a review about your business.
Search engines and other directories frequently pick up new listings from the phone companies and add these businesses to their directories.
This means that your business could potentially have hundreds of unclaimed listings on the Internet that allow people to leave reviews about your business. Since you don’t know that these listings exist, you have no way to respond to any negative reviews that are posted or to use the positive reviews in your marketing to grow your business.
Every unclaimed listing that allows consumer reviews is a potential risk point for your business. Each unclaimed listing that allows you to add a business description, photos, videos and your business hours is a missed opportunity to expand your authority in your marketplace.
Online Business Owners
Many online business owners start out as affiliate marketers that do not have a website that they own and control.
If you are one of these new online entrepreneurs, you need to learn what the governments rules are that regulate your business and then get these proper policies and documents in place as quickly as possible so you don’t wake up with a huge Federal surprise.
The Federal Trade Commission a.k.a. the FTC has very strict rules governing affiliate marketing and ignorance is not bliss in their eyes.
I’ve been teaching Internet marketing for about eight years and it still amazes me on how many established websites for both online and off-line businesses fail to comply with the guidelines set forth by the FTC.
If anyone goes to the FTC and files a complaint about your business, your business gets put under the microscope and the power that they have could put you out of business and into a world of hurt very quickly.
Depending upon the violation, the fines could range from a few hundred dollars per incident to well over six figures. The FTC also has the power to freeze some of your assets.
I am not a lawyer and I do not give legal advice but I know enough about Internet marketing and the FTC to know that business owners need to do everything within their power to protect their business by getting the correct policies in place.
Business owners that fail to take control of their online reputation are receiving a lower ROI on their advertising dollars if they have negative reviews online. If they are lucky enough to have positive reviews online and they are not capitalizing on them in their marketing, their ads are also less effective than they could be because they don’t have social proof to back up their advertising claims.
Do you have your business fully protected or is it one of the many that I see that is at risk?
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