Online Reviews: The New Word-of-Mouth
Consumers control the new age of marketing. They are better informed than ever, thus it is more important than ever to harness the power of review sites in your marketing strategy. The majority of customers read online reviews before deciding on a purchase and if you’re not listing your business on review sites, then you might as well be leaving money on the table.
If you’ve ever made an online purchase, and you probably have, you’ve encountered online reviews. Whether you’ve relied on guest reviews on TripAdvisor when booking a hotel or found yourself consumed in rants on Yelp, we can’t deny the fact that reviews are an important part of today’s consumer culture.
Why Are Online Reviews Important?
Customer reviews are your online word-of-mouth marketing. 90% of customers read online reviews and 85% of those trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
In addition to building trust with consumers, online reviews can have a favorable impact on your organic search rankings on search engines like Google. How? If you’re receiving a significant number of positive reviews on multiple review platforms, you stand a better chance of being found (clicked on) in local search results.
While positive online reviews can have an immediate, beneficial impact on your business, it’s important to note that a whopping 86% of consumers will decide against buying a product or enlist in a service if they read negative reviews. Negative reviews are inevitable, but if you respond quickly and efficiently, and resolve the issue, a negative review can turn into a potentially positive experience.
Online Review Management Strategy
- Claim your page on all review sites relevant to your business and ensure the content is interesting and pertinent to your customers.
- Track reviews by signing up for notifications and/or Google Alerts.
- Encourage positive reviews with a link on your website, an email marketing campaign, via social media, or simply ask your customers!
- Respond to every review and be proactive in engaging with customers. Treat every review as an opportunity.
- Don’t be afraid of the negative. Leverage these reviews for a clearer understanding of the customer experience and solve the issues noted.
The reality for brands is this: word of mouth happens online and by encouraging positive conversation about your brand, you can effectively improve your marketing efforts.