Have you ever heard the expression, “From your lips to my ears”? Now-a-days, that saying has really morphed into, “From your fingers to my eyes”. The Internet has connected us all in a way that we have never been connected before, and word of mouth advertising has taken on a whole new meaning. 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions (AdWeek). The online era has created endless possibilities for sharing customer experiences about a business; however, only 33% of businesses are actively seeking and collecting reviews (iMPACT). Are you utilizing the most powerful from of advertising, word of mouth, and actively seeking business reviews?
90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Search Engine Land). If you are within the 1/3 of businesses who are not collecting and asking for online reviews, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Online reviews and business listing management allow your customers to do the advertising for you and to drive other potential customers to your door (virtual and physical).
When a consumer uses a review platform like Yelp or Google My Business, the decision and urgency to buy are exactly what prompted the person’s search. If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re actively looking to spend money (Forbes). Talk about the perfect opportunity to “close the sale”. These consumers are right at your virtual doorstep, ready to make the purchase, and all they need is that final push to get them through the door. Word of mouth (business reviews) is likely the thing that they need to ensure they become your customer. They need to know that others have had real-life positive experiences with your business, so they can feel comfort in making their decision.
Word of mouth advertising, or as we like to call it, “word of mouse”, catapults your business’s online presence and helps to build brand loyalty and brand trust. When people can read what other people are saying about your business, they are more likely to do business with you. In fact, 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews and believe other consumers opinions (even strangers) (HubSpot). Business reviews help to create a buzz about your business and get you known, helping you to build your customer base, essentially for free… all you have to do is ask.
We think this goes without saying, but with word of mouse being at everyone’s fingertips these days, creating a positive experience for your customers to warrant positive reviews, is more important than ever. 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative reviews and 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review (invesp). Simply having reviews will not cut it. Your business needs an abundance of positive reviews based on consumers’ experiences with you. While we all know the occasional negative review may be provided, and no one wants that, do not avoid reviews all together just to keep out anything bad. The good reviews your business has will overpower the bad. Consumers are smart and know that sometimes things happen to lead to a negative review (i.e. item out of stock, false reviews, one bad experience, etc.). If your business has a 4-star rating or higher, over 90% of consumers will visit your local business without hesitation.
We’ve talked about it before, reviews should be conversational. As a business it is not only about collecting reviews and using them to gain new business, it is also about connecting to your consumers and having a conversation with them. Business responses to reviews are just as important as the actual review itself. You are asking your customers to do something for you, and you need to show them that you are willing to give back to them.
Millions of people are creating online reviews every single day and only a fraction of businesses are taking advantage of this form of advertising and brand awareness. There is a huge opportunity with the most powerful from of advertising, word of mouth, and actively seeking business reviews. Is your business on point with collecting business reviews? Are you asking your customers for their feedback online? If not, you are missing a very valuable, maybe the most valuable, way to advertise online.
At Water Bear Marketing we work with our customers to help them manage their business listings, ask for and manage reviews, and create a strategy to help them have a strong positive online reputation. Contact us today to discuss your word of mouse strategy. Start taking advantage of word of mouth advertising by collecting and properly managing online reviews for your business.