As consumers become more distrustful of traditional marketing and advertising, they have turned to online reviews to gauge whether a business can meet, or even exceed their expectations.
Enter: the age of the Review Economy. Online reviews are everywhere, from Amazon to Uber. Research from Northwestern University reports that an overwhelming majority (95%) of shoppers use online reviews before making a purchasing decision.
Consumers embrace online reviews for good reason: reviews aid them by providing them with transparent information about your business. And, importantly, online reviews help your business by giving you a deep insight into what makes your consumer base tick.
If you’re not utilising online reviews to their full advantage, you’re missing out on increased sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty. What’s more, you’re ignoring the most important factor that drives business success: the voice of your consumer.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is the practice of optimising your website and brand-related content (like online reviews hosted on platforms like Hellopeter) to make it as easy as possible for search engines and your consumers to find.
It’s important to remember that search engines not only take the content you post into account but also “listen” to what people are saying about your brand too. When you engage with online reviews, you boost the visibility of your business, making it easier for potential consumers to find out about your brand.
Instead of having to write branded content yourself – an exercise requiring time and money – online reviews are written by your consumers. This provides you with an affordable, yet powerful form of marketing.
Read our blog to learn why SEO is a crucial marketing consideration.
Consumers shy away from any business that toots its own horn. Instead, they look for brands that have been vetted by their online peers.
84% of consumers trust online reviews, just as much as they trust their close friends or family, reports Inc.com. Instead of having to take your word for it, potential consumers are able to rely on honest feedback from past customers.
Online reviews not only help potential customers to find your business, they provide you with real, honest feedback from the people who’ve bought your product or service.
For example, if existing customers are delighted with your product, but are frustrated with your turnaround time, you’ll be able to work on delivering your services more efficiently. In the same vein, if you see your consumers are happy with your product but are unhappy with your customer service, you’ll know that you need to improve it.
This means you can keep up to date with your consumer behaviour, and make sure your business is meeting their demands or needs.
Wikipedia defines social proof as “a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour in a given situation.”
For example, if you see 50 of your friends have commented on a link on Facebook, you’re more likely to click on it. It’s the thought process of “If a whole lot of people say this is worth my time/ a good movie/ an excellent restaurant, then it must be true”.
It’s also one of the reasons why online reviews are so powerful: when a potential consumer reads a review and learns over 500 people have enjoyed their interaction with a brand, or are delighted with a recent purchase, they assume the business in question is worth their time and money.
The more online reviews your business has the more powerful the social proof. For example, if you’re looking for a curry recipe, and you find one that has five stars but only one review, versus another recipe that has 100 reviews but 4,5 stars, you’d probably choose the latter, as 100 people have tried and vetted the recipe, as opposed to just one person.
Online reviews are today’s most potent means of relaying social proof. It’s why online reviews are 12 x more trusted than product descriptions.
Reviews on Hellopeter have helped over one million consumers make better choices. Had an experience you’d like to tell us about? Leave us a review here.