What so many local businesses do not realize is that one of the foundation stones of any strategy to attract customers that are searching for their product and services online, is to ensure that their reputation online will support their optimization efforts.
It is well known that the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. The internet, through the display of reviews and review scores actually goes one better. While word-of-mouth advertising is very effective, it is a one-on-one transaction. In other words, the satisfied customer shares the experience with one potential customer at a time.
It is important to note that this goes both ways – the unhappy customer also has the ability to share the unhappy experience with whoever sees their review.
The graph below indicates the level of trust the consumer has in the various forms of advertising.
The advent of the Internet has placed the power firmly in the hands of the consumer. No longer is the salesman able to baffle the customer with science or their superior knowledge.
The resources available to customers today allow them the ability to do extensive research before approaching the business about their product or service. Part of this research will be going through reviews.
A 2015 Local Consumer Review survey published the following stats:
- 92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
- 97% of ages 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business
One thing is certain – the above percentages are not going to go down!
Research done by Bright Local indicate that:
- 70% of consumers only trust a business that has 6 or more positive reviews.
- On average a consumer will look up 10 reviews before making a decision.
Therefore, in closing, an internet marketing plan must include Reputation Marketing as an integral part of the plan. Without this the business will not have enough credibility to achieve the desired results.