Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations
Long before Yelp and Angie’s List, word of mouth marketing (WOMM) was still the most powerful tool. Now it’s taken two forms: offline, i.e., face-to-face communication and now online, through blog mentions, review sites and social media.
The findings from the Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal have revealed how the latter has taken stride in recent years. Engagement on review sites is up, but the majority of consumers are not satisfied until they have read up to 10 online reviews for a local business. However, these consumers still have trust issues when it comes to online reviews that can be easily manipulated or faked. That’s why offline WOMM is still important to incorporate into your marketing strategy.
The other finding that stood out was the equal importance of quality and quantity. Positive reviews inspire trust, but consumers are becoming more and more savvy and therefore, more likely to be able to sniff out inauthentic reviews. Sure, the number of stars is important, but if a user scrolls down to find a bunch of 5-star reviews with 2-3 sentence descriptions of their experience, they will most likely not trust the comments.
Reputation management is an ongoing process. Reviews must be fresh to inspire trust. Trust brings in customers, which then brings in revenue. If your most recent review is more than a month or two old, it may turn a customer away. You must always be encouraging your customers to write about their experience!