Own a restaurant or a retail shop and want to promote it? What should you do? Rely on the more traditional marketing like TV advertisements or print pamphlets or posters? Or better yet, GO DIGITAL?
With more than 3.2 billion people with internet access and 2.32 billion with a smartphone worldwide today (Statista, 2017), should you welcome the digital age and adapt to digital marketing strategies like website development, mobile app development, social media or search engine optimization (SEO)?
There are so many other digital strategies but I’d especially like to talk about the effects of reviews and ratings and the marketing implications for them.
Unlike traditional TV or print ads where a space for feedbacks or opinions are limited, the internet has provided an infinite space for consumers to openly and/or anonymously voice their opinions without much liability. Allowing everyone to share and access knowledge freely.
In fact, according to 2016’s Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Bright Local:
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to
- 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
Of course, with or without such findings, it is obvious that positive reviews and ratings will increase word-of-mouth (WOM) and drive businesses. Personally, I rarely visit any restaurants or retail shops without checking on Zomato or Facebook first. The questions for business owners are, should you register your business on review sites as part of your strategies in the first place and most importantly, how can you utilize these platforms to your advantage?
Well, first of all, as long as you’re trying your best in providing good products or services and you’ve got nothing to hide, my opinion is definitely yes!
Registering your business on review sites or opening a Facebook page will give your potential consumers a sense of security and honesty. You are also in control in terms of providing the most accurate information for your business, such as menus, operation times or product photos that are taken professionally. And chances are, even if you don’t register on review sites personally, others may informally do it for you. So why not?
As for utilizing these platforms to your advantage, don’t hesitate and kindly ask your consumers to leave you a review! Of course, do not force or bribe them to leave only positive reviews. Chances are, if you’ve provided a good experience, consumers will help you out. But only do so once in a while because you don’t want too many reviews in a short span of time, that may appear suspicious and not trustworthy!
While there’s a chance that you’ll get negative reviews, it’s always a learning opportunity to improve your business. Overall, I think the advantages of online review platforms outweigh the disadvantages such as lack of control for bad reviews.
How about you? Are you a frequent online review reader? Do you agree with me that businesses should go digital and register on review sites? If not, why? Share your thoughts!