|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
The Persuasive Power of Opinion to Promote Your Business’ Offerings
The age of the internet has ushered in entirely new ways of spreading the word about your business: websites, blogs, social media… While the mechanics of promoting a business have changed, the underlying driving behavior remains the same. Marketing is communication; it’s an ongoing conversation between you and your customer base. Remember the age-old truth - people like to talk and tell others what they like (and dislike). And the ways people freely express those opinions today are via ratings, reviews and testimonials. If you’ve not yet recognized and tuned into the power of this conversation customers are having around your brand, it’s time you should.
A study published on SocialMediaToday reported that nearly two-thirds of people consider online reviews essential to their decision-making process around making purchases. The psychology behind it tracks. The principle of "social proof," a term coined in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence, states that people are highly motivated to take action (in this case, make a purchase) if they see that others - even strangers - think it’s a good idea.
As you can see, ratings, reviews and testimonials are powerful vehicles to propel intel about your business throughout the internet. As you build up a steadily-growing storehouse of positive reviews, people tend to consider your business more trustworthy. In more good news, a study by the Harvard Business School revealed that online reviews can noticeably improve a business’ revenue. It found that brands that were viewed in a more positive light enjoyed better sales; a modest increase in positive reviews, even by one star on Yelp.com, can boost a company’s sales 5% to 9%.
When there’s social buzz around your brand, search engines sit up and take notice. Their algorithms take into account the fresh content that reviews provide and reward your website with a higher ranking in search results. The higher your social media ranking, the more likely your business is to be recognized by customers as a leader in your industry.
It’s not just on your website or your social media that people will rate your offerings. Satisfied customers tend to share their experiences on external review sites like Yelp, FourSquare and Trip Advisor, thus expanding your business’ reach and influence even farther throughout the internet landscape.
Another advantage to all these reviews is the opportunity they represent to interact with your customers in a highly contextual way. In fact, it’s expected that you pay heed to the opinions of your patrons and demonstrate your gratitude for the time they took to share their opinion - whether it’s favorable or not. Perhaps the only thing more important than thanking those who left favorable reviews is to address poor ones head on. Show fans of your brand that you’re dedicated to satisfaction and do what you can to discover the reason for a dissatisfied situation and try to resolve it for the customer.
These conversations are happening organically around your brand and facilitating them can only strengthen the connection between you and your customers. Monitor your ratings and reviews. Respond to the good ones with gratitude and to the bad ones with a willingness to rectify the problem to the customer’s satisfaction. Ask customers for testimonials to give others - who are only too happy to listen - the opportunity to experience the social proof they need to choose your business over the competition.
Do you fully appreciate the power of your customer’s opinions about your business and its offerings?
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