Does anyone remember when advertising was a legitimate source of information? An effective way for businesses to communicate with potential customers? Somewhere along the way, business' claims got larger-than-life, and subsequently, consumers started filtering out their messages. The effectiveness of advertising plummeted and campaigns had to be bigger, more in-your-face, and more creative (which generally means more expensive) to get any kind of response.
It's no surprise that when small businesses take the traditional approach by saying great things about themselves and broadcasting in whatever media they can afford, they usually find that the impact is fairly minimal. Customers mostly ignore your attempts to grab their attention and nothing much changes.
Getting Past the "BS Radar"
Today’s consumer has a well developed "BS Radar". As they’re reading your marketing materials they’re often automatically disregarding – or worse, disbelieving – anything that sounds like the same old marketing blurb they’ve now heard and read a million times over. So while you might make claims about brilliant customer service, excellent quality or even offer a money back guarantee, a consumer’s BS Radar can stop your message from getting across. The result? Your marketing efforts are filtered out, tossed out, and forgotten. A waste of everyone's time and money.
So how do you spread the word about your great business in the age of marketing message saturation? Be authentic and let your customers do it for you.
There is a wealth of research out there that shows that consumers do trust some messages – the opinions of other consumers. This strategy can (and does!) work wonders for businesses because it simply means that instead of doing the work yourself, your customers do all the marketing for you.
Reviews = Trust
Consumers’ feedback and comments may not be as polished and as fluent as your own writing, but to other customers, it’s viewed as being a lot more reliable. Such was the result uncovered by a study conducted by Nielson Online, who discovered that when choosing a product or service, 70% of consumers trust the opinions posted online by other consumers more than any other form of advertising, such as in magazines, on TV or on the business’s own website.
Online reviews are having such an impact on businesses that trendwatching.com recently announced that “reviewing is the new advertising" …and reported that consumers "need trusted advice and recommendations”, preferrably from fellowcustomers.
Savvy Businesses Get Customers Talking
This trend is bringing happy days indeed for the savvy business owner. The potential savings on traditional marketing expenses and on the time spent creating and running campaigns is very appealing. With customers now spreading the word much further – and much faster – than could have been imagined in decades gone by, it’s a socially significant trend that offers a business a golden opportunity.
One way in which you can kick-start your consumer review strategy is to try out Word of Mouth’s Online Happy Customers Program. Designed specifically as a marketing referral engine, the Happy Customers Program delivers on-going enquiries straight to you, from consumers that are actively looking for a business like yours.
The fabulous thing is, once your business has a few great reviews, you can simply redirect new enquiries to the Word Of Mouth Online site to check out what others have said about you. It really is easy marketing – it’s done for you, and because it’s authentic, it bypasses the BS Radar. Most importantly, it allows you to focus more thoroughly on your business, rather than becoming bogged down with marketing and advertising responsibilities.
Your service may already be top-notch, but the idea is to get other people to say so – and then you can let your reputation and sales grow, and become an ongoing reflection of your past happy customers!