The Importance of Online Reviews
Even the most successful local business is only as good as the best online review. According to a 2013 Nielsen study , a vast 85 percent of consumers find local business information online, where reviews are just one more click away. Local has truly gone global when it comes to marketing in today’s digital era.
Word of mouth has long been established as the preferred method of giving and receiving referrals, however online consumer reviews are coming in at a close second with 70 percent of consumers trusting this method of marketing and advertising. Furthermore, a 2013 Zendesk survey indicates that a massive 90 percent of consumers reading positive online reviews were then influenced in their buying decisions. It appears that when it comes to local businesses gaining new customers, it is the previous customers putting your money where their mouth is.
The new era of marketing has taken local businesses to the global market due to the prolific presence of the internet. Consumers have steered clear of the old-fashioned paper phone book and eagerly taken to the web to find what they are looking for. With customers making purchases or buying decision after reading reviews, it is clear that the importance of online reviews is more imperative than ever before. In addition to a company’s own web site with client feedback posted, Facebook and Twitter tend to lead the platform for spreading positive reviews. Websites like Yelp tend to host both the positive and negative reviews. The negative reviews are just as important and can affect a business, as the Zendesk survey indicated that 86 percent of customers said a negative review influenced their decision to buy a product or service from a company.
Speaking with a local business man, Phillip Sachinidis – owner of popular Vancouver Movers, his new business is based primary on internet marketing. He states “By the time a consumer comes to the web to search out a company or service, they often have a clear need in mind. A positive or negative review can quickly steer them towards or away from, respectively, making a purchase.”
Access to online reviews is often immediate and customers act and react quickly based on what is written up about a particular product or company. Just like the internet, the reputation of a business is more public and widespread than ever before due to the shared experiences of a company’s entire customer base. This means that local companies can have a truly global reach with every customer that walks through their door and writes up their own review.