MindFire Communications, Inc.
Word of mouth marketing has a whole new taste
September 9, 2012 | Inga Rundquist

For literally thousands of years, word of mouth marketing has been…well…lip service! People spoke directly to each other, and got their friends, family and neighbors to give them advice about products and services.

But over the last few years, word of mouth has taken on a whole new bite - mainly online. Truth is, more and more people every year now go online to read product and service reviews on websites like Amazon, Epinions, TripAdvisor, ReviewGist, Best Buy, Sears, and more. In addition, they often go to online forums that are all about a specific type of product - from health food to electronics to sports equipment.

The key is, people trust - and often base their buying decisions - on the product/service reviews they read online. In fact, in a recent survey, over 60% of the people surveyed said they were more likely to make a purchase from a site that had user reviews on it. Plus, the survey also showed that the higher number of reviews, the higher purchase rate.

In another survey, 72% of people surveyed said they trust online reviews as much as those from personal relationships. Plus,  52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business. So, it’s not just a good marketing element for large, national companies, but also for small, local or regional companies.

Now here’s something really mind-boggling! Negative reviews can actually have a positive impact. A majority of the people in the survey said they felt if there were lots of positive reviews, plus a few negative reviews, then they trusted the reviews better, and felt they had a higher level of  honesty.

So, how can you use online word-of-mouth to help build your brand and your sales? Here are a few examples:

  1. Allow users of your products/services to rate them on your web site - and allow both negative and positive reviews.
  2. Place your own reviews on Epinions and specific forums related to your product/service. This will encourage other people to add reviews.
  3. Ask people to give you product/service feedback on your social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Create an online forum about your industry, where people can rank and review your products/services, and those of your competitors.

In addition, one key thing about online reviews is to have someone from your company go online on a regular basis, and see what reviews your products/services are getting. If you see highly positive reviews, you can send the links to your customers and prospects. If you see highly negative reviews, you can go online respond accordingly.

The bottom line is this - each year, more and more people spend time online searching for reviews, reading and analyzing them, and using them as a key element in their final buying decisions.

Online customer reviews are becoming a very hot way to build your brand. Now that’s worth talking about!

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