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Does Social Proof Beat Everything Else in Marketing?

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said, “I don’t like what I see”? What you do next generally depends on you’re feeling.

“Ah well c’est la vie, must be getting old” or “OK what am I going to do about it?”

Funnily enough when you do something about it you begin to feel better about yourself and so do others. You start to get compliments and the world suddenly seems a brighter place.

As a business how often do we look at ourselves in the mirror. The one thing for sure is that we are being looked at each and every day. In many cases, not as often as we would like, but what do people see? If you don’t know the answer, I suggest you google it. Yes, that’s what everyone does. It’s now so important in our daily lives it’s become a verb.

advertising budget work

When someone does a search for a business this is the kind of thing they see.

Online marketing

A UC Berkeley study revealed that a half-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating can lead to a major increase in sales.

So if a business’ rating goes from 3.5 to 4 stars on Yelp the business is 30-49% more likely to sell out all its evening seats.

Online reviews, the researchers conclude, “play an increasingly important role in how consumers judge the quality of goods and services.”

But this isn’t just for restaurants. Any business can seriously benefit from an increase in their online rating.

Harvard Business school revealed that a one-star increase in a business’ Yelp rating can increase business revenue by up to 10%. When Spedy.s Tacos, Sunnyvale, bumped theit Yelp rating from 3 stars to 4. their annual revenue went up by almost $100,000.

That’s how powerful your business’ online reputation is. One star could be your key to seriously boosting your profits.

It takes one star to skyrocket your sale and bring in more revenue. That’s how important your online reputation is. Why should your business pay attention to it’s online reputation? Because your prospects depend on it to make key decisions.

85% of consumers trust online reviews about businesses as much as personal recommendations.

So think about it, it doesn’t matter what form of marketing or advertising you are currently doing it is underpinned by how you are perceived online.

Each customer journey begins with getting to know you. People research your business before they enter your front door. It still starts with Interest & Awareness. Television, radio ads, billboard aren’t going away completely… but they’re now being supplemented by digital stimulus. Things like online advertising, email & text marketing, and YouTube video ads.

There are more places than EVER where people are searching for businesses. It’s not just Google either. There are apps, directories, voice search, GPS… lots of places.

After finding your business, consumers see your reviews. In fact, it’s often the first thing showcased in Google search result.

When a consumer uses ratings, reviews, and recommendations to help them compare choices, this affects the Zero Moment of Truth – where they choose which business they’re going to buy from.

Question: What’s your average review score? Do you have any negative reviews that you’re aware of? How have you taken care of them?

Here’s the kicker. Let’s say your prospect is making their way along the journey to buying a service that you offer.

They became interested after seeing your Facebook ad, then looked you up and found you on Google… but there were multiple negative Google reviews that hadn’t been responded to. Now, are they likely to trust you, even if you’ve been recommended!

What does this prospect do? Well, since they’re already well into their research stage, it’s very likely that they’ll go directly to the next stage, but with a competitor!

online reputation

The opposite is also true. By ensuring that your business can be found, trusted and liked, you can have your competitor’s advertising budget work for you!

The fastest way to increase your business’ budget is to use someone else’s.

Here’s the logical order of operations in local business marketing.

Make sure your conversion point is fantastic and well tuned. For most businesses, this is your website. Next, focus on being influential at the zero-moment-of-truth, with listings & reputation.

Finally, increase interest and awareness with digital advertising.

A recent study of over 13,000 SME’s looked at key metrics in their reputation tool. The key takeaways of the study can be summarised as follows;

  1. Manage your reputation with a trusted tool.
  2. Be sure to authenticate your Google My Business listing.
  3. Reinforce the importance of review responses and utilise Marketing Strategists to assist.
  4. Be constantly strategically building your online presence to help increase Google My Business actions – Website clicks, Direction requests, Phone calls.

These are the foundation blocks to ensure that any money spent on marketing is maximised for your benefit and not your competitors.

The study concluded that whilst we all know that a business’s online reviews are vitally important, it’s how reviews are managed and marketed that may be even more critical.

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