Today people have access to an extensive range of information and opinions from third parties about everything; products, services, businesses, and individuals. All of us use the information available to us via the internet to discover, evaluate, and compare items of interest.
I like to call this digital Word of Mouth (dWOM), including online reviews, social media, and other discussion forums.
People have trained themselves to do a kind of triangulation on the truth from these separate sources of information. If you are looking for a new car, a Mexican restaurant, or even a job, today, a typical consumer checks out ten information sources before making a purchase/decision.
Internet users in the U.S. generate more than 500 billion impressions on each other via dWOM channels, specifically regarding products and services—more than a quarter of the number of impressions advertisers make. Given the overwhelming influence that consumer opinions carry, getting a business involved in this peer-to-peer conversation can have a more significant marketing impact at a lower cost than almost any paid advertising.
REVIEWS ARE WORTH MORE THAN THE CREDIT THEY’RE GIVEN.
Review sites and social media channels are what consumers use to discover, evaluate, and research new products, services, and businesses. What people say online about a business matter. However, the fact that they say anything at all matters even more. That individual who takes the time to comment on your business provides you with free gold, and if you could farm for free gold why wouldn’t you?
Some people don’t use social channels. Some people go straight to the search engines for their immediate search needs. They review the organic search results and the paid ads and narrow down their search to their shortlist. So, shouldn’t that mean a business owner should focus more on SEO and PPC ads?
SEO and PPC ads are highly effective channels for generating new awareness and generating leads for your business.
Online reviews are not only about influence. They create organic visibility, especially in local searches online. For smaller markets, highly niche products and services, getting online reviews is one of the most influential and inexpensive SEO tactics a business can implement.
As an SEO expert, I can attest that Google wants to see signs of life. Google wants to see its users interacting with your business, and when they do, Google will reward you with more organic visibility in your market.