No fewer than 21 of our members received an accolade from you, the Hastings business public, at Let's Do Business last week – so, thank you! And I hope, by now, you’ll have received and actioned your verification email to confirm your review. But, why bother with reviews? What’s all the fuss about?
I know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Reviews are key to driving new business and keeping existing customers. The number of consumers reading online reviews about local businesses has shot up! Increasing by 22% in the last five years. It has become part of the consumer buying process, so if you’re not displaying great reviews for all to see, you can guarantee you’re losing potential business.
40% of consumers form an opinion by reading 1-3 reviews (vs. 29% in 2014) Now, before you throw your review cards away, or worse, stop asking for reviews, there is actually a caveat to this statistic.
Consumers want to read 1 to 3 reviews, but they want to see many more! They will read the most up to date reviews and then assume all the previous ones will follow a similar pattern. Just the fact the reviews are there gives the consumer confidence that the company they are researching has consistently and constantly provided a great product or service.
Interestingly, the age of the review was key as well, with 44% of consumers feeling that a review should have been written in the last month to be relevant.
The ‘Bright Local’ Survey said “Online reviews should be sought after and encouraged on a regular basis. We can now see that a best case scenario would involve having up to 10 positive online reviews, all written within the last 2-3 months.”
Of course, these levels will vary for different types of businesses. Some businesses attract reviews more readily than others – think ‘restaurants’ (and we have several featured on ‘thebestof Hastings’) vs. ‘accountants’ (choose from Ashdown Hurrey or Gibbons Mannington & Phipps)… A review that is 9 months old will lose impact for say, the White Rock theatre whereas consumers searching for a solicitor, like Percy Walker & Co. will happily consider reviews from 9-12 months ago as this type of service doesn’t change as rapidly.
Almost 48% of consumers, after reading online reviews, will visit the company’s website. Oh how behaviours have changed! Gone are the days when people picked up the phone it seems. Only 9% of consumers said their next step was to call a business. In fact, they were almost three times more likely to visit the company’s premises than phone.
Now obviously, reviews are only part of the consumers’ purchasing journey, but if you have the right product or service, give value for money and have excellent customer service, it would be a dreadful shame to lose that potential customer to the competition because you weren’t displaying enough relevant online reviews.
If you’re struggling to get those all-important reviews, or would like to know how to start collecting them just give me, Ian Noble, a call on 01424 858932. We’ll be more than happy to help! www.thebestof.co.uk/hastings
Member since: 23rd July 2014
Ian Noble is the Owner of 'thebestofHastings', the award winning franchise, providing integrated marketing solutions to SMEs, connecting to the Hastings community and promoting local events in 1066 Country....