The reviews aren’t good

July 19, 2017

reviewsIn the “good old days” when a neighbor or work colleague told you how much they enjoyed a nearby B&B, movie or restaurant, it mattered.  Word of mouth has always been one of marketing’s most potent weapons.  Today – we have word of mouth marketing on steroids with online reviews.

Interestingly, in a wide range of surveys examining the effectiveness of online reviews, the data is pretty telling. Depending on the research, somewhere between 84-90% of us trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Nearly 9 out of every 10 consumers has used online reviews to influence a purchase and about 40% of us use them on a regular basis as part of our buying process. Most people read between 6-10 reviews and they usually read the most recent reviews first.

Why do we give perfect strangers the same credibility score as our neighbors and friends?

  • We believe in the aggregate. One bad review suggests a fluke or someone had a grudge but when there’s a pattern, we’re willing to believe the crowd.
  • We assume that the reviewers are people like us who have no axe to grind but just want to be helpful.
  • We give more credibility to the “average Joe” than we do to marketing or corporate speak. In other words – I want to hear what other people say about you, not what you say about yourself.

Given both the number of consumers who rely on online reviews and the level of trust they put in them – it’s not something businesses can ignore.   And this isn’t just about restaurants or hotels anymore. Whether you’re a dentist, restaurant, ad agency, professor or an insurance agent – between Angie’s List and all of the specialty lists out there – everyone is being rated.

Interestingly – businesses seem to be adopting the head in the sand approach to bad reviews.  Even though almost every rating site will allow the proprietor to respond, very few do.

That is a huge missed opportunity. Every business owner, CMO etc. should be tracking where their business is being rated and monitoring those ratings.  While the ideal is that you’d respond to all the reviews (odds are there are not that many), you should at the very least react to the negative ones.

Here are some best practices for responding to negative reviews.

  • Apologize. Use the words “I am sorry” to acknowledge that they had a bad experience, even if you don’t believe it was your fault.
  • Refer to them by name if you can.
  • Identify yourself by name and title so they know who is responding to them.
  • If there really was a problem – don’t sugar coat it. Admit that you blew it and what you’re doing to make sure the next guest does not experience the same thing.
  • After your initial response, if they reply – take it offline. While you want everyone reading the reviews to see that you care, you don’t need to play out the entire conversation online.
  • If you feel like you can win them back – offer to compensate them in some way. And no, this will not encourage a bunch of people to leave bad reviews just to get a coupon or free meal from you.
  • Talk like a human, not a corporate committee. Use conversational language so they know there’s a human being behind your comments.

No matter what you do – ignoring negative reviews is not an option.  They are too influential to your prospects and when they go unanswered, they’re taken as gospel and can chase away potential business. So settle in and try to make some lemonade out of those lemons.

More

Referrals don’t happen by accident

April 26, 2016

Referrals: do you really want them?Referrals don’t happen by accident. When I talk to some small business owners they proudly tell me that most of their new customers come to them via referrals. And I congratulate them – there’s no better marketing than having a customer rave about your work.

But relying on your customers to decide that they’re going to actively recruit new clients for you is probably not a brilliant marketing plan.

Think of a product or service that you really like and use regularly. Okay – now, how many people did you talk to today about that product or service? How about yesterday?

For our example, let’s pretend this product/service that you love is your barber. It’s not that you don’t love him. But you have other things going on in your world. So unless someone mentions they’re looking for a new barber or compliments your hair, odds are, you aren’t going to mention your barber. Even though you are a raving fan.

Your clients are the same way. They may love what you do but most days, they’re not thinking about you or telling other people about you. So does that mean growing your business by referrals is a bad thing? No – it just means you can’t leave it to fate or your customer’s undying love. You have to give referrals a helping hand.

Want to figure out how to boost referrals, try one (or more) of these ideas:

Throw an exclusive party: Create an event that your best customers would love to attend. Not like – but love. I’m talking take a day off work to go if they had to kind of love. Send them an invitation and explain that it’s an exclusive event – that only your best customers are being invited. But, as a special thank you for their business – they can invite one guest. The only caveat is the guest cannot be a current customer.

Promise them that they’ll be no sales pitch or selling. You just want to meet more people like them and you want them to be able to share this cool event with someone. Now, you’ve got a buzz worthy event which will generate its own word of mouth marketing and your best customers are walking prospects right to your door.

Love them: At MMG, many years ago we created our own holiday called Who Loves Ya Baby Day. (A hat tip to Telly Savalas in his Kojak days). On that day, which happens to be Valentine’s Day – we shower our clients with love. We let them know how much we value them and their trust in us. We create a special card to thank them and literally to say that we love them. Because we do.

In your own way – you need to let your customers know that they’re more than a buck in the cash register to you. Create something that overtly expresses your affection for them in a way that they can’t help but talk about.

Be shareable smart: Everyone wants to be helpful and be perceived as being on top of their game. Become a reliable resource of useful insights and information for your customers. Send them tools (e-newsletter, infographics, tip sheets, etc.) that they can and will pass along to their peers because of their value. Then, without even meaning to, they’re referring people to you with each share.

Which, of course, means what you send them has to be truly valuable, not self-serving. No one is going to pass along your sales flier or promotional materials. The added advantage of this tactic is not only do you get the referral but your content also reinforces the message that you really know your stuff.

Referrals are an incredibly valuable way to grow your business. But even your biggest fans need a little nudge.

More

Playbook for word of mouth

July 6, 2015

fizzTed Wright’s new book Fizz (affiliate link) is a fantastic playbook for word of mouth that’s fun to read and easy to connect with your business and how you could take the examples and modify them to work for you.

Wright works hard to demystify this area of organic marketing that seems to create so much confusion and missteps. you’ll appreciate the examples of both what works and what happens when things go really wrong.

No matter what size is your business, you’ll be able to implement the ideas on the book as it explores strategies, techniques, and approaches of building a company and a brand worth talking about.

 

One of the reasons why this playbook for word of mouth isn’t just another fluff book is that Wright has actually had a hand in a lot of the examples and he offers up data like sales results, so you can see that it’s not just about creating buzz but it’s ultimately about creating sales.

This book is entertaining to read but at the end of the day, as Wright says at the opening of his playbook — it will actually help you “sell more stuff to more people more often for more money.”

Hard to argue with that. Get your copy from Amazon here. (affiliate link)

More

Have you built a marketing megaphone?

August 1, 2012

I spent a few days in Vegas recently and the 24/7 chaos was overwhelming. It’s pure overload for all your senses – tons of people everywhere, driving billboards, TVs in the restrooms, a wide array of smells, and a cacophony of sounds at full volume.

It’s a little like how we’re assaulted by marketing messages every day. Over 5,000 messages a day – aimed at all of our senses, pretty much 24/7.

As consumers — it feels like an attack we have to guard against.  As marketers — it’s like a mountain we have to scale.

But somehow our message needs to fight its way to the top and actually be heard. How do we make that happen?

We need a marketing megaphone. (Download 8.5 x 11 version by clicking here) Something that amplifies our message so it gets right where it needs to be.

But that megaphone has to be built in the right order and contain the right elements.  Otherwise, it’s just more noise.

Here’s how to construct a marketing megaphone that actually works.

It starts with you: To break through the clutter – you need to be crystal clear about your core messaging. You need to completely understand how you’re different from your competitors, why you matter to your customers and how you can improve their world.

Imagine your voice in the din of over 5,000 messages. You’re whispering and counting on the next layers in the marketing megaphone to magnify your message. So it sure better be the exact right words/sentiment.

Once you know yourself, you need a plan: Marketing doesn’t happen by accident. You need a clear-cut vision for how you’re going to get out the word. Over 90% of businesses operate without a marketing plan and yet they wonder why they have to work so hard for new sales.

A marketing plan eliminates stutter (you hurry up to market when you’re slow and then stop when you get busy, losing all momentum along the way) or inconsistent marketing.

Your inside advantage: One of the most costly mistakes made by companies is that they forget how vital their employees are to their marketing efforts. A team that’s left in the dark can’t possibly help amp up your message. In most cases, they have the contact with your customers and prospects. So why wouldn’t you want them to be completely plugged into your core messaging and your marketing plan for spreading the word?

Be worth bragging about: Another way to turn up the volume in your marketing megaphone is to give your current customers something to talk about. If you delight them or are the kind of organization they’re proud to be associated with – they’ll shout it to the world via their social networks, their in person networks and through referrals.

All too often, we forget to romance them once we actually get the sale. But, by making them feel wanted and special – you not only create recurring revenue at a lower cost of acquisition but you create a legion of cheerleaders, all out there, putting some oomph into that megaphone.

The exact right prospects: One of the key benefits of truly understanding your brand is that you learn who your perfect customers are. You will identify who really needs what you offer and who would be elated to buy it from you. When you have a profile of exactly who that is – you can aim your marketing megaphone right at their ear and not worry about the rest of the world.

Getting heard isn’t easy but with the help of a properly built megaphone, your message can rise above the din and get to the right audience every time.

Want a full-sized jpg for your own? Click here to download one.

Enhanced by Zemanta
More

Any brand can become talkable

July 28, 2012

Are you talkable?

On this blog, we often explore the importance of brand and the power of word of mouth. It seems that many business owners/leaders believe that you can just plan on something being spread by word of mouth and voila, it happens. (Sort of like planning for a video to go viral).

The reality is — to become a brand that is worthy of being talked about is hard work.

It’s about being very purposeful in every little detail of your business.

That’s why I love this video series by John Moore from Brand Autopsy.  John’s listed a bunch of attributes (29 to date) of a talkable brand — like believable, measurable, and emotional to mention a few.  And he’s done a video for each “able” that makes your brand talkable.

The videos are part education, part entertainment and part inspiration.  I think you’ll enjoy the short (less than 4 minutes each) offerings.

Check out the series (click here) and then come back and tell me which of the “ables” you think your business has already mastered.

Enhanced by Zemanta
More