Week 3: The Power of Online Reviews

For this week’s assignment I read an article entitled Exclusive: Dramatic New Data on How User Reviews Influence Purchasing Decisions from Marketing Sherpa.  I’m a big fan of user reviews.  My husband and I have worked very hard to encourage the students from our music studio Jammin’ Music Studios to post reviews about the teachers at the studio, and our business has increased exponentially because of it.  I know that honest reviews from users makes a strong impact on new clients searching for the service we provide.  When you Google “guitar lessons Olympia” Jammin’ Music Studios shows up with 80 reviews listed.  The next one on the list has 11.  Which one would YOU go to?  I would say that 30-40% of new contacts tell us they called us because we had so many great reviews.  That’s powerful!

The article by Marketing Sherpa talked about just how powerful online reviews really are based on statistical data on where users prefer to get information about a purchasing decision, how bad ratings affect buying decisions, and who uses online reviews the most.  I already believe in the power of online reviews, so most of the information in the article was simply a confirmation of what I already know.  However, I was very interested to discover that according to their statistics, online reviews have surpassed not only an expert opinion, but also that of a knowledgeable friend.

When asked what sources of information they are “very likely” to consult before making a decision about their entertainment options, 62% named Web sites with user reviews as their top choice, even beating out a knowledgeable friend (59%).”

It’s not unusual for me to see people post a question like this on their social media page:  “anyone have a good recommendation for a roofer?” or “iPhone or Galaxy?  Which one do you like best and why?”  We have always depended on our friend’s personal experiences to help us make decisions like this.  It’s interesting that online reviews actually now carry more weight than that of a good friend.  I kind of suspect that may be because one or two friend’s opinions are great, but hundreds of online reviews compiled together give a much broader source of data to choose from.

So if you want to promote your business or product, online reviews will boost sales….or inhibit them if your reviews aren’t so good.

 

References: Exclusive: Dramatic New Data on How User Reviews Influence Purchasing Decisions. (2007) Retreived July 23, 2016, https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/dramatic-new-data-on-how#

 

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