Ever wonder what the biggest challenge is in successful marketing? It’s achieving believability. After all, it isn’t enough to run a flashy, entertaining ad spot, especially if it can’t convince your target market that your claims of quality are true.
The CBC radio show, The Age of Persuasion, aired a wonderful program on the use of “real humans’ in advertising recently. Host Terry O’Reilly’s assertions that “believability” was “the elusive element that every advertiser craves” struck a chord for me. The reason I came to work for HomeStars was because I couldn’t find decent reviews on home inspectors in Ottawa (– we’re changing that now.)
As a homeowner, all the Yellow Page listings, ad spots or company posted “customer” testimonials we trawled through were unconvincing. What I wanted were reviews from real people about their experiences. In the absence of personal referrals, we turned to the Internet – and do for most of our buying decisions.
And I am not alone. Some 82% of consumers who read reviews are influenced by those testimonials when it comes to making a buying decision. Reviews have become the old candid taste test. Reviews, (at least those hosted on impartial third party websites), are providing that elusive believability factor we are seeking – both as consumers and businesses.
For those businesses still worried about the impact of negative reviews, consider this: the split between those who would be more likely to post negative experiences rather than positive is at nearly 50-50. In fact, slightly more people are inclined to publish positive reviews rather than negative ones.
Moreover, a negative review mixed in with a series of positive reviews can actually be more encouraging to a prospective buyer than a list of overwhelmingly positive opinions. That negative experience assures the would-be customer that these reviews are authentic – helping bring a claim closer to that golden goal of believability.
If you want customers to believe your claims of quality are true or a homeowner wanting to believe your choice of renovator is the right one – reviews just might be the answer.