It wasn’t a bad strategy. Those trusted, yet anecdotal, personal recommendations were a major way to generate new business.
That was then; this is now.
In this age of star ratings, review sites and social media, traditional word-of-mouth is a dying strategy for attracting customers.
This isn’t to suggest that traditional referrals are no longer valuable, but if you still rely heavily on them, you’re vulnerable to competitors with stellar online reviews that drive major purchasing decisions.
· An overwhelming 90 percent of buyers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. (Dimensional Research)
· More than 80 percent of internet users search online for health information, and one-fifth of their searches are about specific providers. (Pew Research)
· According to a survey by Local Consumer Review, nearly 90 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as word of mouth.
Thanks to their exposure to this digital democracy, brand managers for location-based organizations face a marketing predicament which will force them to engage—or expire.