You’ve probably heard of the difference between marketing and sales. The former is wide-reaching and can include any activity that drives potential customers to your website or app. The latter focuses on converting those leads into paying customers.
Well, the same concept applies to online trust reviews. These reviews, often known as AB reviews or customer reviews, can appear in many different forms — on blogs, micro-blogs, forums, and websites. But they all have one thing in common: they’re designed to help consumers find the best providers and products for their needs.
So, should you as a business owner, entrepreneur, or product manager put your trust in online reviews or should you seek to engage with your audience through marketing strategies?
The answer, of course, is both. It depends on your goals and the nature of your product or service. But let’s explore the differences between online reviews and marketing — and how you can use each for the best interest of your business.
Marketing vs. Reviews: Main Differences
The first and most obvious difference between marketing and reviews is that the former is largely conducted outside the digital sphere while the latter often takes place online. As a result, marketing is broad, ranging from radio ads to billboards and magazine spreads. While you can be sure that your product will receive some form of online marketing, including product reviews, it’s much more difficult to pinpoint the exact type of marketing that a particular product or service may have experienced. For instance, you might run a billboard campaign in New York but have only sold your product nationally through online channels.
With reviews, on the other hand, you know exactly what your customers have experienced. They’ll often provide feedback on your product or service directly through their interactions with it. So, while online reviews can appear in a variety of places — such as blogs and websites — they’re mostly retained and accessed through social media platforms. This provides you with a clear view of what your customers are saying and where they’re saying it.
Why Do I Need To Engage With My Audience?
The importance of reviews, especially when viewed through the lens of potential customers, cannot be overstated. The vast majority of shoppers read reviews before purchasing a product or service. About 92% of mobile purchasers, for example, have read online reviews for products or services, according to HubSpot.
If your product or service is new to the market, especially if you’re trying to break into a saturated segment, you’ll want to find every available source of exposure, including social media platforms, forums, and websites. This is where you can introduce yourself to potential customers and gain an impression of what they think of your product. Some people may even decide to try your product or service out solely based on your online reviews.
This being said, reviews can still be improved upon. For one, they can be more engaging if you’re willing to put in the extra effort. Positive reviews, in particular, can be enhanced through the use of key phrases, vivid descriptions, and photos. In addition, you can encourage customers to provide more detailed feedback. Do this by asking questions about how they used the product, whether or not it solved a problem, or what could be improved upon.
What Should I Look Out For?
When it comes to marketing and sales, the primary goal is to find potential customers. With reviews, however, you’re more interested in retaining existing customers. This is why businesses, especially those with physical locations, often rely heavily on word of mouth marketing and encourage customer reviews. As a result, you want to be on the lookout for negative reviews as well as the good. Why? Because while many people may have a positive experience with your product or service, it’s also possible that someone else feels completely the opposite. In this case, you’ll want to know what attributes and qualities of your product or service made the difference.
When looking for a travel insurance provider, for example, you may see many positive reviews for certain companies but you’ll also have to sift through a few negative reviews, as well. It’s important to remember that one bad experience does not necessarily mean that you’ll have a bad experience as well. There’s a huge variance in travel insurance providers — at least, there should be. If you’re doing business internationally, however, you may need specialized travel insurance or additional coverage.
Directions For Marketing
So, now that you have a clear understanding of the differences between marketing and reviews, you can turn your attention to the latter. As mentioned, reviews are often found on websites and social media platforms. To get the most out of your reviews, you should establish yourself as a trusted source of information on your industry. In doing so, you can provide tips and tricks for how others in your industry can improve their products, services, and user experience. In some instances, you may even want to partner with other industry experts to provide an even more in-depth analysis of your industry and the products or services that you’ve reviewed.
As a reviewer, you may want to consider becoming more active on social media platforms. This can help to expose your product or service to a broader audience. In turn, you may gain credibility with your audience, who may then benefit from your knowledge when it comes to your industry.
Now, it’s up to you. While reviews can be a helpful tool in your industry and allow you to gain credibility, you should still use traditional marketing channels, such as radio ads, billboards, and magazine spreads, to reach new customers.