I was lucky enough to attend the British Excellence Forum with a group of clients at Celtic Manor a couple of weeks ago. There were some excellent speakers there covering many aspects of business. I decided that I would use one of these content areas as the basis for this months’ newsletter topic. In a session about marketing there was a central theme that the central focus for marketing is changing again. Traditional marketing will continue to be important but is being swamped by ratings.
When I thought more about this I believe that this makes perfect sense. We have all got used to Google and the importance of search engine optimisation to get yourself to the top of page 1 to get page visits and business from those seeking to purchase or enquire on-line. However, for leisure sectors many now avoid traditional searches and go to rating sites such as Tripadvisor.
This is only the beginning of this trend! When you look back a few years, everyone was being encouraged to get testimonials from their clients, and they were important. These were used in marketing collateral, as a third part view in direct mail, and as content for website pages.
Then, we were encouraged to get video content on web pages with clients giving their testimonials. The principle was that video content helped for Google and their link with You-tube.
Underlying this phase of third party rating of you was the principle that what others say about you was considered more credible than you saying nice things about yourself.
Importance of Ratings
Ratings takes this to a different level. Here people take the view of complete strangers as being a significant part of their decision making decision. It has become the way of the world in leisure and any one in that sector will already be very aware of what ratings they are given and what feedback they are given. They should also deal with feedback of all sorts promptly , effectively and politely.
As time goes by, this is becoming more of a reality for all sectors. We are all aware of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google also offering similar rating scores and ability for feed-back so what should be done?
- be aware of what ratings your business is being scored on and which are being used most by your target market.
- regularly check both what your overall ratings are and what feed-back you have received.
- provide comments and response, where available, to all feed-back and comments and take appropriate action to prevent repeat comments where there is something that can be improved or learnt from.
- put your own feedback loop into place at time of purchase to get feedback direct and avoid someone using a rating service out of frustration and again take lessons learned and respond positively.
- Actively encourage positive feedback form the “silent majority”. These should become your advocates and mean that even if the odd poor comment is received you r overall score is good. Also, many peope judge ratings by quantity of response as well as the score given. Get lots of people saying good things about you and this becomes a strong marketing message.
So, in conclusion, treat the rise of ratings as an opportunity rather than a threat and ensure that you take the actions above to ensure you are rated well.