Marketers can no longer rely on that perfect campaign to land a new consumer. Before they even enter the discussion and meet their prospect, their business solution is already sitting out there – naked and subject to scrutiny.
Welcome to the world of verified-user reviews.
In recent years, the growing proliferation of these reviews – and the third-party sites that host them – has fundamentally changed the buyer journey. No longer dependent on jargon-heavy and highly complicated product descriptions, prospective buyers can instead turn to user testimonials for a transparent view into what a product or service actually offers. And the majority of consumers are doing this already: According to a BrightLocal survey, 85 percent of consumers report reading up to 10 reviews before they decide to trust a business.
For marketers, the era of the perfectly manicured campaign is over. If there are flaws in your product or service, your prospects will know about them. If you have hordes of unhappy customers, they’ll know about those too. Today, there’s no hiding behind jargon. Your brand is naked and exposed. It’s time to embrace the nakedness.
3 steps to be naked and unafraid
These days, earning a customer’s trust hinges on transparency. Marketers cannot fear nakedness. They must learn to strategically harness it. It’s called naked marketing: Instead of promoting opaque marketing campaigns, advance an agenda of complete transparency with your customers – one powered by honest customer appraisals. Here are three key ways marketers can support a naked marketing agenda:
- Engage with negative reviews: The first step to embracing nakedness is to accept that negative customer reviews aren’t a fearsome foe; instead, they’re a business opportunity. The fact is that no matter how successful your product or service, you’re going to have a few dissatisfied customers. But these inevitable sour reviews offer a proving ground to demonstrate customer engagement. By tactfully responding to negative reviews with a proactive, solutions-based reply – here’s some inspiring examples – you can leverage customer recovery tactics and peak the interest of prospects who’ve gone straight to the negative reviews (it’s how a lot of buyer journeys begin).
- Actively solicit customer reviews: Rather than create case studies with idealized customer testimonials, marketers should instead encourage actual customers to leave honest reviews on third-party platforms. By taking this direct approach, companies have been able to build up their base of loyal customers and promising prospects.
- Implement customer relationship management tools: Scroll through Yelp’s one-star reviews and you’ll see a theme emerge among dissatisfied customers: They feel ignored. While engaging with online customer reviews can help mitigate the problem, marketers should also work to identify why customers feel this way in the first place. By implementing CRM solutions, marketers can familiarize themselves with how customers experience their company’s product or service, identifying and fixing customers’ concerns before they turn into a litany of complaints.
Today’s customers have a clearer view into your business and are more discerning as a result. As a marketer, you can no longer fool prospects by dressing up your product with jargon. Instead, you should implement a marketing strategy that capitalizes on nakedness with a review strategy. That way, even when your company is exposed, you can still be proud of its assets.