In the previous two blog posts titled Working the Engines: Search Drives Customer Connections and Working the Engines: How to Effectively Control Your Brand through Search, I spoke about how you can drive stronger customer relationships and greater engagement with search. I would like to focus this final entry on getting ready for the future. Let’s talk about ratings and reviews.
Today, ratings and reviews are arguably the most heavily weighed aspects of positioning on the search results pages. They are uniquely considered by the engines, because of the trust and authority they bring, and the high value of the content itself. Beyond the results position, rating and reviews are major factors in consumers’ product decisions across many categories.
Good news and bad news — it’s early on, but it’s coming in a big way to financial services. Is that the good news or the bad news? That’s an interesting question. Here’s the thing you need to be thinking about as marketing leaders — R&R is essentially word of mouth, but organized and structured. This is some of the most valuable and impactful content that exists. As it informs customers about your brand and products, it levels the playing field in some important ways. For example, a smaller brand with consistently excellent ratings can make customers think twice about a larger brand with so-so ratings. This will be just as important a factor in financial services as it is in CPG or technology products.
So, now is the time to get focused on this subject. Think about R&R strategically, as a kind of “content supply chain” where your opportunity is to design that mechanism. You’ll want to determine the estimated value, priority, and resources, plus the process for gathering and managing this content. And you want to know what’s going on out there today with your brand on the search platforms, and even beyond. For example, is your brand mentioned on Yelp? By engaging now in the R&R space, you may just be able to achieve that first mover advantage, giving you a head start to managing and leveraging a base of positive reviews faster than your competition. It’s a tough set of content to manage, but the value is high in brand visibility and more importantly in the decision influence with prospects and customers.
This concludes the “Working the Engines” series. I hope this content and the ideas presented are helping you think differently about Search, and the opportunities to build connections with customers in new ways. Especially in ways that leverage your most important assets: branch/ATM network; call center; marketing teams and competitive position.
So what’s your acceleration plan?