Group buying websites initially created a lot of excitement as a way for small businesses to promote their products and services, but many have been left disillusioned with the results. And it's no wonder as this type of marketing is designed to attract price-shoppers, says Fiona Adler of customer reviews website Word Of Mouth Online (WOMO).
"Many small businesses have been burned in the wake of the group buying sites which were successful in bringing in volume, but not profitability," Ms Adler says. "And why? Because they attract the wrong type of customer. "The quality customer values good workmanship, service excellence or a premium experience, and they put these factors before price. They're also easier to sell to, buy at a higher price, and are more loyal customers."
Ms Adler adds that small businesses finally have a way of marketing themselves that easily builds trust and promotes themselves based on quality - not price.
"By marketing themselves with customer reviews, small businesses have a very authentic way to communicate their quality and quickly establish trust and credibility," she says.
An electrician using the WOMO service goes so far as to use customer reviews to filter out the price-shoppers.
"Each month I get about 20 calls directly from WOMO- about one a day," says Victor Bogdan of AGY Electrix. "Of these, 5-8 generally become clients - but the best thing about using word-of-mouth is not the quantity of leads and sales it generate, but the type. When I get a call from someone I'll give them a price on their job and then tell them to get online and look at my reviews on WOMO.
"They can see clearly from my reviews that I'm very focused on quality, so if they are too, we have a match and they'll call back straight away to book in. It's helping me weed out the price-shoppers from the quality customers. This has an enormous effect on the bottom-line."
Businesses that are sick of tyre-kickers and want more customers that are actually profitable, are encouraged to try encouraging their clients to review them online. For most businesses, the right type of customer is worth a lot more than a tyre-kicker, so its worth your while to plan your marketing to attract quality customers.
Word Of Mouth Online is Australia's largest business directory based entirely on consumer reviews for the businesses they've used. The website (www.womo.com.au) helps people find the best businesses and avoid the worst, while also helping good businesses promote themselves with word-of-mouth.
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