Would you make a purchase of $40,000 or more without doing your research? Neither will your market.
While auto advertising effectively cultivates feelings — excitement from Lexus bows, warmth from Subaru dogs, and adventure from Mazdas peeling around corners — the resulting feelings most always lead to internet research by the consumer.
And the searching brings up a parking lot of reviews that can make or break a purchase.
Why are reviews so well searched online? And why do they matter to the auto industry? It comes down to four key ideas.
1. Knowledge is power
Buyers want to know the kind of car they are getting.
If we are to understand why the auto industry needs to engage with reviews, we first need to understand why potential buyers look at reviews in the first place.
Research shows some key reasons reviews are used in everyday life, which can be applied broadly to the interests of the auto industry.
- Stockpile information. Consumers can now rate any vehicle from the comfort of their home and reach thousands. This exchange of information puts potential consumers in near-direct contact with past buyers via review sites. While consumers may view your website, they gather the information they consider unbiased from customer reviews.
- Ensure satisfaction. Purchasing a vehicle, for the average individual or family, is a significant investment. In order to avoid disappointment and ensure satisfaction, consumers turn to research like peer reviews to determine the quality of their next potential vehicle and to compare satisfaction among different makes and models.
- Be efficient. When consumers seek information on a potential purchase, they expect immediacy and accuracy. A quick (or thorough) internet search through vehicle reviews can be time well spent, weighing positive and negative features of a car.
- Follow trends. The influence of others can be extremely persuasive in today’s culture. Viewing a variety of opinions online can gather a group perspective on a vehicle, its quality and its performance.
There is market power in reviews, and the auto industry must be aware that reviews are driving—and, in some cases repelling—vehicle purchases. By amassing positive reviews and mitigating negative reviews with effective responses, you can attract more drivers to your brand.
2. Influencers are everywhere
Your reviewers have power, and it should be harnessed.
Research shows that reviews are a doorway for business. Taking an example from the hospitality industry, Vermeulen and Seegers (2009) saw hotels with reviews have increased bookings. This positions reviewers as both informers and gatekeepers.
What about negative reviews? Can they be redeemed? Yes, in fact. Research showed that 7 out of 10 consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review, according to Marketing Charts. If your brand is not equipped for daily or weekly review response, you run the risk of brand damage.
3. SEO, brand amplification, and consumer connection
Most companies fumble the chance to use the many benefits available through review management.
The traditional avenues of advertising and marketing still have their place, but they are often disrupted by the prevalence of consumer opinions online. Instead of getting frustrated by the shift, the auto industry can take advantage of a new marketing tool in the public sphere.
For auto brands and dealerships alike, online reviews spread the word about your products and service. But did you know reviews also…
- Improve local search engine rankings: Internet reviews make up 10% of how search engines decide to rank their search results.
- Spread the word: Reviews are sharing your brand or dealership’s name and highlights across multiple sites.
- Engage your base: Responding to reviews has a positive impact on your consumers—current and future.
Online reviews give further exposure to your car brands and dealerships by putting your name and differentiators side by side with the competition. If you take the time to respond (something many businesses don’t bother doing), you are ahead of the game in leveraging your online reviews and reaching buyers when they are looking for their next car.
The auto industry needs help from Let Us Respond!
Consumers rarely make their next car purchase without thorough research—and reviews are at the forefront of their searching. Differentiating your car brand or dealership by responding to reviews shows drivers that you care about their experience when they drive off the lot, and that your brand can be trusted behind the wheel.
Responding to reviews becomes simple when you have the right team in place. Let Us Respond is well versed in the auto industry and offers free personalized demos to show you just what drivers are saying about your brand.