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13 Age-based Local Business Review Preferences You Can Serve

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13 Age-based Local Business Review Preferences You Can Serve

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Image credit: Mitchell Joyce

Today, we’ll be learning more about customer preferences by age group surrounding local business reviews, taking a deeper dive into some of the data from The Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior | SEO Industry Report. In our initial report, we covered the leading characteristics of customers as a whole, but here, we’ll surface some intriguing differences that appeared when we segmented survey responses by age.

I want to preface this by stating that age discrimination of every kind is unacceptable. I’m not a fan of the fight over crumbs that underlies divisive and disrespectful slogans involving “okays” and “boomers” or “millennials” and “avocado toast”. Particularly in the US, these types of groupings only serve to divide and dishonor friends, family, and neighbors. Instead, let’s look with respect at the preferences of local business customers when it comes to reading and writing reviews so that we can operate and market local brands to suit the needs and tastes of lots of people in our communities. Honoring everyone is the best basis for great customer service.

Similar review habits and preferences

Image credit: Steve Bailey

Breaking down the survey by age groups of 18-29, 30-60, and 61+, we saw more commonalities than differences in behaviors and preferences surrounding reviews. For example:

  • About ⅓ of all three groups say their commonest habit is to read reviews on a weekly basis

  • A little over ½ of all three groups say reviews are somewhat important in the process of deciding whether a business can be trusted

  • About ½ of all three groups visit the business website as their next step after reading enough positive reviews of a brand, about ⅓ of the youngest and eldest groups say their next step is to visit the business in person, with a ¼ of the middle group doing the same.

  • Over ½ of all three groups will definitely seek out a business if its owner responses to reviews resolve stated problems, with the two older groups being slightly more willing to do so than the youngest group.

  • About ½ of all three groups require a minimum 4 star rating to consider doing business with a local brand, with the eldest group having slightly higher expectations than the two younger groups.

  • About ⅓ of all three groups say they will “sometimes” leave a review when asked to do so.

Different review habits and preferences by age group

Image credit: GT#4

For the purposes of this column, Group A is people aged 18-29, Group B is people aged 30-60, and Group C is people aged 61+.

1. Older Americans write fewer reviews

When asked how often they write reviews, about ¼ of Groups A and B say they only write reviews a few times a year. Most of them are more active review writers than this. However, 43% of Group C falls into the category of only writing reviews a few times a year. Brands may have to work harder to build up their online reputation if their model relies heavily on the patronage of older customers.

2. Older Americans are less tied to Google reviews

A little over 80% of both Groups A and B say they spend the majority of their time reading local business reviews on Google. Interestingly, that number drops to just 62% for Group C, with older Americans having more diverse reading habits that span platforms like the BBB, Yelp, Nextdoor, Facebook and first-party reviews on local business websites. Local brands that rely on the patronage of older customers should be sure to be managing reputation across a wide variety of platforms.

3. Younger Americans trust social media more as a source of local business reputation

When asked which sources, other than local business reviews, respondents rely on to understand local business reputation, a little over 60% of Groups A and B cite friends and family, while an even greater percentage (74%) turn to this resource. 61% of the youngest group relies on social media, a slightly smaller 57% of the middle group does so, but a significantly smaller 43% of the oldest group does so. Meanwhile, an identical 43% of Groups A and B consult the business’ own website as their next choice, but for Group C, 44% turn to the Better Business Bureau. Local brands should note here that younger Americans are skewed more towards social media information, while older Americans still place more trust on established platforms like the BBB.

4. Younger Americans prefer SMS-based review requests over print

About 1/2 of all three groups cite email as their #1 preference for receiving review requests and in-person requests come second for everybody. However, whereas the third choice for Groups A and B is SMS/text-based review asks, Group C prefers to be asked for reviews via receipts, invoices and other print materials. This is an important divide, and while I’ll say that, in my own experience, some of my elders text me more than my nieces and nephews, it’s clear that local brands must diversify their review acquisition methodologies to meet the different expectations of both groups.

5. Younger Americans need extra guidance with the review writing process

Let’s have fun squashing some stereotypes here! It may be a meme to depict young folks as tech-savvy and older folks as behind-the-tech-times, but here’s a lived truth from my own life: my father knows way more about computers than I ever will, and my mother is a much better searcher than I am.

In this data set, we see that the top reason our youngest group doesn’t leave more reviews is because they find the process too confusing and difficult. In other words, they likely require a little extra help and guidance in understanding how to conveniently and efficiently review your local business. Groups B and C already have the review-writing process well in hand, and say that their top blocker to writing more reviews is simply forgetting to do so when they have the free time. For these groups, reminders rather than tutorials are likely to be most effective.

6. The youngest Americans are feeling the burden of bad products

66% of Group B and 76% of Group C say that the top cause of them writing negative reviews is experiencing rude or bad service at a local business. I find it telling and poignant that older Americans have the highest expectations of being treated well by neighborhood companies and are severely let down when owners and staff are unpleasant. Some of us are old enough to remember when nearly all shops were abundantly staffed with well-trained employees who were earning enough of a living wage to have inner funds of contentment and happiness – it’s a far cry from the understaffed warehouses and automated chat bots that too often pass for customer service these days.

However, the data point that interested me most in this set is that our youngest group cites bad products as the top cause of them leaving negative reviews. Your mother-in-law may have had the same washing machine for the last 20 years, but your niece has already had to replace hers twice in the five years since she moved into an apartment with her friends. According to Statista, youngest people are also the poorest, and having to spend what little money they have on shoddy goods is a serious burden, especially when coupled with pandemic-driven supply chain breakages that have made most of us seek out products of indifferent quality because there is no other choice. Local brands should strongly consider overhauling supply chains wherever possible to find higher quality local products to avoid negative reviews and safeguard reputation in the eyes of the rising generation of consumers.

7. Youngest and eldest Americans have more modest expectations of review response times

15% of group B expects to receive an owner response to their review within 2 hours, compared to just 7% of group A and only 1% of group C. 23% of group B expects to hear back with 24 hours, while this figure is at 19% for group A and 18% for group C. 33% of group A expects a response within 24 hours, while 27% is the figure for both B and C. There’s an opportunity here to surpass expectations for all three groups by responding as quickly as possible to reviews, which means paying attention to incoming review alerts and finding time to respond.

8. Older Americans are more forgiving when problems are resolved

67% of group B and 61% of group C will definitely update a negative review and low star rating if an owners response resolves their complaints. This figure drops to just 50% for group A. Perhaps the more lived experience we have, the more aware we become of how easily mistakes happen, and the more readily we recognize and reward efforts to make amends.

9. Younger Americans read a greater number of reviews before deciding a business is worth a try

41% of group A read 10-20 reviews before determining a local business is worth trying, and a similar 37% of group B does the same. But the dominant characteristic of Group C is that 41% of them read just 5-9 reviews before making up their minds. This is open to many interpretations. Perhaps the more experienced we are, the more quickly we can scan a scenario and make a judgment. Or, perhaps the younger we are, the more we count on the process of reading lots of reviews to help us gauge public opinion before making our own decision. In any case, local businesses must be sure that there is plenty of reading material in the form of reviews from both of the younger groups.

10. Eldest Americans place the most trust in the public and the least in brand messaging

A pronounced 74% of group C says it places more trust in what customers say about a local business vs. what that business says about itself. For group A, that figure drops to 61% and group B comes in at 69%. Doubtless, the longer we live, the more experience teaches us the difference between reality and advertising, and it’s important to note that for more than 60% of all three groups, control of brand narrative is now firmly in customers’ hands. This is the best of all arguments for why customer service is the core of the business model – it writes the brand story that the majority of the public believes most.

11. Low stars shed the most trust for eldest Americans

Well over half of group C says that a low star rating compared to local competitors is the top source of lost trust when it comes to local business reviews. Groups A and B put the appearance of a business or its staff self-reviewing as their top cause of lost trust. This dynamic shows how trust can be lost at first glance for our eldest group because stars are immediately visible on review profiles, highlighting how important it is for the cumulative reviews to be speaking well of the business. Meanwhile, groups A and B are more investigative, looking more deeply at reviewers’ profiles for signs of suspicious activity. Brands must be sure to avoid all spammy practices that would rightly give these groups cause to doubt the authenticity of their reputation.

12. Youngest Americans are most put off by argumentative owner responses

When asked which factors of an owner response would make them avoid the business, the top element cited by Group A was the owner arguing with the customer. This highlights the need for deft, accountable responses, even when the business believes the customer is wrong. Meanwhile, about half of Group B cites failure of the owner response to fix a cited problem as the characteristic that would make them avoid a business, and nearly ¾ of Group C say the same. Clearly, the more life experience we have, the more we value brands that are great at solving problems that inevitably arise in the course of normal business operations.

13. Eldest Americans have the most motivation (and justification) for sharing their experience via reviews

They say that wisdom comes with age and I see a confirmation of this in the data that 85% of Group C’s primary motivation for writing reviews is to share their experience with others. For Group B, that number is 72%, and for Group A it is 69%. This puts me in mind of how Civics was a required high school class in my parents’ generation, but I seldom hear it spoken of by people of my age group, and I am not sure what part it plays in current school curriculum. Ideas like valuing the sagacity of elders and freely sharing knowledge for community benefit are excellent standards we should not lose. Local brands are extremely fortunate in having volunteers, both young and old, who are continuously speaking about them in every neighborhood across the country.

In conclusion: be sure everybody is sitting at your table

Image credit: Shanghai 031

Some local offerings are geared towards specific age groups. For example, a senior community club has a particular audience, as does a pediatrician. If your customers and clients are entirely within a narrow age-range, pay particular attention to the review preference differences we saw in today’s column.

However, what will be more common is that a local business with a general audience will be looking at how to increase the engagement of further segments within their community which aren’t yet frequenting the brand. For example, a clothier might want both elder and younger shoppers to know their shop stocks a wide variety of garments for many ages and tastes. It’s in cases like these that knowledge of specific habits and preferences can get the brand closer to having meaningful interactions with a wider audience.

In the digital age, it turns out that your local business reputation is like a very large dining table, and by considering how each of your guests likes to be served, you’ll be sure there’s a seat for everybody. When it comes to age, diversity, equity, and inclusion make for better conversation and better community.

Eager for more insights? Read: The Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 

Meaning… 

DXP 

Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 

Welcome 

Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 

DAM 

Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 

PIM 

Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 

Web 

Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 

Personalization 

Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 

ODP 

Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 

 

So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 

 

Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 

 

Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com 

 

Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  


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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts


Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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