Using Reviews To Increase Your Conversions
Are you using your reviews to market your business?
This guide will show you 18 easy ways to get ahead of the competition, get more customers and lower your acquisition costs.
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Having Reviews Is Essential, But It’s Only The First Step
Today, the winners in business are not always the ones with the lowest prices or the biggest range of products. In fact the winners are not even always the biggest brands. The winners are trusted companies who offer an exceptional customer experience again and again.
Simply, the winners are those who are listening to their customers
We all know we need reviews on our website, we know visitors to our website want to see reviews to help them make their buying decision.
But that is just the beginning.
Reviews Are A Phenomenal Marketing Asset
Reviews form the best type of social proof you can get for your business.
Used in the right way your reviews can improve every area of your marketing performance and therefore increase your overall conversions:
- Reviews build brand awareness faster by making your business more memorable.
- Reviews improve the response from all your marketing activity, be it a better conversion rate from an abandoned basket email or improved click-through rate from your Google AdWords.
- Reviews are great for increasing repeat purchases too. They build trust with your customers faster and the more a customer trusts you, the more they’ll buy from you.
Increase Traffic To Your Site: Grow New Customer Acquisition And Repeat Purchases
At the heart of any eCommerce growth strategy lies the need to efficiently increase relevant traffic to your site.
Deploying reviews in the right way throughout your marketing mix can help achieve all of this:
- Increase click-through rates
- Increase the likelihood of purchase once the traffic reaches the website
- Attract better quality traffic to your website
The tips are focused on three core eCommerce marketing methods: PPC, SEO and email. This is where reviews will have the biggest impact. There are also a few tips for other ways you can use reviews in your marketing before finishing with site optimisation tips.
These tips should improve both your new customer acquisition and your repeat purchases.
Pay Per Click Advertising,
On average 20% of eCommerce orders come from the paid search channel. Only direct and organic traffic drive more orders.
Unlike direct and organic traffic there is a cost to every single click you get from PPC, so anything that improves the return on that investment is a must do.
Earn Google Seller Ratings For Your Google Adwords
Once you’ve got 150 reviews within the last 12 months and a score of 3.5/5 or higher, the performance-enhancing stars that will make your business stand out ahead of the competition can appear in your AdWords ads.
These stars appear on your ads in Google search and on Google search partners’ listings. They also appear in the merchant reviews on both Google Shopping and Google AdWords.
That’s great news for getting new customers (and returning customers) to your website. It puts social proof right into your ads, making your business stand out from the competition in the search results.
With Google AdWords you get extra benefits following an increase in click-through rates which is an important factor in determining the Quality Score of your ads. Simply put, a higher Quality Score means you get more traffic for the same budget.
Improve Your Adwords Performance Even More
A higher click-through rate should increase your sales and will usually improve your Quality Score meaning more traffic for a lower cost per click. This in turn gives you a lower cost per acquisition and frees up more budget for testing.
Here are a couple of ways to take it beyond the Seller Ratings and improve your AdWords performance even further.
- Keyword-based ads appearing in the search engine results.
- Text and image ads on the Google Display Network
This should increase click-through rates across your AdWords activity.
Don’t Stop With Google
Google is no longer the only high volume PPC option. These tactics work on the other PPC platforms too.
Just like including reviews in your Google ads will increase response, so will including reviews in your Bing, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other ad platform) advertising.
Make Sure Your Remarketing Is Ready For Action
Remarketing straddles many channels and software platforms. You can run remarketing advertising using Google, Facebook, Twitter and more.
No matter which you’re using, all of them can experience a performance improvement if you include your reviews in the adverts:
- Quote an individual customer review.
- Use your TrustScore in the images.
- Tell everyone that you’re number 1 in your category.
- Show how many customers have rated you highly.
Given that with remarketing you’re putting adverts in front of people who have some existing relationship with your business, the extra social proof might be the deciding factor that tempts customers to you.
Search Engine Optimisation
Seeing your business listed in the search engine results may be the very first time someone learns about your business. You want to make a great impression within a very limited space.
Research shows 21.8% of eCommerce orders come from the organic search channel. That’s higher than any other channel so you should be doing all you can to increase your organic traffic.
Customer Generated Content Is Seo Go
Having reviews on your product pages will improve how often you appear in the search engine results and the more you appear, the more traffic you’ll get.
The reason that reviews on your product pages help is that they provide the type of content that Google loves:
Both of these elements help Google to better understand your page and your site. This enables them to show your page in the results for more relevant search terms, more often, resulting in a higher volume of better quality traffic to your site.
The icing on the cake is that all this happens automatically – no extra copywriting for you. Just make sure you’re displaying the reviews in a way that Google can pick up on.
Star Ratings For Your Google Organic Results
It’s not just your site’s appearance in paid search that can benefit from star ratings. Adding some simple code to your product pages will bring your star ratings into your Google organic listings too.
This requires a one-off project to add extra code to your product page template. Once that’s done every single product page on the site will flag the existence of product reviews to Google (and the other search engines).
This code is referred to as a “Rich Snippet”, and rich snippets can flag far more than just reviews to the search engines. They can highlight images, videos, the product data itself and much more. Before you brief your web team to make the rich snippets change for your reviews visit Schema.org to see which other rich snippets could be useful for your website.
Once the code is added and Google’s picked up on the change, you can just sit back and enjoy the fact that your product pages are standing out in the organic listings thanks to your reviews. The more your business stands out in the organic listings, the more traffic you’ll get.
Let The Review Platform’s Website Do The Hard Work For You
Whichever review platform you’re with you probably have a merchant page on their URL featuring your reviews, company profile, contact details and so on. These pages often rank really highly in the search results for your brand name and connected searches (e.g. “your brand reviews”).
That’s important because it means another listing in the search engine results pages is going to be giving people a great impression of your business and driving traffic to your website.
Make sure that that profile page is accurate.
- Does it have the right call to action?
- Is the branding up to date?
- Is the description up to date?
- Is it linking to the right website?
Simple things, but if they’re out of date you will get less of this traffic to your website, and will also erode trust with the consumers who notice the errors.
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Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to drive sales to your website, both encouraging your enquirers to buy for the first time and getting those essential repeat purchases.
You have more control over the traffic from email marketing than SEO and the costs are typically much lower than PPC. On average email drives 18.4% of eCommerce orders making email a very attractive marketing channel.
Every improvement in email click-through rate is going to help you increase your conversions, and just like reviews can help increase click-through rate in SEO and PPC, they can help improve click-through rate in email.
With email you can also be creative with your reviews, using them as the basis for different types of email content. For example, one email may focus on aftercare service whilst another on feedback about a key product benefit.
Show How Great You Are In Every Single Email Broadcast
Every single email you send should include proof of your trustworthiness.
That might be just adding your TrustScore to your email header or a customer quote to the footer.
You can also craft emails completely focused on social proof as these often have a great response.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Our top reviewed products this month
- Thank you for making us a 5 star company
- 5 ways we’ve used your reviews to improve our customer service
- Meet Sue our top customer service rep
- We thought our teapots were great, your feedback has made them even better!
- The products you love
Abandoned Basket Reminders
You’ll always get some abandoned baskets so a campaign to encourage customers to come back and checkout is really important.
Many businesses rely on offers to get a good response from their abandoned basket emails, yet adding reviews could generate a big enough response that you don’t need to give away your precious margin.
Adding a couple of customer reviews and your TrustScore to your abandoned basket emails reminds customers of how great your service and products are which encourages them to come back and complete their purchase.
Control The Conversation In Welcome Campaigns
Welcome campaigns are your first opportunity to build a direct relationship with a future customer.
A welcome campaign will be received by people who’ve already bought, but the majority of your email signups will not have bought and be brand new to your business.
This is the time to do everything you can to convince them you are a business they want to buy from. Here’s some easy things you could include in your welcome email campaigns to increase response:
- A different customer review in each email
- Include your TrustScore in the header or footer
- Feature your top-rated products
Using Reviews In The Rest Of Your Marketing
It’s easy to purely focus your effort on the three big eCommerce traffic channels – SEO, PPC and email. But never forget the social proof your reviews convey can improve the response to all your marketing – both offline and online.
Whether it is marketing designed to drive a direct response or marketing that makes new people aware your business exists and leaves them with a positive impression, what better way to do that than to show them how much other people like you.
Product packaging and parcels
Include reviews and your TrustScore on the product packaging itself. Whether someone buys from you directly or via another shop you wholesale to, they’re going to hear about your fantastic products and customer service.
From simple postcards to full catalogues, make sure your TrustScore is clearly visible from the start. If the marketing piece features products then add individual quotes from reviews about those products too.
Social Media And Blogging
In 2011 digital marketing agency ODM Group released a report showing that 75% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchasing decisions. That means your social media content needs to present the best possible view of your business.
Make sure you’re added your TrustScore to your to your profile page descriptions and photos. Lots of the content ideas in the email tips are equally relevant to your social media and blog.
Improve Your Website and Improve The Performance Of All Your Marketing
All the methods we’ve looked at have demonstrated to your customers and future customers your highly trustworthy reputation. It has also shown them how great you are at customer service and how amazing your products and services are.
You now need to make sure that positive impression continues to be reinforced when they get to your website. By keeping the message consistent you’ll increase your conversion rates.
Header And Footer – The Quick Way To Improve Every Page On Your Website
Customers can arrive anywhere on your site, so they might be making the critical decision to buy on any page. Social proof is a great way to encourage them to decide in your favour, to buy, or to stay.
The easiest way to make sure the trust-building social proof message gets across on your whole site is to add your TrustScore to either your header or footer.
It’s a simple change that will make a big difference, not least because the repetition of the message will make it more likely to be absorbed by the customer.
The Checkout – Show How Trustworthy You Are
When you’re looking to improve the conversion rate of a website, the checkout is crucial. You’ve worked hard getting each visitor to your site and all the way through to the checkout. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste now.
Carts are abandoned for many reasons, but at the root of many of those reasons is a lack of trust. Suddenly an unexpected cost or problem appears (such as delivery timings, delivery prices, payment methods), or they have second thoughts about whether the product is good enough, or worth it.
By adding reassuring messages on the basket page you will increase the feelings of trust the customer has towards you, encouraging them to continue with the purchase, thus increasing the conversion rate.
These reassuring messages could include “28 day money back guarantee”, “Free returns”, or “All customer enquiries responded to within an hour” and of course, reviews.
To improve the checkout conversion rate, add a glowing customer review and your TrustScore. At this point if you have a “we’re number 1 in our category” award then use it to show the customer that you’re the best company to buy this product from.
The Homepage – First Impressions Count On Your Number One Landing Page
When it comes to website optimisation the homepage is frequently overlooked in favour of the pages closer to the end of the purchase funnel, the basket, checkout and product pages. That is a missed opportunity.
The homepage is the most visited page on almost all websites and it’s usually the number one landing page. It’s a page where customers get their first impression of your business, as well as a page they keep coming back to throughout their relationship with you.
On this hugely influential page you need to showcase your great customer service and how well you look after your customers. That means your reviews need to be front and centre.
Here’s some great ways to use reviews to create a great first impression on your homepage:
- Highlight the quality and quantity of your reviews.
- Feature 3 – 5 recent customer reviews.
- Highlight your best reviewed products to help visitors find the most popular products quickly.
These approaches can also be taken on any other page that’s an important landing page for you. Prioritise pages which have high traffic volumes and worse than average bounce rates.
Exit Pages – Plug The Holes And Keep People On Your Website
Every journey has its start point and its end point – and if that end point isn’t the “Thank you for your order” page, then finding ways to keep people from leaving will increase conversion rates.
First you need to identify any pages where lots of people are leaving.To find these go to the “Exit Pages” report in Google Analytics and look for those that have a high volume of traffic and a high exit % score.
Once you’ve found your problem pages, use the same methods as for the landing pages to add your reviews and reduce the exit rate.
With exit pages it’s worth taking the time to look at the actual page and see if you can spot a problem. Are there enough calls to action on those pages to keep people on the website? Is the page a dead end on the website? And of course, are there any individual reviews that would really help on this page? For example, a common exit point is likely to be the Delivery and Returns page – so if you have reviews where customers praise your delivery and returns service, they’d be a great addition to this page.