E-commerce is a world where customers convince customers. If you have a solid review strategy you can turn trust into sales and build a powerful online reputation.
This blog post will look at the rise of review marketing and how you can use your customer’s voice as a powerful marketing tool.
Word Of Mouth
Research suggests that word of mouth (WoM) is the main driver for between 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions [Source: Mckinsey]. This tends to be the case when users are faced with uncertainty (such as buying something online for the first time).
A high volume of reviews helps build the trust and credibility of your site and provides guidance on the products that people are most satisfied with. This helps to reduce anxiety about your site and the products you sell.
CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos famously said ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’.
These days users freely take their conversations from ‘the room’ onto online platforms where their views appear all over Google, Facebook and Twitter.
To ensure your customer’s voice is genuine and positive there are a number of different ways to boost your online reputation.
Google Partnered Reviews
The simplest way to listen to the voice of your customer (VOC) is to collect reviews.
Using a review provider that is a Google licensed partner, you can show gold star seller and product ratings in Google search results.
Google says that “ads with Seller Ratings get a 17% higher Click through Rate (CTR) than the same ads without ratings.” This in turn will lead to increased traffic and increased opportunity for conversions.
Google Product Ratings
If you collect reviews at product level (not just service level) your site will be eligible for star ratings in Google Shopping.
Users turn to Google Shopping when they are towards the end of the buying cycle. Star ratings add trust and help to convince browsers that your product has credibility.
To be eligible for Google product ratings you need:
- Products with at least 3 reviews
- A domain with at least 50 reviews across all products
Product ratings only show in Google Shopping Ads (see example below).
For product reviews Google source data from a select group of third-party review sites which are pre-approved aggregators.
According to Pew Research, 73% of internet users rely on Social Networks for interacting with friends, colleagues and family. Also, 53% of Twitter users recommend products within their tweets.
With this in mind, it’s important that you promote your positive customer reviews via social media.
These social signals will promote your user’s positive customer experience and enhance your brand’s reputation.
A bi-product of sharing reviews on social media is that it can help assist search engine rankings.
While social media is not a core ranking signal it does show Google you are a big brand – and we all know Google favours big brands!
Fake reviews are illegal and will cause serious damage to your online reputation. In October 2015, Amazon filed a lawsuit against people claiming they offer reviews for sale, which has highlighted this issue.
Fake reviews can be avoided by using closed-feedback platforms. Review providers only allow customers to leave reviews which are purchase verified. This means you have 100% genuine reviews from real customers.
Customer reviews help keep users on your site longer which in turn helps increase your conversion rate. In a study by Digital Marketing agency Red-Eye, Feefo merchant Monarch Airlines saw an average increase of 3% in conversions when their review score was placed next to a buy now button.
The voice of your customer can be even more powerful in video form. 85% of users are more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. People also trust video reviews much more as they are harder to fake.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
So what exactly is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is a person, or customer who talks favourably about a brand or product, and then passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages about the brand to other people.
Brand advocates tend to be born through first class customer service and when a user has a pleasant post-click experience.
If you want to ensure 5-star ratings of your product there are a number of ways to increase the quality and quantity of your reviews.
For customers to review your products they must be aware that they have the option to do so. Email your users straight after their purchase thanking them and asking them to write a review.
Send out an email to your existing customers asking for a review. Existing customers are already familiar with your website and are more likely to leave a positive review.
Test Review Location
It’s worth testing where to ask for reviews in the user buyer cycle, e.g. the purchase confirmation page or thank you URL.
So how can you integrate reviews seamlessly into your website?
Only your genuine customers are invited to leave their feedback which means you are not open to abuse from fraudulent or fictitious reviews.
Search Engine Rankings
A solid review strategy can help you dominate search engines for brand related terms. If you use review rich snippets on your website you can use the Schema Markup to show stars in organic search results.
Organic star ratings are known to improve your Click Through Rate which shows Google your content is relevant to the search queries you are ranking for.
Page One Domination
As well as ranking your own website in brand related search results you can also rank you individual third party review page to dominate the listings.
When a user is in research mode they will often use a search query like [Brand + Product + Reviews] to see what feedback has been given on the customer service or quality of the product.
If you generate a positive review score and rank the reviews highly for brand related searches this will verify to users that you are a trusted merchant.
Video Review Rich Snippets
Another way to dominate search results is to mark up video review content with Rich Snippets.
This is a type of on-page markup which can help search engines index and understand your video content (see example below).
It must be noted that you’ll need to embed the video review onto your website first, and then mark up the page accordingly.
Video content is 52 times more likely to show up on page one of organic search results than text-based content, so video reviews can help facilitate your SEO campaigns as well.
To mark up your video reviews correctly follow these instructions.
New ‘Top Rated’ Ad Format
Google understand the importance of customer reviews mainly because it validates the results they are displaying to users.
They are now testing a new ad format which ranks products in number order.
Google is using rich snippet markup provided by retailers, and using the aggregated customer ratings to put them in a ranked order of best rated. The little blue or grey ‘1st’, ‘2nd’ , ‘3rd’ & 4th is a great way for retailers to show off their ‘top customer rated’ products (see example below).
From the example above it’s clear that the number of reviews is a core ranking factor. The products that have a high quantity of reviews will be heavily weighted when it comes to ranking the ‘best’ products in order.
Review volume will vary depending on the industry or product. To ensure that you have a high response rate make sure you use a trusted and recognised review provider.
So there you have it. The voice of the customer (VOC) can be extremely powerful if you collect and share genuine, positive feedback.
Collecting reviews helps you gain valuable business insights. It also gives you the opportunity to improve your customer’s online experience.
If you execute a solid review strategy you will grow your brand’s reputation and turn trust into sales.