Customers are no strangers to investigative work. When they want a product, they are willing to do extensive research into finding the best product on the market. Current events in 2020 have drastically shifted online consumer shopping behaviors. In the U.S., year-over-year revenue growth online has increased by 68% as of mid-April, which surpassed the peak of 49% seen in January of the same year.
Brand reputation and online reviews play a critical role in turning a prospect into a lifelong customer. Whether it is deciding a place to eat, which facial cleanser is best for your skin type, or simply buying a new pair of running shoes, your future customers are heavily impacted by online reviews.
In a recent study focused on how online reviews influence sales, researchers found reviews have a greater impact on purchase likelihood for more expensive products than cheaper products. In fact, reviews displayed for higher-priced products saw an increase of 380% in conversion rate, while the reviews boosted conversion rate by 190% for lower-priced products.
For an eCommerce brand, it is paramount to strategize how to best leverage online customer reviews to increase your site’s conversion rate, drive revenue and improve your brand’s reputation. Below we will walk you through the top five ways to leverage reviews to fuel your online growth.
Using reviews on key pages to increase conversion rates
Positive consumer reviews properly placed can drastically improve your online conversion rate. Approximately 77% of online shoppers indicated they are more likely to purchase when a company displays product reviews.
How and where to use customer reviews on a website is an important factor as well. However, making sure you are adding reviews to your product display pages (PDPs) is the first step to building credibility with potential customers.
Using reviews to increase unique content on product pages to improve SEO
Drive more customers to your site by leveraging keyword-rich customer reviews. WIthout building multiple pieces of content optimized for long-tail keywords, you can leverage the power of user-generated content.
Long-tail keywords are typically three to four-words long and mimic a consumer’s natural voice search patterns. Incorporating these reviews to your core pages can help increase keyword targeting and search visibility. For example, if you search on Google for the term, “hot dog toaster,” you will see that Amazon ranks for the first organic result. Note, there are paid ads and shopping results, videos and a featured snippet that ranks above the organic listings when I search for that term.
The reviews talk about hot dogs and dog toasters often, which helps search engines, like Google, to understand that this product is relevant to people looking for a hot dog toaster.
You should look for ways to get reviews that utilize keywords that are being used by people as they search for products like the ones you are offering.
Using reviews in organic search results and ads through schema markup
Schema.org is the supportive vocabulary extension that is commonly used by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! for markup languages that are understood by all major search engines. This vocabulary makes it easier for webmasters to define content assets and greatly improve your brand’s appearance within Google SERPs.
There are two tools businesses can take advantage of when they are looking to incorporate review markups.
- Google’s Rich Snippets Markup Tool
The Rich Snippets Markup Helper tool allows you to see how to update your site so Google can better understand the data you are sharing.
- Google’s Rich Snippets Markup Testing Tool
The Rich Snippets Markup Testing Tool helps webmasters test Rich Snippet implementation. It also provides a view of what your snippet might look like when it is displayed in Google search results pages.
For branded or product searches, you will likely see industry-specific review sites or product pages on third-party sites pulling up on the search engine results pages (SERP) along with your site and product pages. For example, when you search purple mattresses you see these results show up:
Sites like Amazon, Sleepopolis, spleepfoundation.org, etc. and others show up on the first page for a branded keyword.
Understanding your brand’s online reputation will better help you optimize for increased conversions as you work to quickly show how your product(s) are rated and perceived by potential consumers shopping online.
Using reviews in emails to build credibility and boost click-through rates
Incorporating reviews into your email marketing will provide the persuasive push your customers need to commit to purchasing. Social proof evokes a sense of desire that makes your customers feel the need to fit in and to be a part of your business’ loyal fan base.
You can also incorporate reviews in all of your ads and marketing collateral to improve your ROAS across your marketing ecosystem.
Using reviews in remarketing ads on Facebook & Instagram
While promotional messages are good to share with your audience they do nothing to help in your ad strategy. Instead potential customers want to hear from your customers about why they can’t live without your brand or products. Take advantage of your positive reviews by promoting your praises through customizable and targeted Facebook and Instagram ads.
On average, Facebook ads that incorporate reviews and testimonials see higher click-through rates, lower costs per click and experience a lower cost per acquisition.
Incorporating social proof can have a dramatic impact on your results, and when combined with the following tactics, you can drastically improve your social advertising ROI.
Consider What Stage in the Buying Funnel You are Targeting
When selecting reviews for Facebook and Instagram ads it is crucial to understand what audience you are targeting and what stage in the funnel they happen to be in. First-time buyers will need to hear a different message than those who are more familiar with your website.
First-time users should be shown top-selling products and reviews that highlight the overall happiness of your customers. These reviews spark intrigue into your brand but do not overwhelm them with product specific information too early in the buyer’s journey.
After users have seen general reviews on your top selling products, it is then you can retarget them with an authentic user testimonial that describes the benefits of your product and brand as a whole.
Take Advantage of Your Ad Copy
When incorporating reviews into your advertising efforts it is important to remember the following three tips:
- Keep Your Copy Simple: You only have a few seconds to catch your customer’s eye, don’t waste your money on promoting novel length reviews. Keep it short and to the point for best results.
- Avoid the Straight-Forward Sales Pitch: Instead of highlighting your testimonials as reviews, try inviting your prospects to hear what your current clients are saying about your products.
- Stick To Your Brand’s Voice: When incorporating reviews, it is crucial to review the user-generated content to ensure the message is on-brand and effective. Avoid reviews that don’t match the tone on your website.
It is important to remember that it matters less what you say about your brand and more on what your customers are saying about your brand. By putting your customers’ reviews to work, you can help your prospects commit to purchase.
Strategically placing reviews on key pages, customizing ads based on your customers’ position in the sales funnel, and working customer reviews into your SEO and email marketing plans will effectively boost your online sales growth.
Post Author: Greg Shuey
Greg is a member of the executive team at Stryde, an eCommerce digital marketing agency. He is a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with businesses, large and small, to grow revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.