It’s neglected, yet powerful.
Most organizations understand the impact an online review can make. A recent study found online reviews could increase conversion rates by a whopping 270 percent!
What if you could make it better?
What if you had a way to improve the effectiveness of your online reviews? A way to produce a compounding effect, boosting your conversion rates in the process? Would you use it?
Most businesses won’t use this strategy
They’re not refusing to, they’re simply unaware of the strategy. Most organizations don’t know how to make their hard-earned reviews work even harder for them. In reality, the strategy is actually really simple.
Reviews + marketing.
Reviews, when combined with marketing, create a kind of compounding effect. Most prospects seek online reviews out for themselves. But they satisfice. They dig through your review profile, searching for an acceptable number of reviews.
Others look for aggregate reviews.
Review + marketing uses satisficing to boost review responsiveness. Here’s a simple overview outlining how it works.
- Prospects are introduced to your brand
- You’re selected as a possible candidate. Prospects begin searching for reviews
- Prospects satisfice, they search for an acceptable number of reviews
- They do the same with your competitors
- Review + marketing enables prospects to satisfice; prospects receive your very best reviews
- They make a decision
Review + marketing gives you the chance to sway prospects to your corner using objective, third-party reviews from trustworthy sources. It’s a powerful marketing power-up, one that enables you to attract and convert a larger number of prospects.
Historically, eCommerce has been better about using reviews in their advertising, commercials, billboards, etc. compared to service businesses. It hasn’t gone mainstream with service organizations yet so service businesses that adopt this strategy now will be ahead of the curve.
Here are several strategies you can use to do just that.
Review Marketing Strategy #1: The upsell + reviews
Upselling is incredibly effective. In 2006, Amazon reported that 35% of its revenues came from their cross-selling and upselling efforts. Research shows product recommendations are responsible for 10 to 30 percent of e-commerce revenues.
Sophisticated marketers know upselling works.
What many marketers don’t know is how to use upselling with reviews. Here’s how you do it.
First, reach out to the top 5 percent of your customer base. These are your admirers, the ideal customers you’d do your very best to keep. If you haven’t already, reach out to these customers. You’re looking for three specific things:
- A five-star review. This isn’t a coercive effort. Reaching out to customers who you know have had an outstanding experience with your brand. They’re happy, satisfied and, most importantly, loyal.
- A sales objection. You’re looking to identify their initial deal breaker, the one thing that would’ve prevented them from buying. Here’s how you draw those details out in your review.
- Measurable outcomes. Look for details on the outcome of their situation. What did they find as a result of purchasing your product or using your service?
Asking customers the right questions means you generate amazing detail organically in each review. Here’s what that review looks like:
Can you see these ingredients in their review?
These are the kind of reviews you need for this strategy.
Next, you’ll want to tie these turbocharged reviews to a premium product or service. If you’re running a hotel, this could be a premium suite. If you’re a massage therapist you can tie your review to a premium upgrade or extended service.
Good: A review on your upsell page/window
Better: An embedded review on your upsell page
Best: Embedded reviews with a video/audio on your upsell page
You can use this strategy in a variety of methods:
Review Marketing Strategy #2: In-store signage + reviews
You can use in-store signage + reviews to boost conversion rates for in-store purchases. Use the process shared above in the upsell + review section to capture the amazing reviews I mentioned earlier.
Be careful with the strategy.
Timing and positioning are key here. You’ll want to use this strategy in the appropriate time and place. If you’re running a personal training studio, you’ll have prospects who are interested in checking things out. Place reviews on in-store signage.
You’ll need three specific ingredients to make this work:
- A five-star review. Your review should have the same three ingredients I covered earlier. Five stars, sales objection and measurable outcomes.
- Permission to use your customer’s review and/or likeness on your in-store signage. Customers are more likely to give you the permission you need if you give them control over the when, what and how long.
- An irresistible offer. You want to give customers an introductory offer that minimizes risk and maximizes benefit. Your call-to-action/offer to provide customers with a strong incentive to buy.
You need different types of signage for different purposes. This will vary depending on the type of business and industry you’re in. If you’re operating in a retail environment you may need:
You’ll want to make sure the reviews on your signs are (a.) Relevant to your product or service (b.) Referencing objective reviews customers can verify (e.g. prominent reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google) and (c.) Providing an incredible amount of value.
Review Marketing Strategy #3: Retargeting + reviews
Retargeting (and remarketing) is an effective way to capture lost web traffic. Retargeting gives you the opportunity to convert several segments of traffic on your site.
- Cold traffic: Customers who are interested in buying but abandoned your site without converting. This could be a customer who’s in the research phase or visitors who aren’t ready to buy
- Warm traffic: Customers who have converted in some way (e.g. subscribers, customers, fans, etc.) and have expressed interest in your business, product or service
- Hot traffic: Customers who have purchased an introductory product or service from you. They’re interested, focused and actively engaged in your business
Retargeting enables you to target all three simultaneously. Here’s how you can use retargeting + reviews to attract and convert new customers.
- Use geo-fencing, contextual data and retargeting to attract customers who have visited a specific location (e.g. your business), live in a particular city, zip code or neighborhood.
- If you’re a service provider, you can use retargeting + reviews to share reviews with your prospects during the evaluation period. For example, attorneys can share reviews and lead magnets with prospects who have requested (and completed) a free consultation.
- Use upsells, cross-sells and down-sells + reviews in your retargeting campaign to convert existing customers.
- Use retargeting to convert customers to a new product or service.
- Use retargeting + reviews (as a component of your crisis management plan) to counter bad press and negative reviews.
- Expose more prospects to your review portfolio via your featured and prominent reviews (e.g. Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.)
- Use retargeting + reviews to draw more customers into your review funnel.
The possibilities are endless here.
Retargeting gives you the chance to maximize your ad spend. Combining retargeting and reviews gives you the opportunity to extend the reach and influence of your reviews.
Review Marketing Strategy #4: Video + reviews
Remember the review format I mentioned in the upsell section? We’re going to use that again here. Only we’re going to extend things further.
Reach out to the top 5 percent of your customer base. Your admirers and customer evangelists, the ideal customers you’d do your very best to keep. You’re looking for the same three things – a five-star review, sales objections and measurable outcomes.
We’re going to change things up.
When you reach out to your customers, ask them if they’re willing to share their thoughts in a video call. You can use tools like Snagit to record your calls via Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. Next, transcribe the call and convert their review to text.
Reach out to your customers.
Thank them again for sharing their feedback/review. Let them know that you’ve transcribed their review (send them a copy via email). In that email, ask customers if they’d be willing to copy and paste their review to your review platform of choice.
Automate as much of the process as possible.
Make it simple and easy.
Here’s a template you can use to request these video/text combo reviews.
Hi [Customer Name],
How can we make things better for you? Would you be willing to share your thoughts on a short 4 min. video call via Google Meet?
Only have 6 questions for you.
Then, once you’ve recorded the call you can follow up with this email:
Hi [Customer Name],
You’re amazing! Thank you so much for your feedback! I appreciate everything you’ve done for us!
I went ahead and transcribed our call. Here’s a copy of that.
If you’re willing, would you be open to sharing this review on Google? It’s copy and paste (no worries if you can’t). I’ve added some review links to [Yelp review link], [Facebook recommendation link] and [Google review link].
Keep your request short, simple and sweet. The length of your email has a direct impact on your conversion/response rates.
Here’s the most important part.
This request should be reserved for your very best customers. The ones who know you the best and have spent a significant amount of time working with you. They’re your evergreen customers, your evangelists and biggest supporters.
It’s too much of an ask for the average customer.
You can use these combo reviews in a variety of marketing materials including:
- Landing pages
- Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter status updates
- Sales pages
- Confirmation pages
- Instagram stories
- Pinterest posts
- Imgur, Reddit and forum posts
Review Marketing Strategy #5: Confirmation pages
Your confirmation pages have something in common with your upsell pages. Your newest subscribers are far more likely to buy/convert again.
Adding reviews to your confirmation pages is a fantastic way to:
You can use a variety of reviews to boost subscriber response rates. Reviews from bloggers can generate buzz for a specific product or service. Reviews from influencers can boost demo and free trial subscriptions. Embedded reviews, tweets and Facebook recommendations will boost social impact and increase virality.
Review Marketing Strategy #6: Autoresponder sequences + reviews
Text and email autoresponder sequences are effective ways to utilize the online reviews you already have! An autoresponder sequence gives you the tools and resources you need to boost conversions, regardless of what they may be.
These autoresponder sequences can be referred to directly or indirectly. They can be included in the autoresponder sequences itself or simply information that’s pointed to.
You can use these autoresponder sequences for a variety of options.
- Sending emails and/or text messages to customers who are already in your review funnel, using existing reviews to attract more reviews
- Matching products and services in your autoresponder sequence to reviews. Any product or service you pitch has a complement of reviews to go with it
- Using a text + email autoresponder sequence to handle negative reviews and bad press
- Encouraging subscribers to join another list
- Including reviews as part of a sales autoresponder sequence
- Lead with a text message autoresponder sequence then, once customers respond, use triggering events and automation to transition to email and social media
When should you use reviews in your autoresponder sequence?
- You’re looking to include social proof in your sales funnel
- You’re using reviews (positive or negative) as bait to entice new customers to leave a positive review on your behalf
- Mobilizing your customer evangelists to counteract hate trolling, bad press, a social faux pas or negative reviews
- Using your online reviews as bait to encourage subscribers on multiple email lists
You can use a variety of tools to promote and automate your text, email and autoresponder sequences.
Review Marketing Strategy #7: Third-party profiles + reviews
Brands today are omnichannel.
Sales are made in a variety of places across the web. If you’re running an ecommerce site, you may be selling your products on third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Overstock, eBay, Etsy, etc.
Reviews are a great way to stand out.
You can post reviews using various methods that will help you stand out. Here are a few options you can use to attract customer attention.
- Post excerpts of reviews in your product descriptions
- Add screenshots of product reviews to product images
- Add aggregate review counts to product or service descriptions (e.g., 10,000+ 5-star reviews)
- Add video reviews of the specific products to individual product listings
- Add third-party marketplace reviews to your website, and social media profiles
Customers expect an omnichannel experience; your online reviews should be as well. This is important because your reviews can be added to:
If customers spend time on these platforms, your business and reviews should be there.
Review Marketing Strategy #8: Fulfillment + reviews
Do your customers experience buyer’s remorse?
Adding reviews to the fulfillment process is an easy win. It’s a smart idea that most retailers aren’t using. Here’s why it’s a good idea to add to your fulfillment process. Your reviews:
- Reduce buyer’s remorse: Customers receive reassurance that their purchase was the right choice. This decreases returns and exchanges.
- Reduce the likelihood that customers will switch: Researchers Lorin M. Hitt and John Zhang found that consumer reviews had a “switching benefit reduction from negative information about an untried product… solidifying a firm’s customer base and decreasing price competition.”
- Increase upsells and average order values: According to Yotpo, “Data from over 2,000 stores shows that 27.5% of customers who see promoted products in post-purchase review request emails end up converting.”
- Can be bundled with other offers: You can add customer reviews, and related product brochures to your customer’s order to increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Wait a minute.
Will adding reviews to your fulfillment process really have a significant impact on your business? There’s only one way to find out.
Review Marketing Strategy #9: Referral kit + reviews
What’s the easiest way to scale your referrals?
You share a referral kit.
A referral kit is a printed educational booklet. These small, educational pieces (a.) outline a specific customer’s problem and (b.) direct potential customers to a specific and very helpful solution you’ve prepared (online or offline) for their single problem.
These referral kits can be:
This referral kit can be mailed to prospects, given to customers who purchase your products or services, shared via partners, and distributed in-store.
It’s an incredibly effective way to scale your referrals systematically.
Want to make this tactic even stronger?
Add specific and relevant customer reviews to your referral kit. If your referral kit addresses specific problems, include reviews from customers discussing (and defusing objections). Share part of the solution, then direct customers to your website for the rest of the information they need.
Review Marketing Strategy #10: Trials + reviews
The free trial is a common tactic.
You know the rationale behind it; you’re so confident customers will like your product that you’re willing to let them use it for free. The more they use your product during their free trial, the greater the odds they’ll convert.
Customers are aware of this too.
Your online reviews can make this tactic even stronger.
- You find all of your negative reviews (3-stars or less).
- You fix the biggest problems mentioned by customers in your negative reviews.
- You offer customers a free trial (customers sign up).
Here’s where we switch things up.
4. You create a drip campaign during the free trial where you slowly share relevant customer reviews.
5. You share reviews relevant to the specific bottlenecks you found in step 1.
6. Use remarketing to drip out reviews during your customer’s free trial; avoid overwhelming customers.
7. Onboard customers properly once they’ve signed up (after their free trial).
8. Then, once customers are all set, request a review.
9. Repeat steps 1-8
It’s an easy way to amplify the effectiveness and power of your free trials. Treat the free trial process as an audition. Continue to show customers the value you provide.
Make it easy for customers.
Spell things out clearly so customers can see the value you provide. Don’t make things difficult or time-consuming for customers.
Reviews + marketing = more conversions
You understand the value of a review. Virtually all customers understand the value and power of an online review. Online reviews can increase conversion rates by 270 percent. Imagine what reviews, when combined with marketing, can do for your business.
It’s a reality for sophisticated marketers.
Reviews, when combined with marketing, create a compounding effect. Most prospects seek online reviews out for themselves. But they satisfice. As we’ve seen, review + marketing uses customer satisficing to boost review responsiveness and conversions.
Reviews make marketing better.
It isn’t simply a component you can tack on to your marketing. It takes thought, focus and planning. It’s something you can use to increase performance in a systematic way.
It’s a neglected but powerful strategy you can use to make your marketing better one review at a time.