Increasing Sales with Reviews-Based Marketing

By Marcel Deer
TOPICSFeatured, Marketing Tips

When a customer leaves a review, how do you handle it? If it’s negative, do you leave it alone and hope for the best? Do you engage with positive reviews? Do you even have a reviews strategy?

Reviews are undeniably important for businesses in every industry. According to The Importance Of Online Customer Reviews:

  • For 90% of consumers, an online review is as important as a personal recommendation.
  • Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews.
  • 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
  • 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating.
  • 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review
  • 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.

Sure, reviews greatly impact how consumers make decisions, but did you know reviews impact sales? In fact, positive reviews can generate an 18% uplift in sales.

Reviews-Based Marketing Frameworks

To understand how to make reviews work for you, use these three frameworks as the foundation of reviews-based marketing: strategy, validation, and sales. You’ll see the importance of each framework and the power of combining the three for maximum effect. Trustpilot, the creator of these frameworks, and a leader in review collecting platforms developed the methods discussed below. which enable businesses to take control of their reviews and optimize them.

Reviews-Based-Marketing Framework 1: Strategy

Consumers’ brains are wired to take one four paths or personas when choosing to purchase a product or service, The strategy centers on how your business targets each persona.

  • Methodical personas involve no emotional purchasing decisions. They are motivated by logic.
  • Spontaneous personas respond excitedly to limited-time opportunities, such as sales. They are motivated by emotions and urgency.
  • Social personas often need social support during the decision-making process. They are moved by reviews and testimonials and ratings.
  • Competitive personas want to feel special when doing business with a firm – they enjoy impactful experiences. They are motivated by personalized attention and making “the right choices.”

Reviews-Based-Marketing Framework 2: Validation

On the surface, reviews let you know how your product or service performed. But when you dig deeper, reviews offer substantial information about your industry and consumers. They provide insight into how product features help differentiate products, they let you know the price sensitivity of your buyers, and they reveal the power of your promotions. Reviews are the ultimate validator of your entire business. 

Reviews-Based-Marketing Framework 3: Sales

At every stage of your consumers’ journey, reviews can be inserted to impact sales. From paid search to home page features to email marketing, reviews are versatile and can influence a consumer’s decision at any point during their purchasing journey.

Reviews and SEO

Have you figured out SEO yet? Search engine optimization (SEO) can often feel overwhelming for non-technical marketers. Check out the EXCLUSIVE Ultimate Guide to Understanding & Improving eCommerce SEO: Your Free Resources Center for a great intro or refresher.

Put simply, Google ranks your website and pages based on the following formula: Points from Signal = Measure x Weight of Signal.

Signals are essentially ways Google determines the relevance and importance of your page for searchers. In other words, whenever a user searches for something, would your content help solve the user’s problem or answer the user’s query? Each signal has a different weight in determining your ranking. Relevance signals, including title, topical family, depth, and keyword intent, are particularly important when using specific keywords.

Through a four-step process, marketers can better understand how to find keywords and start ranking for them.

Step 1: Find Keywords Using Google

Google Ads will help you find keyword options for your website and your competitors’ sites. They already know the kind of topics and questions you help solve as a business. Importantly, you want to develop a list of multiple keywords to use – as many will likely have too many competitors or low traffic.

Step 2: Choose 15-20 Keywords

Create a list of 15-20 keywords – and now start filtering them out. Using Google Analytics, which keywords have resulted in conversions for your business? Which have generated little traffic?

Step 3: Balance Signals

Now that you have a better understanding of which keywords have the greatest impact, use them appropriately. Increase keyword optimization by using long-tail or topical phrases – you are able to generate a higher signal by using more than one targeted keyword. Instead of focusing on one stellar keyword, make use of multiple.

Using the most competitive keywords, include them in the title and the H1, which have the greatest signal weight.

Finally, place the rest of the lower-weight keywords in the body copy. These will make a marginal but still meaningful difference in your ranking. Not every keyword will have a perfect balance of traffic and competitiveness.

Step 4: Avoid Penalties

In general, Google wants to make a searcher’s journey as seamless as possible. Beyond the more technical aspects of SEO, these platforms regard search intent as extremely important. In other words, they will penalize poorly created web pages and articles. If a user clicks on your page and gets overwhelmed, Google will notice this and penalize you.

Ensure your pages are well-written (AP style) and unique – and avoid flagged optimization techniques (e.g., using an unnecessary amount of the same keywords in one article).

How do reviews play into this? Google cares a lot about top-rated content, and it will place great emphasis on highly-rated websites, products, and services. Reviews help you get seen in search and can enable you to rank at a quicker pace. The days of gaming SEO are over – deliberately use keywords but never sacrifice the quality of your writing to shove in as many as possible.

Reviews and SEO Best Practices

  • Set up pages properly in HTML markup
  • Rewrite review content
  • Audit duplicate reviews across products and other sites
  • Point crawl signals towards top-rated items
  • Develop mobile-friendly pages
  • Collect new reviews

Reviews and PPC

Pay-per-click ads on Google are highly impacted by Google Seller Ratings (GSRs). In fact, these reviews increase click-through rates on ads by an average of 10 percent. For some advertisers, the returns on featuring GSRs have produced even greater results in conversions.

Along with GSRs, lower-priced products are easier to move because of their lower cost per click, higher CTR, and low advertising cost of sale. Typically, buyers are more likely to convert when viewing lower-cost products. While having the lowest price has its advantages, products with higher ones can also see improvements with great reviews.

These reviews can help predict your ads’ success, but how you manage keywords on your products will similarly improve performance. The keywords you include in your titles, descriptions, and other columns determine what keywords you are eligible to rank on – and Google will know which ones you want to bid on.

To effectively manage your keywords, you need to set up your funnel using priority settings in Google Shopping. You are communicating to Google what keywords you want your product to show up for when searched. First, assign bids to different sets of high, medium, and low priority keywords.

  • High Priority Keywords (e.g., Camping Backpack): Bid Low, Negative Keywords: Brand, Model, Color
  • Medium Priority Keywords (e.g., Osprey Camping Backpack): Bid Medium, Negative Keywords: Model, Color
  • Low Priority Keywords (e.g., Graphite Osprey Atmos 65): Bid High, Negative Keywords: N/A

In other words, you want to rank for all of your low priority keywords – the more specific ones – and rank less of the high priority ones – the more general ones.

Reviews and SEO Best Practices

  • Qualify for Google Seller Ratings and insert sitewide reviews
  • Use review-specific language in your feed
  • Feature product-specific reviews
  • Fix your attribution model – ditch the default and set up the new version
  • Set up rules around reviews

On-Site Reviews

Social proof powered by reviews can help businesses reap post-click conversions. Given that only 22% of brands are trusted, reviews represent an opportunity to build up your reputation with consumers. Additionally, against other forms of advertising, over 8 in 10 consumers trust peer recommendations more. For businesses with excellent reviews, customers are likely to spend 31% more. Read how one skincare brand leveraged the power of reviews to successfully launch a product during the early days of the pandemic, increasing revenue 205% year over year.

Reviews are truly one of the few aspects of marketing with nearly across-the-board data – and businesses should integrate their reviews passionately in their users’ on-site experience and use data to enhance reviews’ impact. Whenever they scroll through your web pages, you should put as many reviews as possible in front of them.

On-Site Reviews Best Practices

  • Feature reviews on your homepage
  • Focus on reviews-based experiences in product selection pages
  • Test reviews on product pages
  • Continue to show reviews in carts
  • In cart abandonment emails, remind users of reviews
  • In retargeting ads on Facebook, feature reviews
  • When remarketing to users, feature highly-reviewed products
  • Create a dedicated reviews page

Getting More Reviews

To make use of the steps above, consider doing the following to get more reviews – thereby enabling your business to generate more conversions and increase its reputation. Remember: reviews are great – new ones are best. Here are five must-do’s (and one must-not) for getting more reviews.

  • Automate review request emails
  • Request reviews from customers
  • Write short interview requests
  • Engage with reviewers
  • Use a third-party platform to host reviews
  • Do not pay for reviews or otherwise offer incentives for them.

The benefits of reviews are clearly undeniable – and with a better understanding of how it impacts SEO, PPC, and Post-Click experiences, you can improve performance across all different functions. Take control of your reviews and develop your business strategy today.

For an even deeper dive, watch Increasing Sales with Reviews-Based-Marketing, co-presented by EXCLUSIVE and Trustpilot. In addition to watching on-demand, you can download the slides.

Or, if you’re ready to take your eCommerce business to the next level, Contact us today for your free eCommerce growth analysis.