Think back to how you made the decision to buy your latest online purchase?
97% of consumers read online reviews before making any purchases1. So, we’ll haphazard a guess it was most likely a review of some type. Furthermore, 70% of millennials, the demographic considered pivotal for the growth of the future market, prefer customer reviews, rather than marketing efforts, when making a purchase decision2. Additional, research by ShareThis and the Paley Center for Media3, states shared online content can drive sales far more effectively than the allure of pricing or branding.
Now is the time to start utilising this valuable user-generated content (UGC) to its maximum potential.
Whilst most blog posts centring around UGC focus on how to acquire reviews, we’ll be focusing on how to use these reviews in your marketing strategy.
Here are 4 ways you can transform your consumer review model into a high-performing business tool. We’ll also highlight a pitfall you should avoid too.
Create customer-centric content
UGC is not only a valuable tool to persuade people to purchase, but also a fountain of inspiration for ideas. Ideas that are new, but also more likely to resonate with your customers as, light bulb moment, they’re the ones who wrote it.
Using these reviews can enable you to craft keyword specific blog and social posts, tailored posts, and videos that speak the language your customer is using.
Demonstrating usage of this language shows your customers you’re listening to their comments, queries, and woes. But more importantly, you’re capitalising on a chance to reaffirm your brand promise.
For example, guidebooks based on unique uses of your product, or versus blog posts that compare your product to a competitor. These could be evidenced by your many glowing reviews. In support of using reviews for content is a 2018 Forrester report stating “Rating & Review content builds trust for new products, but only if that content is available and served up properly”.7
Events that encourage engagement
Picture the scene, your top 100 customers are all invited to an event that’s hosted by your brand. There’s champagne, a photographer, and even a band. You’re offering meet-the-team Q&As, new product testers, and even the chance to win some exclusive products.
Amongst all these glamorous offerings is a photo booth, emblazoned with a brand hashtag and your Instagram handle. Your clients are getting involved with picture taking, not only from your photographer but also via their own social channels.
Your brand’s social accounts are lighting up brighter than the Blackpool tower. This isn’t a social media scandal, it’s massive brand awareness. And it’s being created second-by-second. It’s a huge success for both your brand and your customers. A winning formula.
All these tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos are all valuable pieces of UGC, that you can repurpose to suit your strategy. You’re not asking people to leave positive reviews, but you’re encouraging them to share their feelings about your brand on a purely emotional level that is far more likely to resonate with potential customers.
Ultimately, we are all creatures of ego. Of course we’d like to show our friends and family that we’re at an exclusive event, being given VIP treatment, and generally having a jolly good old time. Create an enjoyable environment that offers unique benefits to your selected customers, whilst also giving them the chance to publicly boost your brand amongst their social channels.
Plug in and play your PPC ads
Google Adwords now allows extensions for you to integrate reviews into your PPC ads. Your ad copy can be instantly complimented by a glowing review, and substantiate any claims made in your ad.
Reviews also make your PPC ads larger and visible. I’m sure we don’t need to explain the benefits of this nifty feature to you.
Additionally, Google Adwords can make it somewhat tricky in getting the superlative words such as “Best” into your ad copy. A dilemma for all marketers globally, surely we all think our product is “the best”?
Nevertheless, by integrating reviews into your PPC ads you can select one review which has these superlative words within and reduces your chances of getting penalised by the almighty Google algorithms. A sneaky win for your company.
If you are going to integrate reviews into your PPC ads then you must decide which works best for you. On the one hand, you can integrate text-only reviews, or you can input star ratings.
If you are going to use star ratings then it’s important to know that the rating should be between a 4.2 and 4.65. This is because this average score is the most optimum rating when it comes to persuading people to click through to your site.
Forget me not
B2C online reviews have a shelf life of 3 months visibility4 as opposed to their social counterparts of Twitter, which have 18 minutes, and Facebook, with a 5-hour window of time. But even though online reviews have a longer shelf life than most UGC, it is important to remember that you should be utilising them into your long-term strategy, rather than a one-off thought every now and then.
The ability that peer recommendations have to persuade customers online is a harsh fact that isn’t going away anytime soon. So marketers should be adopting a harmonious relationship with customer reviews, and not only engaging with them when it comes to resolving customer service issues.
Much review about nothing
If you are going to be using reviews more, you must ensure they are genuine.
A 2017 BrightLocal study states that 79% of surveyed consumers state that they can identify a fake review when they see one online6. If your reviews are legitimate, then you’ve nothing to worry about. But, if you’re pushing fake reviews through your marketing channels then you’d better be wary that you may be easily caught out. This could lead to customer distrust of your brand, and eventual abandonment of any potential you have to acquire a new customer.
A word to the wise
Getting creative about how you can use your reviews in your marketing strategy clearly has strong benefits for your company. It’s important to remember this powerful UGC has the power to enhance companies appeal to customers when used correctly.
Although you may need a re-think into how your strategy works, the benefits outweigh the effort you may need to take into using your customer reviews alongside your current strategy.
Of course, as with any marketing activity, it’s important to understand how it’s performing. Start a conversation with us today to understand how call intelligence can give you an understanding about where UGC is benefitting your customer journey.