Article

Lucy Forbes
Lucy Forbes 11 January 2016
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Creating A Responsible Online Review Strategy: A Guide

With over 61% of customers reading online reviews before making a purchase decision, reviews have become an important way to influence and promote.

The stats speak for themselves when it comes to the positive effects that reviews can have upon conversion. But the effects are only positive if reviews are approached in the correct way. Our guide looks at how to create an effective online review process and strategy.

The stats

Figures show that reviews have positive effects on conversion rates, engagement and trust. Not only this, but review browsing makes up a significant part of online product research.

Conversion and engagement

  • According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions, 2011).
  • Site visitors who interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with user generated content (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index, Q2 2011).
  • According to Reevoo, reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.

Trust

  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US internet users by online video review site EXPO (eMarketer, February 2010).

Product research

  • 53% of over 25 year olds in the UK use the internet when comparing product choices
  • 24% look for opinions/reviews/advice online to help them make a purchase decision
  • 19% look at online reviews on their smartphone when conducting product research

What not to do

Don’t engage in bad practice. The positive impact of reviews on consumer behaviour could motivate fraudulent behaviour. In the short term these practices may seem to provide uplift to sales, but long term you are in danger of a legal case and losing consumer trust.

Recent rulings for fake 5-star reviews for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet and Proctor & Gamble’s Beauty Recommended vlogging have highlighted the following bad practices:

  • Paying for reviews
  • Commissioning fake reviews
  • Cherry picking reviews
  • Vlog without disclosure

Don’t assume that five star reviews are the only kind you want. Too many glowing reviews and you are in danger of looking like they are faked. Too few negative reviews and consumers are less trusting of feedback.

Decide on platforms

Find out where your customer is searching for advice about your product and create your review platform strategy based on this.

  • Which? E.g. Google Reviews, Revoo, TripAdvisor
  • How many platforms? Always make sure you use more than one platform as this reduces risk.
  • How many reviews? Think about the amount of times reviews are requested per platform. If you have only just started collecting reviews don’t request them from all your customers in one go as this will look suspicious, both to search engines and prospective customers.
  • Format, e.g. email reminders, phone call
  • Which products? Your consumer may not want to review every product on your site.
  • Which platform? You may want to ask customers for reviews on different platforms.
  • How often will you request a review? If you don’t ask you don’t get, but over-requesting could put you in danger of alienating a customer.

Monitor

  • Feedback, what can you use to positively impact your business?
  • Trends, these can be helpful for understanding your audience and the social climate
  • Traffic from review sites to your own
  • Search rankings
  • Whether customer satisfaction is rising, falling or staying the same

Strategic objectives of online reviews

  • Improve conversions – critical for ecommerce and helps increase click through rate (CTR) on Google shopping results
  • Support SEO strategies – Google Reviews are important as they show beneath search results. Reviews also generate content.
  • Include in PPC – reviews improve CTR
  • Use offline – include in brochures, credentials and proposals

Insight and strategy

If you need help with dovetailing your current digital marketing strategy with your review strategy, get in touch with us about our insight and strategy services.

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