February 20, 2019
The best websites drive conversions. They’re not just a digital billboard for your company, but guide your visitors towards the next step in the buyer’s journey. Whether that’s eCommerce buys or B2B leads, that next step should be tangible, actionable, and natural within your website flow.
How you get to that point requires a complex strategy. Your UX needs to be just right. So does your content. Part of that content might not even come from you.
Reviews and testimonials now play a major role in how people across industries make buying decisions. Hearing from peers about the value (or lack thereof) of a product or service lends credibility to the messaging. Through the right integration of the right reviews, you can significantly boost conversions on your website.
The Power of Online Reviews
It’s difficult to overstate just how powerful reviews are in influencing buyer decisions. According to one survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from a friend. As many as 40% consider them to be major factors in any buying choice.
It doesn’t end there. The same study also found that consumers spend 31% more with a business that has excellent reviews, while only 14% even consider buying from a brand that has a review average of two stars or fewer.
The message is clear: managing your online reputation through its reviews is absolutely crucial in today’s digital environment. But it doesn’t end there. With the right website integration, they can play a crucial role in your conversion optimisation efforts, as well.
Where Do Your Users Review Your Business?
The short answer: wherever they feel like it. The long answer, of course, is a bit more complex than that. Google and Facebook are among the most popular options, and are worth monitoring. Industry-specific alternatives like Expedia and TripAdvisor can also be powerful. Feefo, TrustPilot, and others offer more possibilities for brands to collect and manage customer feedback.
Don’t think that only independent sites can build these reviews. You might already be collecting your own testimonials and case studies that tend to have the same general effect. Like third-party sites, they act as credible and independent voices reinforcing your brand and product message.
The growth of online review sites over the past few years is immense. On average, a business receives more than 15 new reviews every year on Google alone. The key, then, is leveraging this wealth of potentially valuable content to actual conversions and business growth.
Where Will Your Reviews be Most Effective?
Fortunately, sites like Google and Facebook offer easy integration possibilities. A quick Google search reveals countless tutorials to make the link. The challenge is not technical, but qualitative: where can you integrate your reviews for maximum effect?
The easy answer is on your conversion pages. Using your Analytics tools, find the pages that your visitors use right before they actually become leads or sales. Most likely, these are landing pages with sign up forms or eCommerce product pages. A strategically placed review might just give your audience the final push they need to take the next step.
Don’t underestimate your homepage, either. Most likely, it will always be your most-visited page. Testimonials here can lend credibility to your brand messaging to new visitors who are deciding whether they want to dive in and learn more.
The Power of Visuals in Integrating Online User Reviews
When it comes to reviews, words matter. At the same time, pictures can amplify the words to give them more power and credibility. Whenever possible, add a face to the words that praise your brand. That turns some anonymous text into a more tangible, relevant, and personalised message.
A/B testing continually shows that the simple act of adding a face can increase your conversion rates by as much as 22%. It’s a simple step with a potentially significant pay-off.
Pro tip: reviews don’t only have to be text. Video testimonials, in fact, can be immensely powerful. The human eye is naturally drawn to moving pictures. You’ll have to produce these videos yourself, but they add another layer of visual content that both increase UX and maximise your conversion rates.
Positivity Matters – But Negativity Doesn’t Always Kill
Having arrived at this point, you’ve probably read an implied message out of all of the above: anytime review is mentioned above, it implies a positive review. That doesn’t have to be the case. It might seem counterintuitive, but integrating negative reviews into your website can actually be a powerful conversion tool.
First, as outlined in this article, negative reviews build authenticity. Chances are that you will have some unhappy customers. Potential clients who are researching your brand will find those reviews, whether or not you want them to. If you include them on your site, you show care for customer concerns and an ability to see the bigger picture.
That strategy is most effective, of course, if you know exactly how to respond to negative reviews. Rather than ignoring them, it pays to actually acknowledge them, ask for details, and investigate. A legitimate concern may cause you to improve your business. At the very least, you have the chance to turn an unhappy customer into a brand loyalist simply by making them feel like you care and want to help.
Bonus Tips: How to Manage Your Reviews for a Better Online Reputation
In short, integrating reviews into your website can be a powerful marketing and conversion mechanism. It also has the potential to open a hornet’s nest. If you don’t manage your reviews, any automated or even semi-automated feed has the potential for disaster.
That’s why we’ll end this post with a few tips on how to effectively manage your reviews before and while they live on your website:
- Know where your customers are leaving reviews. Seek out both general and industry-specific sources.
- Delete only irrelevant reviews that can rightly be considered spam.
- Respond to all other reviews, positive and negative. Acknowledge good feedback, and take real steps to investigate complaints.
- Proactively request feedback. That makes positive reviews much more likely.
- Track your reviews to find trends and respond more holistically.
With these tips, you can begin to build reviews into your marketing plan – and your website. Your success will increase naturally over time, building a better online strategy that enhances both UX and conversions.
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