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You always hear that customer reviews are important for businesses, but this doesn’t necessarily mean anything unless you see the data proving its importance. So we’ve gathered the data.
A Canvas8 and Trustpilot study tells us that nine out of ten (90%) consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. 33% (that’s one-third) of US consumers look to product reviews to find out information about products, second only to a Google search. And 62% (almost two-thirds) of US shoppers state that online reviews are very helpful in making purchase decisions.
The fact of the matter is this: If a potential customer is looking at two products—yours versus a competitor’s—and you have no product reviews but your competitor has several, they’re going to go with your competitor.
This is because customer reviews have become an online word-of-mouth marketing staple. They act as an endorsement, even if it’s not from a close friend or family member.
Throughout this article, we’re going to discuss how brands can utilize the customer reviews they’re already getting to increase their word-of-mouth marketing and bring even more customers in through the door.
Why are reviews and testimonials important
Likes, shares, and rating stars are great, but they’re not always enough to trigger action from potential customers. Viewers want to know the good and the bad about your product. (And even if you say there’s no bad, there might be for some customers.)
Reviews and testimonials build trust in consumers—just like how referrals are dependent on trust between the advocate and whoever they’re referring the product to. Furthermore, customer reviews are a great form of social proof, proving to interested shoppers that your product is worth buying.
All in all, reviews and testimonials sell your products. A Bazaarvoice study found that just a single review can increase purchases by 10%. So if you want to build a successful business and convince your audience to buy your products with little to no marketing, you need to get more reviews.
5 ways to amplify word-of-mouth marketing with customer reviews
Organic word-of-mouth marketing occurs authentically when someone genuinely loves a product so much that they tell people they know about it. This is useful because 92% of consumers state they trust word-of-mouth recommendations over advertising.
Amplified word-of-mouth marketing is when a brand takes existing WOM content and reviews and turns them into a marketing campaign so that more potential customers see it.
So we want to talk more about how to amplify your word-of-mouth marketing content as a way to help customers feel better about buying your product—even if they’re doing so due to advertising.
Here are five ways to start amplifying your word-of-mouth marketing to reach even more of your audience.
Get your customers to talk about the pros and cons of your product
There’s nothing wrong with asking for reviews. But it’s better if you can offer guidance to your customer on how they can easily leave a review.
Only 8-10% of consumers nearly always leave a review, with close to half of shoppers saying they sometimes leave reviews of a product. This means that the vast majority of your customers aren’t well-versed on the best way to review a product.
So if you offer some sort of guidance as you ask for the review, this can increase the number of reviews you end up getting altogether. One great way to do this is by having your customers lay out the pros and cons of your product in their review. It provides them with a format—but it provides you with a great marketing message to use to amplify said review.
Turn your review responses into an opportunity to showcase how much you care about your customers
Your customer expects you to respond when they leave a review or feedback on your products, especially if they’re having a negative experience. Using your responses to (a) turn around the issue, and (b) showcase the level of care you have for your customers is a great way to make people feel better about working with your business.
Let’s take a look at these Twitter responses from luxury suitcase company Away. Their social support team does a great job of responding to questions, concerns, and other mentions in a way that shows they genuinely care about their customers.
This level of customer service then earns the company accolades like the following:
Tweets—and responses—like these are the perfect content to then share on other social platforms. Away could take a screenshot of these conversations and use them to create an Instagram or Facebook graphic as a way to prove to potential customers the level of care they can expect from the company.
Create animated or video testimonials to share on social media
Show off your positive reviews by sharing them on your social media channels. You can do so with a basic graphic like the one we see below:
Or you can go a step further and create a video testimonial or animated graphic (gifs) that grabs attention and share even more information about your customers’ positive feedback.
Video testimonials can be recordings of real-life customers talking about their experiences, or you can simply use a written review and turn it into an animation. This is a creative way to amplify your customer reviews and help more people feel comfortable and excited about buying from your brand.
Incentivize customers to leave a review
If you’re going to be building up a word-of-mouth strategy that leverages customer reviews, you’re going to need a lot of customer reviews. So one of the first things you’re going to want to figure out is how to increase the number of reviews you’re getting.
And one great way to do this is by incentivizing your customers to leave a review after they make a purchase. Offer a 15% off discount code, put their name into a hat for a free product giveaway, or something else that will entice more customers to review your products. This way, you have even more content to work with in your amplification strategy.
Build a referral program
Building a referral program allows existing happy customers to receive compensation for referring others to your products.
Referral programs can vary in how they work, but for the most part, you’ll provide a custom link to customers who apply for your program. They’ll then share that link with their friends and family, and if anyone makes a purchase, the original customer will receive a portion of their purchase.
You’ll be able to provide guidelines for your referrers, but one great way to get the most out of a referral link—both for the customer and for your brand—is to share a review online alongside their link, letting viewers know they’re getting a cut of the purchase.
This helps get the word out about your brand while still providing an incentive for your existing customers.
5 brands that leverage customer reviews to build their word-of-mouth marketing
Want to see more ways to leverage customer reviews and increase social proof and referrals to your business? We’ve put together five awesome, real-life examples to give you even more inspiration for how to use your customer reviews to bring in even more customers.
LAY LO is an ecommerce dog bed brand with several styles to choose from to keep your pups comfortable and fashionable. Their homepage is structured with a great flow, seamlessly moving customers down the page.
And one great piece of formatting they included has to do with their customer reviews.
As we scroll through their website, we come across this full-screen widget that shows us a slider full of happy pups and five-star reviews.
If you scroll one more full-screen down, you’ll see even more perks—including their 500+ 5-star reviews boast—along with a link to their referral program.
Not only does this show new website visitors that LAY LO’s products are well-loved, but it also includes a call-to-action for existing customers to invite their friends to make a purchase—with $20 off for both of them.
Almost every single page of your ecommerce website should include some allusion to your customer reviews. And if you’re able to create a seamless flow that also highlights your referral program, it’s all the better.
A Box of Stories is a mystery book box subscription where the company curates a box of four surprise books—some are a complete mystery while others are based on a specified genre.
On their homepage, they’ve also included a slider of reviews, although these aren’t exclusively five-star reviews. Of course, as a brand, you only want to showcase your top reviews, but being transparent about your four- and three-star reviews helps build even more trust.
With a button below to view even more reviews, A Box of Stories makes it easy for interested customers to see what even more people are saying—even the bad reviews.
Again, plaster reviews all over your ecommerce site. Make them as accessible as possible because seeing honest feedback from past customers is a proven way to get more people to make a purchase.
Edloe Finch is a boutique online furniture store that ensures their customers feel as confident as possible when making a purchase. They do this by providing as much customer feedback as they can on every single product page.
Let’s say you’re looking to buy a brown leather chair, but you want to see what it would actually look like in your room, rather than their professional product photos.
As you scroll down, you’re greeted with a compilation of user-generated photos that show off real-life customer photos that match the product page you’re on. So you’re able to see authentic photos of the piece of furniture in an actual person’s home.
This can help customers make sure the product looks like how it’s supposed to look and make sure it would match their existing decor.
Then, as users continue to scroll, they’re able to see reviews of a variety of Edloe Finch products, further proving that customers are satisfied with their purchases.
Vitamin company Ritual amplifies their word-of-mouth marketing by strategically placing customer video testimonials right on their homepage. As a health-related company, they made sure that they’re not only including customers but medical experts as well to further help customers feel secure in their purchase.
Website visitors can scroll through the videos and watch the ones that are in the medical field or that work in a similar role/industry to see what the feedback is and if it could fit well in their own lives.
DayDesigner is a yearly planner company that included a Reviews page right in the footer of their website. This page gathers all their website reviews into a single widget, making it easy for potential buyers to sort through and see what past customers have said.
However, one of the best features of their review widget is the ability for reviewers to “recommend” the product or not. And the widget collects those responses to provide viewers with a single statistic at the top of the page: “96% of reviewers would recommend these products to a friend.”
This is a great way to use data to prove how much your customers love your product. The only thing better would be to further amplify this number on social media or other parts of the website.
Start leveraging your customer reviews
Reviews create social proof by showing potential consumers the sentiments towards your brand and products. Word-of-mouth marketing—like referrals—reinforces this social proof, creating that extra layer of trust as potential consumers can see that many others also love this brand.
Work on getting more product reviews so you have even more reviews to amplify and even more ammo for bringing new customers in through the door.