Growth Hacking Your Business with Customer Reviews

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: September 20, 2017
Photo credit: Maxx-Studio/Shutterstock

Consumer reviews help small businesses grow their business and revenue. Reviews increase consumer confidence, lead to improved search performance, expedite product development, and significantly influence purchasing decisions on and offline.

Consumer reviews help small businesses grow their business and revenue. Reviews not only increase consumer confidence, but they also lead directly to improved search performance, superior product and service feedback loops, and they have a significant influence on customer purchase decisions on and offline. Here's how to hack massive growth for your business using customer reviews.

Grab more sales and traffic from search

Organic search

Your customer review rating is not only included in organic search results, but it factors into your organic search result ranking. Businesses with high review ratings get more clicks from the search results page, and the more numerous and trustworthy your review ratings, the higher you'll rank in organic search results.

Ensure you are leveraging review services that are trusted by Google so the reviews your business earns actually work to improve your ranking. Reviews from services that allow businesses to edit or delete reviews are given less weight by Google and will not provide small businesses (SMBs) with any search or SEO advantages.

Reviewing content on your website can also help your business appear within new keyword searches. Encourage your reviewers to write 100-word reviews or more to increase the likelihood they will use a strategic keyword for your business. Reviewing prompts and in-textbox instructions can help accomplish this.

Depending on the review service that you select, your review content can enhance your on-site SEO. The copy is included within your site's content and can be crawled by Google. SMBs who use review services with review databases will receive an SEO boost from the dofollow link from the database, too.

Paid search

Your customer reviews can be incorporated into Google Seller Ratings to increase clicks and sales from paid search ads and Google Seller listings. Online ads with a Google Seller Rating have a 17 percent higher click through rate (CTR) than the same ads without ratings. Review services such as Trustpilot are official Google Review Partners and share review ratings with Google to be displayed as Rich Snippet or Google Seller stars.

Ecommerce search

A recent retail performance study noted that higher numbers of product reviews resulted in higher search result rankings on major ecommerce sites, including Target, Amazon and Walmart. Numerous review services syndicate reviews to these ecommerce sites to provide more review content for businesses selling there. Review management services such as Bazaarvoice specialize in syndicating reviews to ecommerce sites.

Influence consumer purchasing decisions – online and off

User-generated content, like product reviews, Q&A responses, and user images, offer trustworthy, unfiltered feedback on products and services, and increases a customer's confidence in your business and products. Bazaarvoice found that review readers generate 62 percent more revenue for businesses. Trustpilot notes 92 percent of consumers read reviews, and more than 80 percent of shoppers trust consumer feedback as much as a personal recommendation.

Reviews can help you drive sales in-store and online. Vibes’ Mobile Consumer Report noted that more in-store mobile searches were to check reviews than to check pricing. Trustpilot and Econsultancy found that 62 percent of online consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company after reading positive reviews.

This sentiment is echoed by BrightLocal’s annual Local Consumer Review survey. They measured that 56 percent of consumers select a business if it has positive ratings/reviews displayed in Google. Their 2016 study noted 91 percent of consumers read online reviews when searching for a business, and 50 percent of customers browse reviews once a month or more. Half of customers said they read reviews "regularly." A majority of surveyed customers (60 percent) reported that negative reviews cause them to not use a business.

Improve your products and services to fit customer demand

JustFab is an excellent case study in growth hacking by leveraging customer reviews to inform their product offerings. JustFab uses Trustpilot to successfully engage their customers, solve service issues and deliver top-notch customer service. Addressing and then incorporating feedback into product offerings has led them to grow by 124 percent (compound annual growth rate) since 2010 to over 2 million members.  

Shawn Gold, corporate marketing officer of TechStyle Fashion Group (JustFab's parent company) credits JustFab's focus on customer reviews with driving increased customer lifetime value and retention. Eighty-four percent of sales come from repeat customers, up 15 percent year over year, thanks to the company's review management marketing strategy.

Best Buy also famously utilized customer reviews to steer their product offering. Throughout their revenue turnaround efforts, Best Buy noted that it was actively analyzing customer reviews and sharing the feedback with vendors. Best Buy rewards select customers with special points to use toward future purchases for completing reviews.

Victoria's Secret leverages reviews to make their paid advertising more efficient. Their website places a great deal of emphasis on customer reviews as a part of their ecommerce offerings. Shoppers can sort products by "top rated" and find ample reviews on product pages.

Notably, Victoria Secret product reviews are featured category pages, which makes click through to product pages more likely. Review ratings displayed on category pages can be expanded to display detailed reviews. In a random sampling of top-rated items in its "Very Sexy Lingerie" section, products had an average of 34.7 reviews. Victoria Secret opts to promote or feature only top-rated products in their paid advertising to ensure better conversion rates and increased appeal to customers.

Consumer Reports Senior Editor Tod Marks observes, "Many companies now have dedicated employees who do nothing but troll the internet for corporate references, monitor chat rooms and online forums where there could be a discussion of the brand." Brands aim to prevent negative reviews or complaints from multiplying or going viral.

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