Another study by Nielsen and the Better Business Bureau shows that 55 percent of all US adults online “always” or “often” use ratings and reviews to make purchase decisions.
I’m sure even without these two studies, you’d still agree customer reviews are important.
The question is: how to use customer reviews in the content you create? Here are five ways.
1. Add customer reviews to a blog post
Blog posts are the most common form of content available on the internet today. So chances are, your company’s website has a blog where you post useful articles for your customers and/or potential customers.
This is an example from the folks at Zapier where a quote from a review pops up while you scroll through a blog post.
Apart from that pop-up, you can also quote or link to a review of your product or service in a relevant part of your blog post. This is an example from Ahrefs where they once linked to a review by Matthew Woodward. (“Once” because I couldn’t find the link anymore at the time of this writing).
I’m pretty sure there are several cases where a business links to a review of its product or service on another site.
What to avoid: Don’t sound promotional or sleazy. The link or quote should occur naturally in the context of the blog post. Don’t force a link or quote in a post just because you want to promote your brand.
Readers will smell such promotions a mile away. And they may hardly trust anything you say again.
2. Use customer reviews on your homepage
“Thou shalt use social proof on your site’s pages.”
It’s almost a website design commandment. And though there are no tablets of stone with those words engraved on them, you know it is valid advice.
You can get your web designer or a plugin depending on your website builder to integrate reviews on your homepage. By integrating I mean the reviews will be taken from third-party review sites and not the result of you interviewing your customer. It’s near instant credibility.
The web is peppered with businesses who have reviews of their products or services on their homepage. For example, Fourlane has a slider on their homepage with customer reviews and their star rating.
WorldRemit also has a slider on its homepage, featuring reviews from customers via third-party site Trustpilot.
The best part is potential customers can always visit these third-party sites to read more reviews. That way, they’re less likely to feel you’re only biased towards positive reviews on your site.
What to avoid: Do not include only positive reviews of your business where possible. “Where possible” because I’ve seen some businesses with perfect five-star ratings.
Even if that’s the case with yours, you can choose to feature a review where a customer wasn’t particularly happy with some features of your product or service but still gave a five-star rating. Or one with a positive review but a star rating lower than five, probably from a fastidious customer. Like this one:
3. Use customer reviews on landing pages
You can use positive reviews about your business as social proof to encourage people to sign up for your product or service.
Depending on the landing page software you’re using, you may use a slider, plain quotes, or quotes with hero shots.
Test different variations and elements of the landing page to see which works best for your brand. Does a customer review without hero shots convert better than one with hero shots? Only proper testing will reveal that.
Use reviews to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter. It’s a good departure from the normal “join 65,000 others to get the best content on (insert niche) once a week.” Here’s some inspiration from Farnam Street’s newsletter page.
No incentive to sign up other than nice words from other readers who have benefited from the newsletter.
If you’re short of time to create an incentive or bribe like an ebook, short course or guide, having reviews of readers around your sign up form is also a good incentive for people to subscribe to your newsletter.
What to avoid: Don’t copy other sites. These are just ideas and suggestions you should test. Using it as a bribe for subscribers doesn’t mean ignoring other incentives if you have any.
4. Create a customer reviews page
I drew inspiration for this from the folks at FreeAgent. They have an entire page dedicated to reviews, you know like many businesses have a page for case studies or testimonials.
Then there’s this review page from 99designs. Customers can comment on and rate their service. You can also sort the reviews based on different categories or industries.
You can draw some inspiration from these two brands and tweak your review page according to your needs.
What to avoid: You will only get excellent ratings if you have a stellar product or service, and you keep it that way. It’s like getting a job before you finish school – you’ll still need to study hard to keep your grades up.
Similarly, most times a customer can review their reviews and ratings, especially on some third-party sites. So keep impressing the heck out of them. Where there are customer complaints, your customer service team should be responsive and helpful.
You’ll certainly not be proud to keep your review page if your average rating is 2.5 or 2. Keep working hard to earn good reviews and ratings.
5. Generate content ideas from customer reviews
The best content is usually a solution to the problems a reader may be facing. It doesn’t matter what format it takes – video, audio, text, or picture. Reviews or customer testimonials are sometimes a minefield of content ideas.
For example, take a look at these comments about Zapier from its customers.
You’ll notice a pattern. They all talk about how Zapier has saved them time and helped them to be more productive. That’s a sign they’d love to read about other productivity techniques and/or apps they can use to simplify their lives.
Zapier may not have gotten content inspiration from those customers, but they sure know what’s useful content to them. This post lists the best productivity apps for android phones.
And this one lists the best productivity apps for 2018, whether on the web, mobile or desktop platforms.
And there are more articles on productivity on the Zapier blog.
If you’re short of content ideas, mine reviews on your site or third-party sites about your business or even those of your competitors. That way, you’re likely to create content that resonates with your audience.
What to avoid: Do not limit your content creation efforts to the written word only. Your customers’ comments may point to the need to create step by step video tutorials to solve their problems. This also means not all content ideas that come from customer reviews belong on your blog, depending on your level of content organization.
Some may stay on your Help, FAQ, or Knowledge Base pages, or whatever name you call it. I’m sure you get the idea.
Reviews may sound old school, but they’re not useless and they can help your content creation efforts. If you overlooked them in the past, now’s the time to watch them carefully. Follow these tips closely and it may well become a trusted part of your content marketing arsenal.
Guest author: Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor & co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz