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With nearly 95% of shoppers reading online reviews before making a purchase, reviews have transformed the way consumers make purchase decisions. According to a study by the Bazaarvoice network, one product review can result in a 10% increase in sales and 200 reviews can result in as much as a 44% increase in sales. We talked to two brand marketers whose businesses are mostly e-commerce driven about the way they use and leverage online consumer reviews in their marketing efforts.

 

Review Marketing Basics

Review marketing is a process certain brands use to manage their reputation online. For direct-to-consumer brands, this includes monitoring, encouraging, and responding to consumer reviews across multiple platforms.”We rely on consumer reviews because customers say it better than we can,” says Aireen de Peralta, Chief E-commerce Officer at WaterField Designs, a company that sells custom-fit bags and cases online.

We rely on consumer reviews because customers say it better than we can.
review marketing expert
Michael Montanez

Michael Montanez, Director of Marketing at luxury clothing label August McGregor, notes that “We use yotpo to power reviews for August McGregor as we’re adding to our tech stack to improve KPIs. Reviews are expected these days for RTW (ready to wear clothing). It’s all part of the process. Attribution – we haven’t gotten there yet to determine the impact of reviews.”

 

Trusting Customers, not Apps that Go After Reviews

Waterfield does not provide incentives for customers to write reviews. “We feel it’s more authentic if a customer decided on their own to write a review,” explains de Peralta. “We e-mail customers after a few weeks of shipping their purchase and request for them to write a review. That way, they will have had time to use the product in their daily routine.”

review marketing expert
Aireen de Peralta

Today, there are many apps and vendors that will aggressively go after reviews, offering discounts, points, or loyalty awards. However, de Peralta notes that she doesn’t employ these tactics. “Reviews apps are also complex enough to ask users to rate their experience based on certain criteria. We use just the simple open-ended format because we think this is a better way to capture what our user thinks is the primary reason to give feedback about. Each user has a different experience with a different emotional outcome, and we are more interested in capturing the emotions and understanding what it is important to them, rather than what we think is important to get feedback on.”

We use just the simple open-ended format because we think this is a better way to capture what our user thinks is the primary reason to give feedback about.

 

Attribution

Review marketing is very powerful in driving customers to sales. According to a study of customer restaurant reviews by the Harvard Business Review, “a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 % increase in revenue.” On the other hand, according to research, if there is an excess of three negative articles within search results, businesses can expect to lose 59.2% of their potential customers.

“We can’t track if a certain review caused a sale, but we do get feedback from customers that reviews have helped them make a decision. This is anecdotal evidence, but it’s enough for us to know that reviews do help sales. We also view reviews as an outlet for our community to express themselves and for product feedback,” de Peralta notes.

 

Boosting SEO and Social and Customer Service

Reviews can also substantially boost SEO rankings since the reviews contain keywords. They are also “proof for social”. In addition, they can also inform customer service as “some reviews answer questions that people have”, de Peralta notes.

 

Social media plays an ever-changing role for marketers. The strategy’s strength is in the ability to humanize your brand by engaging with the consumer. And engagement leads to conversions. How to stay current as social media changes is a key discussion point at Portada Council System meetings. Learn how Portada Council System’s leading brand marketers offer solutions to keep ahead of social media’s evolving role.

Kick-off Facts 

  • SMS or messaging apps are on the rise with 41% of travel marketers planning on implementing this in the near future. (Sojern)
  • Three out of five travel companies are using chat for customer service with 28% actively using or experimenting with AI technology. (Phocuswright)
  • The majority of marketers (77%) are using one or more social media platforms but only 48% have a positive ROI from these strategies. (Impact

Three Social Media Challenges for Portada Council System Members

1. Managing Brand Reputation and Trust

Related comment: “Your customers don’t necessarily trust Influencers (since most know they are being paid). It is better to win them over organically.”

Social media make it easier to discredit a brand. Companies should try to turn these experiences into something positive.

2. Training Staff to Provide Consistent Customer Service

Related comment: “Right now, the front line staff is composed by people who are not prepared enough for the job.” 

We have to make all messages coincide across roles in spite of the emphasis of each area.

3. Increased Complexity and Cost of Social Media Strategies

Related comment: “It is vital to understand the way each platform works.”

Even though the reach is there, it’s getting gradually more expensive.
Portada, Council System

If you are interested in joining the Portada Council System, our year-round knowledge sharing and networking platform, find out more here or contact us here if you are marketing services supplier and here if you are a brand marketer.

Four Social Media Opportunities Identified by Portada Council System Members

1. Don’t Forget About Traditional Marketing Channels

Globally, travel marketers see Facebook (30%) and Instagram (28%) as the most effective tools for targeting new audiences contrasted with only a 4% rate in connecting with loyalty members. (Sojern)

Related comment: “We are losing sight of traditional communication channels that are still alive and reaching a more traditional target.”

A recent eMarketer study shows a 122% median email marketing ROI, a number 4x higher than other digital marketing channels. (LYFE Marketing)

2. Humanize the Brand Voice and Keep it Consistent

Related comment:Every role matters, and each one can influence the whole in a different way.” 

Practical example: The CEO could humanize the message and community managers should have a “tone of voice” that coincides with the company’s values.

When the head of the company is an activist, this helps the brand’s reputation.

3. Give Staff the Skills to Handle All Types of Social Media Feedback 

Related comment: “Strive for accuracy and timely answers when addressing customers’ comments on social media.” 

Practical example: Provide appropriate training to the social media team so they know how to handle messages with different objectives: communicating, positioning, selling, etc. 

Make sure the whole organization has the same culture and train staff to deal with social media’s evolving role.

4. Use AI to Boost Your Customer Service 

Research from Salesforce shows an anticipated 143% increase in the use of AI for customer service teams over the next 18 months. (Salesforce)

Practical example: Using an algorithm that answers immediately on social media without the customer noticing it’s a chatbot. Instead of having hundreds of people answering, a company could hire less high-profile employees to do it right.

When the algorithm can’t solve an issue, there’s a seamless transition to a human specialist.

Portada, Council System

If you are interested in joining the Portada Council System, our year-round knowledge-sharing and networking platform, find out more here or contact us here if you are marketing services supplier and here if you are a brand marketer.