Like most marketers, you are probably very aware of how critical generating product reviews and high star ratings are to conversion and sales. You likely dedicate significant resources to fostering consumer reviews on key retail channels. 

However, if you’re also like most marketing teams, you probably also feel a constant demand by the c-suite to do more with less money and maximize ROI outcomes to the fullest extent possible. 

As you augment and optimize every channel to drive results across the entire marketing mix, squeezing the most out of your ratings & reviews investment will allow you to work smarter, not harder. 

Let’s talk about three ways to get more out of your ratings & reviews investment and what your brand can do today to see more value. 

1. Repurpose Consumer Reviews to Boost Authenticity on Other Brand Channels 

A survey from Stakala found that the majority of consumers say user-generated content (UGC) resonates as the most authentic content, with nearly 80% saying UGC highly impacts their purchase decisions. UGC was found to be 6.6X more impactful than brand-created content and 8.7X more than even influencer-created content. 

Most of these stats are intuitive. Consumers are savvier now than they ever have been. When people consider buying your product or service, they will be most influenced by real people sharing real experiences. They like to see how a meal featuring your brand looks by a non-professional chef, how a sweater fits on a “regular” body, and what kind of actual color pops from a particular shade of blush. 

Repurposing product reviews can boost conversion across your marketing channels and strengthen your brand’s trust and reputation. And at the end of the day, a library of consumer reviews is a powerful digital asset. Here are a few ways to repurpose your product reviews. 

Embed Product Reviews Throughout Your Brand Website or Blog

One way to repurpose positive product reviews is by featuring them on your brand’s main website. Testimonials are highly valuable and are also relevant content for search engines. This will help you improve the SEO of your website and lead to higher rankings and traffic. It could be anything from video testimonials, quotes, before and after photos, or customer interviews. 

Feature Consumer Reviews on Ecommerce Product Pages 

While many consumers will rely on the dedicated rating & reviews section on ecommerce pages, you can still repurpose consumer reviews on the product landing page or the product informational section. This ensures consumers don’t miss some of the highest quality consumer reviews while researching. Some brands will even feature UGC or video reviews as part of the product carousel to highlight key benefits. 

Showcase Product Reviews in Email Marketing 

Even if your email marketing is not explicitly sales-oriented all the time, you can still benefit from featuring consumer product reviews. Email campaigns that include UGC can see 73% higher clickthrough rates. You can do this by creating a content block with your brand’s most popular products or featuring a happy customer experience each month. Repurposing product reviews can also be a highly effective way to announce a product launch or innovation or to entice customers who have abandoned carts. 

Highlight UGC Product Reviews in Social Media Posts & Digital Advertising

Social media and online advertising are excellent places to repurpose reviews, especially photos and videos, but also quotes and testimonials. To ensure transparency, make sure to get permission before using reviews. Many consumers are happy to have their content featured in your Instagram stories, Youtube videos, banner ads, or more. 

A growing cohort of consumers are weary of carefully curated photos. In fact, a report found that adults can correctly identify if an image was created by a professional or generated by a consumer 70% of the time. The study also found that consumers punish brands that try to fake it; 30% of millennials have unfollowed a brand on social media because of inauthentic content. 

2. Cultivate an Online Community for Long-Term Relationship-Building 

When you’ve identified a group of happy customers, you want to take every step to ensure a lasting relationship of brand loyalty. After all, research shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% can boost profits by 25-95%. People who write high-quality product reviews are ideal “seeds” and an online brand community can be the garden from which you can nurture a thriving relationship. 

An online brand community is a dedicated online destination for brands to connect with consumers and form meaningful relationships that drive new sales, authentic advocacy, and lasting emotional loyalty. 

Invite Top Reviewers to Join an Online Brand Community 

When you notice someone singing your praises, especially on multiple websites, reach out to them to thank them for their feedback and invite them to join a dedicated online brand community. Online communities benefit consumers through targeted and exclusive experiences and connections with like-minded people who can exchange knowledge and tips about your products and services. 

Activate Targeted Shopper Marketing Efforts and Offers 

Product reviews are a great gateway to expanding further retail-specific strategies. When you invite top reviewers to an online brand community, you can start collecting zero party data to help you understand their online and offline shopping habits and their personal preferences, lifestyle behaviors, and values. From this information, you can deliver targeted efforts to drive velocity in ecommerce and at in-store shelves. 

Create Always-On Reviews and Boost Overall Engagement

An online brand community and consumer review strategy also have a symbiotic relationship. Your consumer community can often be the “fuel” for your product review pages; conversely, your product reviews can drive engagement in your online community.

This is highly valuable as consumers no longer just demand a high number of reviews for the products they’re considering but also expect product reviews to be current and authentic

  • Immune supplement brand, Sambucol aimed to boost knowledge of its Elderberry and Sambucol technology, but most importantly, they wanted to create a two-way relationship with consumers. 
  • They started their Sambucrew community as a missing piece to a complete online presence and to bring their brand values to life through real customer experiences.
  • The brand delivers personalized product sampling and targeted activations to prompt consumers to write reviews and share personal stories on key channels. 
  • The brand to date has generated over 19,000 pieces of user-generated content and reviews. 

3. Gather Insights From Feedback to Fuel Innovation and Fix Issues 

In the past, marketers were limited to expensive and time-consuming research studies to get actionable insights. Today, product reviews are a:

  • Goldmine of ideas for product innovation
  • Channel for understanding market needs
  • Source for getting to know your consumers better 

This information leads to securing brand harmony and ensuring your product meets its promise. 

For brands with thousands of reviews in multiple places, there are loads of tools and technology available today to help sort through and analyze content. This can be done through sentiment analysis software or analyzing text-based data with natural language processing (NLP). 

These tools can help you identify customer feedback and behavior patterns and save you thousands of dollars in outside research studies. 

By analyzing product reviews, you can see what product features resonate most with consumers and highlight them in your marketing messaging. You can also understand what areas to dedicate R&D efforts to. 

Product reviews can also be a lagging indicator of something needing to be corrected. As Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” 

This is also why having a direct relationship with consumers (ahem, like through an online brand community) is important to empower your team with agile insights that can make or break your product’s go-to-market strategy. 

  • Fast-growing frozen food brand, Veggies Made Great leveraged its product reviews fueled by its online brand community to dodge product launch risk. 
  • The brand targeted and solicited feedback from community members throughout the US to capture a variety of tastes, and within a week, had insights to deliver to the product development team. 
  • With key modifications, the brand was saved from releasing a product that didn’t meet consumer needs. 

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VP, Product Strategy