26 Apr 2012

6 Ways Reviews and Testimonials Can Help Your Conversions

By Ninja Karina

Reviews and testimonials are a great way to improve the conversion rate of your website for many reasons:

1. Testimonials and reviews convey trust. Every product and service on your site should allow the option for the user to write a review. Each time a user makes a purchase, send a message to encourage them to write a review. Most people don’t mind sharing their thoughts if you make the process easy and quick. If you have trouble getting people to write reviews, another tactic is to offer an incentive, such as entering them into a contest to win something, or saving a percentage off their next purchase. When you open up the floor for the user to share their thoughts, it shows that you are confident in your products/services and that you aren’t hiding anything.

2. Testimonials are practically as good as recommendations from friends. As explained in a post by Search Engine Land, users trust reviews and make buying decisions based on the reviews they read or the ratings they see. The assumption is that if something is good enough for a bunch of other people, then it is probably good enough for them as well.

3. Draw attention to your reviews and testimonials by including a visual component. Rating stars are a great way for users to see at-a-glance what the general consensus is about a product or service. Better yet, set up a feature so that users can sort by number of rating stars. The quicker they can see how the product measures up, the quicker they can make the decision about whether or not to buy.

4. Reviews can help you as the website owner decide which products are popular, and which ones you should discontinue. If you find that certain products are overwhelmingly getting a lot of good reviews and testimonials and consistent 5 star ratings, then this is the type of product you may want to feature in a prominent location. On the other hand, if a particular product is consistently receiving bad ratings and reviews, try to find out exactly what is wrong with it–it may be a product you want to pull from your website.

5. Negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad news! Nobody wants to get a negative review on a product or service they offer. However, negative reviews are the perfect opportunity to remedy a situation in which the customer was not completely satisfied.

Dealing well with negative reviews and experiences can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal returning customer. Since returning visitors tend to convert better because they already trust you, putting in the effort to turn negative experiences around may turn the unhappy customer into a loyal one, helping to improve conversions. As an added benefit, these customers will be more likely to spread positive word about you to their friends, rather than telling people how bad their experience was, which reduces the number of conversions.

6. Reviews and testimonials are usually keyword-rich, user-generated content. This is great news for many search marketers because improving SEO content can help improve traffic, which we all know is important. But, as an added bonus, increased traffic means more chances for people that land on your website to convert. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone! And what’s better than free, unique, compelling content with SEO value?

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