Conversion Optimization

  1. Testimonials are Dead: Long Live User Reviews

    You’ve worked really hard to collect customer testimonials for your website. Testimonials have been one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the quality of your product or service to potential buyers. But recent studies show that with shoppers going online to do research, testimonials might not be as powerful as before.

    • The average shopper uses 10.4 sources of information to make a decision, an increase from 5.3 sources in 2010. - Google, 2011

    • Shoppers trust consumer reviews nearly 12 times more than descriptions that come from manufacturers. - eMarketer, February 2010

    • 67% of shoppers spend more money online after reading recommendations online. - Internet Retailer, September 2009

    Google calls this the Zero Moment of Truth, where opinions and preferences get shaped before the shopper even walks into a store or clicks through to a shopping cart. With all the consumer review sites and blogs available to shoppers, testimonials just don’t carry the same impact they used to. Testimonials become outdated and shoppers know they are only reading positive feedback, not a balanced view. Products with consumer reviews have a much higher conversion rate than products that only have descriptions written by the manufacturer. 61% of people rely on user reviews for product information before making a purchase decision (Razorfish, 2008) and products with syndicated reviews convert 26% higher than those without (Bazaarvoice, 2009). So, how do these statistics translate into action for businesses who want to establish a positive online presence?

  2. Develop a Social Media Plan

    Develop a social media plan that leverages Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media sites relevant to your industry. If you launch a Facebook page for your product, not only does this increase its visibility online, it provides a venue where your company can interact with users.

  3. Develop Relationships with Bloggers

    Develop relationships with bloggers who are respected by consumers in your industry (consumer electronics, cosmetics, gaming) and ask if they will review your product. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

  4. Implement Ratings and Reviews

    Implement ratings and reviews on your product pages and accumulate user-generated reviews. This is not as scary as you think. Businesses worry about opening up their sites to user comments because some of the feedback might be negative. But it turns out that if you have a decent product, most reviews will be good – in fact, 80% of product ratings are 4 or 5 stars out of 5 (“J Curve,” Bazaarvoice and Keller Fay). If your product is good, the occasional bad review won’t be enough to negate the impact of all the good ones. The availability of ratings make a  shopping site more attractive to consumers and increase the likelihood of purchase, while a high product rating increases the likelihood of purchase for 55% of consumers. (eConsultancy, July 2010) Testimonials are still essential, but consumer reviews have raised the bar. Whether or not you participate in online discussions about your product, accept that the conversation is going on somewhere online, with or without you. But if you have a proactive Internet marketing strategy, you can influence the conversation.