Using Online Reviews to Permanently Boost Client Conversion Rates
March 4, 2019 | Contributed by: Andrew McDermott
Do you know how to permanently boost your client’s conversion rates with reviews? This seems like a spammy claim to make. The kind of claim that fly-by-night operators and snake-oil salesmen are prone to make.
Is it possible to achieve a permanent boost?
Not only is it possible, it’s both a reasonable and achievable goal — if you approach this with a keen awareness of what’s involved.
Dealing with the Conversion Rate Treadmill
Conversion rates are always in a steady rate of decline. Elements like marketing entropy and ad fatigue place downward pressure on your client’s marketing campaigns and their return on marketing spend.
This is why it sounds silly.
If you’re a sophisticated marketer or agency partner you understand the role marketing entropy plays in your campaigns. It’s something you’re always fighting against. You’re churning out a steady supply of new creative and content to combat this pressure.
That’s the problem.
The education your clients provide their customers acts as an attractor. But this isn’t enough to convert hesitant clients who are eager to vet the companies they work with. So, where do they turn?
They look to reviews.
Your client’s customers focus their attention on reviews. They develop their own internal system to rate the “truthiness” and reliability of the reviews they come across. Great reviews convert prospects into customers. But we come across another problem.
Reviews depreciate in value over time and the quantity and quality of your review portfolio cannot be too small, too rosy, or too superficial.
- Reviews older than three or four months are seen as irrelevant
- Businesses with a low volume of ratings aren’t actively considered by customers
- Customers are being trained by a variety of outlets to view reviews with skepticism
- Customers focus more on negative reviews than they do on positive ones
This pressure is a clue.
Hidden inside is the secret to permanently boosting your marketing conversion rates.
The Secret to Permanently (High) Conversion Rates is Momentum
If the effectiveness of your reviews are always declining (due to marketing entropy), you’ll need to counteract that.
With the 5:1 ratio.
Researchers Marcial Losada and Emily Heaphy found the ideal praise-to-criticism ratio is 5 to 1. Five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. This is applicable in a variety of social environments (e.g. employee/employer, customer/seller and personal relationships).
It’s scientifically consistent.
How do you go about applying this on your client’s behalf? How do you use online reviews to permanently boost their conversion rates?
- Help your clients earn five positive, five-star reviews for every negative (one, two or three star) review you receive.
- Add five positive reviews to each of the mainstream and niche platforms you frequent.
- Respond with empathy to each of the negative reviews you receive. Go above and beyond in your attempt to make things right. Make this explicit in your review response.
- Create a crisis management response plan to deal with major social, political and ethical faux pas.
- Maintain a positive, kind and respectful psychological frame, even if customers are belligerent and cruel.
This is hard to do.
What if your clients don’t have that many customers? If you’re thinking about this problem when you’re in the middle of a crisis, you’re too late. This needs to be managed at the beginning of a campaign. How?
Pro bono work.
You serve a segment of your customer population without expectation of return. You serve genuinely, graciously and comprehensively. Then, at the appropriate time, you request a review or feedback. They’re far more likely to come to your defense via reviews, on social media and through video testimonials.
This is one effective strategy (out of many) you can use to counteract a minor or major review crisis.
Why bother though?
Because an outstanding review portfolio acts as a buffer against turmoil and crisis. It protects you from the inevitable crisis that comes for your clients, and it gives them the reputational currency they need to come out stronger.
Research shows reviews can produce a 270% increase in conversion.
This can temporarily shore up bad ads, a stagnant campaign and even advertising fatigue. The 5:1 ratio is a simple strategy you can use to produce trust, goodwill, conversions and revenue. Even when things are going wrong.
Outrun the Conversion Rate Treadmill
This is the secret to permanently boosted conversion rates. This seems like a spammy claim to make. The kind of claim fly by night operators and snake oil salesmen are prone to make.
In reality it’s a viable strategy.
Your client’s customers focus their attention on reviews. They develop their own internal system to rate the “truthiness” and reliability of the reviews they come across. Reviews are that important.
Use the 5:1 strategy and you’ll find your agency produces permanent gains whether your client’s circumstances are up or down.