Review websites are popping up everywhere. Not too long ago, the only review sites we worried about were Google Places, CitySearch, Yelp, InsiderPages, MerchantCircle, and a few others. In the Spring of 2010, Google was so hungry for reviews they created new HTML tags to tell Google when a review was showing on a page.
Since then, reviews online have exploded because digital marketing agencies realized the power behind the tool. Does your marketing agency get it yet?
The review services mentioned above are typically out of your control, or you may have to jump through a few hoops to manage the reviews. Other online reviews can appear on your Facebook Business Page or on your website, and these are easier to control.
Your first ACTION ITEM for today is to contact your web programmer and tell them you want a review system installed within your product catalog. Next, tell them you want a Facebook Like button and a Google +1 button added to your products and all the pages of your website. This is the groundwork needed to empower your customers to talk about you. Got it? Review, Like, +1... all needed on your jewelry website.
Consumer reviews have become an important part of the purchase cycle that you, and modern day marketing agencies, need to recognize. That cycle starts with (1) ads that stimulate consumers, then (2) the consumers go online for their own research and education, then (3) into a store or e-commerce site to buy, and finally (4) take the product home and talk about it.
The process of talking about a product includes comments on Google+ and Facebook, reviews on Yelp, local community sites, and posting a review on the original website where they bought the product.
Brett Hurt is the Founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice, the company that provides customer conversion services to large corporations like Walmart and Johnson & Johnson. Brett reports:
"We've found that the worldwide average for product reviews is 4.3 out of 5... We find that there's a new version of the 80-20 rule: 80% of reviews on the site of a given retailer are written by the top 20% of their customers by lifetime value."
Even though we've been pushing jewelers to add reviews to their websites for a while, we've had negative feedback about it. Several jewelers have told us they are afraid of the reviews, or that having items online without reviews makes the website look quiet.
Brett Hurt had additional comments about these fears: "... the truth is, negative reviews increase conversion rates for all kinds of businesses, because people see them and know they're shopping in a truthful environment."
If you happen to fall into this fear category you just have to remind yourself that everything starts small. You could also make an announcement to your customers that "We have online reviews on our website now. Please hop online and leave your reviews for us." You could also put an announcement on your home page.
However, since we are in the Holiday Run-Up, we want to give you some specific strategies.
First: Ask your existing customers to post reviews. A simple letter or post card could do it.
Second: Go to the Facebook Business Page of a few of the popular brands you carry. Look for comments from happy people there and copy them into the review system on your own site. You should provide a link back to the original Facebook post.
Third: Ad some reviews in there yourself. Yes, this goes against the idea that the reviews on your site should be real, but just like a bartender will put a dollar bill in his glass tip jar at the beginning of his shift, your seeded reviews will show people it's okay to post a review on your site. We actually want you to do this. Pick a few popular items from your catalog and write a simple review. Use words like "best" and "gift for mom" or "gift for dad." You could also say things like "I bought this for mom on Mother's Day and she was so happy."
This third strategy is the fastest to prep your jewelry website for the Holiday 2011 season. If you look closely, we're recommending you show the ownership experience and a record of a past event. Mother's Day is in the past and people will respond to that. Do not use seed reviews that say "this is a good idea for mom for Christmas 2011" because that would look bogus.
This is another large project that needs to get done ASAP. If nothing else, you should sow reviews for the items you will be advertising during the Holidays.