How to Turn Reviews Into Marketing Content

  •    Content strategist for TrustedSite, which provides marketing and security solutions for online businesses.

Almost all business owners know that reviews are really, really valuable. While you might not be familiar with pro marketer lingo like social proof, you probably know why that is: potential customers look to past customers to make sure they're getting something good.

And that's just what reviews do.

If you really want to dig into it, surveys consistently show the benefit of reviews. One found that 85% of people will only buy from a store after they read reviews. Another found that 88% of people trust those reviews as much as personal recommendations.

And of course, the one that truly matters — sales. A study by BazaarVoice found that the presence of reviews increased sales by 12.5%.

So you know reviews are import. But what if you're doing them wrong?

Reviews should be everywhere

If you're only using them on your homepage and product pages, you're not taking full advantage of their potential.

Reviews can and should be a wildly important part of your marketing campaigns. In this post, we're going to explore three ways you can use reviews to get even more business.

Insert a review into a product marketing email campaign

Man looking at phone

Let's say you have overstock inventory you want to burn off with a sale. You're probably going to create some kind of email campaign to let customers know what's on offer, right?

But when we say "insert a review into a product marketing email campaign," we don't just mean taking a screenshot of a review and throwing it into an email announcing the campaign. We're talking about building a full email around reviews to supplement the campaign.

With that in mind, let's break down the steps you need to take to make this happen:

  1. Decide which product you're going to build a campaign around. This is the first step, obviously. You can't market what isn't there.

  2. Choose which reviews you're going to use. Go take a look at the products' past reviews and select the best ones. By this we don't just mean the highest rated (although they should really all be five-stars). You're looking for reviews with personality, reviews that give people a real sense of the product. This is going to be the bulk of this email, so take your time with this!

  3. Add product photos. Whatever you're selling, be sure to get high quality product photos in there so potential customers can see what the reviews are talking about.

  4. Get people interested with a great subject line. The point of this email is to let customers know that other people loved your product, and you think they will too. That should be the gist of your subject line, too. Think of something like, People are loving this ultra soft blanket or What people are saying about our newest product. Or consider just pulling an attention-getting quote from a review like "Best. Pillow. Ever!!"

  5. Write your copy. This part should be easy. You just want to introduce the product and let customers know that other customers have loved it. The reviews and photos should do the rest!

Reviews make great ads.

Online ads are yet another way to utilize reviews and turn them into sales. As ad targeting grows more and more specific, it's never been easier to reach exactly who you want to reach with a digital ad.

But once you've reached them, what do you want to say?

Here are the steps needed to build out ads with your reviews:

  1. Choose the right review. Most online ads fall into two categories: prospecting and retargeting. If you're prospecting (i.e. trying to reach people who aren't familiar with your brand or product), you want to make sure the ad lets people know what makes your brand and product special. Take a look at how this coffee drink-mix company uses a testimonial:

Promotional Email
From Adcracker

The review identifies the brand (Big Train), identifies what the product does (drink mixes), and sells you on it ("make me look good").

And while this ad is a print ad, the principle is the same. If you're prospecting, you want your review to hit those three key points: brand, what, why.

If you're retargeting (i.e. advertising to people who have already been to your store), the review can focus the product alone, like this one:

Facebook Ad Text

This retargeting ad (on Facebook) assumes you're familiar with the brand, as you've been on the product page before. The ad wants you to jog your memory about a product you've seen before, as well as provide encouraging words from customers.

If you're retargeting, the review you choose doesn't necessarily need to say what your product is. You can get away with something along with lines of "The best value for my money", and assume your audience will know what product you're talking about.

  1. Create your image. Choose a high quality profile of the product you're selling, and make sure the text is clearly visible in the photo. After all, the review is the biggest selling point of the ad.

  2. Credit the reviewer. You want to make sure that the person who wrote the review is named in the advertisement. First name only will suffice, but if you have any details that people may relate to such as age or location, it's okay to put them in. Whatever you do, don't give out first and last names, and don't include any contact information in the ad!

  3. Include your branding (if necessary). If you're prospecting with your ads, it's a good idea to include branding, such as logos and wordmarks, in the ad. This will familiarize customers with you and your products. If you're retargeting, especially from specific product pages, it's not always necessary. Your customers are smart enough to recognize, for example, that the flip-flop advertisement being served up to them is from the online store they visited two days ago.

Get social.

Social media, especially Instagram, is another great place to highlight your reviews. We're highlighting Instagram because it has a higher engagement rate than Twitter or Facebook, but these principles apply wherever you're posting.

  1. Go with an authentic voice. When choosing a review to highlight, you're going to want to find something unique and fresh — something to cut through all the noise of social media. That's what you want the review to be eye-catching, with real personality behind it.

Take a look at this blog post from Casper, a direct-to-consumer mattress company:

Casper blog text
From Casper

They've collected their best reviews, and most of them would make great Instagram posts. That's the type of tone and voice you're looking for!

  1. Choose an aspirational image. Instagram is all about great looking photos that inspire people to live the life depicted in those photos. Outdoor clothing company Patagonia's Instagram page doesn't focus on products as much as it does people in jaw-dropping natural landscapes:

Patagonia Instagram page

They're not selling you a puffy jacket; they're selling you an adventure in the wilderness. So whether you're selling bed linens or coffee cups, you're also selling something more — and that should be reflected in the photo.

  1. Decide if the review goes on the image or in the text box. Unlike ads, where you have to include all your text in the image, Instagram gives you some options. But do you want to highlight the review by making it front and center of the image, or let the image speak for itself? As a rule of thumb, let the images draw in potential customers, and then let your review be the clever/funny caption that seals the deal and makes them click. But if you find a truly amazing review (like the Casper ones above), go ahead and make it its own post.

Wrapping up

As you can see, reviews can do work for you all across your sales funnel. That's why they're so important to collect early and often. It's also worth considering keeping a spreadsheet with links to your best reviews, in case you want to use them for marketing purposes later.