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How to Increase Your Conversions Rates with Customer Reviews

July 17th, 2009 | | Conversion Optimization


This is it, the  final installment of our SEO blog series on building the trustworthiness and credibility of your website in order to increase your conversion rate.

Our post for today is written by our guest blogger, Ted Paff. He will discuss how to use customer reviews to increase the credibility of your website and enhance your conversion rate. Or rather, he is going to give you three hard truths about your website.

Ted Paff is the President of Customer Lobby, the leading provider of customer reviews solutions to non-retail industries.

Over the last 5 years, a lot has been written about the impact of customer reviews on conversion rates.  In retail industries, Bazaarvoice has reported a 20-100% increase in its clients’ conversion rates.  In non-retail industries, Customer Lobby has found a 15-50% increase in conversion rates.

Here are three painful truths about your website… and how customer reviews can help solve these problems:

1. No one reads your website.

I know it hurts but it’s true.  The web has taught us to: browse/scan/click/repeat.   We look for headlines and graphics that give us the gist of what is going on.

But, people do read your customer reviews – especially when you link to those reviews from your home page.  In fact, website visitors typically spend 3-times longer reading customer reviews than a website description of a product or service.  That means your customers’ comments are your best hope of getting your marketing message read.

2. I trust your customers more than I trust you.

Your website visitors read your site assuming that you are trying to sell them something.  But they read your customer reviews like a report card.  There is a fundamentally different level of trust when comments come from a third party.  That trust translates into higher conversion rates.  Surprisingly, having some negative reviews and responding to them will actually further increase your conversion rates.

3. Your marketing material sounds like your competitor’s marketing material.

Try this: Ask someone who is not in your industry to read your website and 3 of your competitors’ websites.  Ask them how they would choose which company to do business with. You will quickly discover how hard it is to differentiate your business in a way that is simple enough for people outside of your industry to understand.   By differentiating your business in a way that a customer can understand, reviews help potential customers choose you and not one of your competitors.

Customer reviews digitize the goodwill you create with your customers everyday and turn it into a marketing asset that drives conversion rates.

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  • Fredrik Engdahl

    Hey Joe, thanks for an interesting read and I do agree with your hard but true statement; “No one read your website”… In your post you mention customer reviews several times, but you don’t mention reviews from editorial sources like PCworld etc. What are you thought about integrating a service like the one testseek is offering for free:  http://www.testseek.com/add_reviews.html

    I do work at testseek so my thoughts are of course biased but it would be interesting to hear your views.

    Fredrik Engdahl