Why do you need online reviews?
Online reviews are a staple of our lives now. Why should you care about the reviews that your company or products are getting online? Here’s what we have found!
The Social Proof Phenomenon
What do online reviews have to do with “social proof?” “Social Proof” is the phenomenon based on the fact that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if we know that other people already have. Our peers provide the proof of somethings value.
“Social proof” is part of the transparency that builds brand trust. Most consumers (almost 88%) research a business before buying from them. A lot of that research comes from reviews and reading what other people have said about their experiences.
What else can Reviews Do for you?
Reviews can help educate consumers on your products and services. Reviewers usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. It can be an easier way for potential customers to learn more about what you offer.
Reviews Boost SEO. Specifically, Google Reviews. Google indexes reviews connected to your listing to help filter results. Especially for local traffic. “Best __ Near Me” is decided by reviews and stars. Customers will often use your keywords in reviews without even realizing it. This helps Google learn about you.
What can you do to collect reviews?
People are inclined to leave reviews if they a specifically positive or negative experience. Therefore, work hard to provide an overwhelmingly positive expertise for your customers! (You should be doing this anyway; the review is just a byproduct. 😉 )
People like to do things for other people so a great way to collect reviews is to just ask for them! A follow up survey email after they buy from you is an easy way to this. Ask them specific, easy to answer questions about things such as: service response times, shipping times, product or service quality etc.
Make it easy to review you. No one has time to take 10 minuets following a complicated review survey with long required written answers. People are doing you a favor by reviewing you, show that you apricate it by being respectful of their time and effort. Take out pain points of the review process: go through and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary steps or questions. Double check the user interface, id it easy to figure out?
Incentivizing your reviews (specifically ecommerce) is a big no-no! As temping as it is to show your appreciation for the review with a coupon or free shipping, or something: don’t. Both Google and Yelp have policies in place banning incentivized reviews. They will take the reviews down and give you a slap on the wrist.
What to do with reviews once you have them
You have the reviews – now what? Here’s 2 ways to leverage them!
- Show them off
Let your reviews sell your product for you. Happy previous customers can be a great way to convince your potentials to buy from you! Show off your reviews on your home page with Google review widget or prominently feature some reviews as part of the design. Don’t forget to ask for permission first if you are going to highlight a specific review, especially if you are going to use their picture.
- Engage with reviewers
let them know you appreciate them! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, simply liking the review or just saying thanks goes a long way. That little bit of effort can turn a happy customer into a loyal one. And a lot of marketing automation software makes replying to reviews across multiple platforms easy.
Do you have a favorite customer review?
While we are on the subject… leave us a review! 😜
Let’s Talk First Party Data
We talk about First Party Data a lot. What it is?
First party data is data that your company has collected directly from your audience which is made up of customers, site visitors, and social media followers. “First party” refers to the party that collected the data firsthand.
First Party Data is collected from the people you have the most to learn from: your current customers! That makes the data as reliable as possible.
How can you collect first party data?
You can attain first party data from your CRM, surveys and subscription-based emails or products. This is also where Google and Social Media Analytics are important.
Google Analytics has a massive list of capabilities and ways to track website data. Using tracking code, Analytics collects information about the way the website was used.
- Time of visit
- Pages viewed
- The time spent on each page
- What browser and OS are being used
- Referring site details
- Network location and IP address.
This information can help you see where (and how) traffic is following to and through your website. Google Analytics also has a lot of other tools such as URL Builder that make it easier to track customer data.
Social media analytics are helpful for flushing out the demographics are your most engaged customers. What can you learn about customer from social media? Here’s are some things you can learn:
- What platforms your customers prefer to engage on
- What content do your customers enjoy most
- What type of campaign or advertising works for them?
- Do they have any other hobbies or interests?
- More specific customer demographics, such as age or gender
It’s also super important to connect as many touch points to your customers as possible. The more ways you have to interact with the customer the more likely they are to become a repeat loyal customer. Think about the companies you follow on social media. Have you bought from them? More than once? Are you loyal to them? Do you agree with their mission and goals? Following companies on social media feels like a personal one-on-one connection and generates loyalty.
Organization is Key
The next step of having/using first party data is organization. Having important information about your customers and leads doesn’t do much good if you can’t find it or if it’s connected properly. No matter what size your business is, having a CRM is key. The days of using a Rolodex are long gone. Now there a lot more channels of data to connect to a contact.
For example, in our CRM we keep track of more than just name, company, phone, and email. Our CRM keeps track of what social media we are connected on and any times the contact has engaged with us. We have it set up so that the CRM assigns a number value to actions a contact or lead can take, such as opening emails, clicking links, liking a post, and any orders.
How does all that information benefit us?
There are many ways! For one, we can use the information we have to target or retarget contacts, leads, and prospects. We can try different channels and types of touches until we find which one they respond best to. Having more than one channel connected to each contact makes multichannel campaigns possible.
The other advantage to First Party Data is that you can collect data and analytics about your customers from the channels you are using to constantly to learn more about your demographics and your customer’s buying habits. The more channels you use the easier it will be to learn about your customer. Then the more customers you have the more information you can learn about your potential target audience. You can use a Look-A-Like to build a list of potentials you can target based on information on your current customers.
What ways do use First Party Data?
Here’s how First Party Data might the key to the future cookie-less world.
The End Of The Cookie: Part 2
What is going to fill the void left by third party cookies? We know for sure that our reliance on data isn’t going to change. It’s the foundation of marketing. we are always going to need to know who our audience is.
Three third party cookie alternatives.
- Use browsers history only to influence impressions. This is a very simple option that wil be easy to implement because things like google analytics pretty much already do this. But because its browser specific it could make OmniChannel marketing a challenge.
- First party identity information. This solution creates a unique ID for your web use. This option is popular with a lot of people in the commercial industry because even though your data pool will go down, using unique ids will give a higher match rate. Meaning if one of these matched personal ids show up in your system, you’ll know for sure that they are a solid prospect.
- Aggregated consumer data. This is somewhat of a catch all option, using consumer data from multiple sources to cross refence and match information. One advantages of this option is that marketers we be able to learn more about their consumers. Although you will know more about them as people, it’s unlikely that you will be able to actually know who they are.
So, what now? Now is the time to figure out as much as you can about your audience. It will be more of a challenge to find out who your customer base is without third party cookies. Focus on diversify into omnichannel marketing to get a clearer picture of your audience. It is also a good time to plan out a marketing strategy. Figure out what companies you are going to need relationships with going forward.
What alternatives to you think are going to fill the void left by third party cookies?
The End of the Cookie: Part 1
In January google announced that they are going to phase out third party cookies in the next two years. This created quite a buzz but what does it actually mean and what should you do?
Cookies were one of this first major web advertising break throughs, invented in 1994 for Netscape. Using cookies have become integral to most companies online marketing strategies. How do cookies work? There are two types of cookies. First and third-party cookies. Cookies work by creating a bread crumb (or cookie crumb) trail of your activity through a web page. First party cookies only have access to your activity on their website. Third party cookies are not tied to one website and instead track peoples trail through the internet. Marketer use both to figure out their audience and retarget them.
Seeing accept cookie notifications are commonplace. Why? Recent legislation has changed some internet privacy laws that accept cookies. Which is one reason that google is phasing them out. Safari and Firefox already have. Google Chrome however makes up more than 56% of web traffic. Google makes most of its revenue from advertisers. Online advertising was a 57.9-billion-dollar industry in the first half of 2019 and that number is expected to grow exponentially. Google has to be careful not to disrupt that industry to much while adapting to greater privacy demands.
There is not a concrete answer to what is going to fill the cookie void yet. Check out part two of this article to see some of the possibilities for a post cookie world.