As you read this, your happiest (and least happy) customers are out there, sharing their experiences with your business on social channels.
Don’t be reactive, constantly searching for feedback online and trying to handle it. Be proactive and implement a review collecting strategy, so you can corral your business advocates, boost your business’ reputation, and grow your sales.
Once you learn how to monitor your customers online, and engage your advocates, the rest is simple.
“63% of people wish brands treated them like a friend rather than a consumer. The remaining 37% would probably prefer that brands treat them like a human being rather than a click or conversion,” Sara Axelrod, COO of Local Measure, once said.
Make your customers feel like friends, or at least like human beings, after watching our webinar, “How to Channel Customer Feedback to Drive Conversion.”
We all realize Q4 and the holidays are right around the corner, so it's vital to ensure that your digital media plan is optimized for increased visibility to convert all the holiday shoppers during the most competitive time of the year. So in this webinar, Trustpilot's Optimizing the Path to Conversion, Leveraging Social Proof to Increase Sales, we will be discussing the impact of user generated content, reviews, testimonials, influencers, and so on, on today's customers.
Are you currently collecting any forms of social proof?
What is social proof? How does it work? What are the different types, what is user-generated content, and how does that play into what Trustpilot collects for their customers and for the community in general? We'll go over a number of influencer opinions, how we can help support that with badges, awards, and seals. And then we could talk about live or dynamic data to increase FOMO, obviously.
So a little bit about Trustpilot. We help people buy with confidence. And it's not just about buying, it's also about just making any type of transaction online, obviously. We work with a wide range of customers and we help them harness the power of reviews and provide that third-party feedback and validation for a number of different companies in a number of different verticals. Our big mission is to build trust and transparency by providing that feedback to our customers and that's something that we're really good at doing.
We have over 100 million online reviews globally. We're getting about 1 million new reviews every month and there's currently over 300,000 brands reviewed on Trustpilot currently. So we're quite the presence out there online and we're working towards expanding that right now throughout the globe.
So the holiday season's coming up. I think the first thing you think about when you're thinking about online reviews obviously is, how's this going to affect retail? What's this doing with retail? 40% of retailers experience a 48% average revenue growth during this season. So holiday sales last year increased by 3.8% compared to the previous year. It's only going up online, obviously, as people are migrating to different places to make purchases and make decisions online. So having social proof is incredibly important and having that trust and transparency when you're making a purchase decision is paramount.
So what is social proof? How do we define that? Anything that can influence the actions and attitudes of those around them and have your own behavior, right? So it's a perfect way for marketers to utilize FOMO and build out credibility. When they're trying to either sell something, promote something, or get any type of conversion on a website.
So, why does social proof work? Obviously, this is a concept I think that's been around for a long time. 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. I used to work in email marketing and one of the biggest things we had was the Refer A Friend link when I first started out. And that was simply because getting someone's recommendation over what a marketer's telling you has that power. That's a very strong power. And someone's going out of their way to recommend something, it really helps. So, 92% of people would trust a recommendation from a peer and 70% of people would trust a recommendation from someone they don't even know, simply because there's this concept of, everyone's maybe all in it together or working with each other to make great decisions out there. And if you really care about a product or you really care about an experience that you had, that you're going to want to make sure that other people know about it.
So word of mouth marketing generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. And the stats are here for that in terms of the number of consumers relying on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. So whether it be on any forms of social networks or on your website itself, having that third-party validation from someone else is incredibly important. And you could look at the ad that we have here for Barbasol from a long time ago, it's including quotes and reviews from other people.
So, just to reiterate, there's many different types of social proof. Obviously any type of user-generated content, a share, a post, an image, a review, case studies and testimonials, influencers talking about products in any way, shape, or form, having sorts of badges and awards, or even having some type of live user data to talk about it. These are all ways that we start influencing purchasing and conversion points across the internet. So that's what social proof is. It sounds like the majority of the audience actually knows what that is so we could continue on forward with that.
So user-generated content is really great in the B2C space. An example of this is Lululemon, obviously 2 million followers on Instagram, there's more sales, a better brand customer relationship. You're looking at this post here and it's a picture of someone, you can see them actually wearing the clothes and getting a sense of what they're doing and how they're working and how things fit. And you have tons of comments on this. So having the ability to see this post and have the additional information about it is super helpful when customers are looking to make a purchase decision.
The other thing to think about here is, this can work in any type of retail environment, whether it's clothes or furniture. Increasing your social media following, it's a great word of mouth strategy and it's got more traffic from social and more sales. So if you show a piece of furniture in its natural environment, it might be more meaningful than say, just looking at it in a catalog because you have a point of reference in how it interacts with the other products.
Reviews boost customer confidence
So the other thing that I think about here and why I'm talking right now, obviously is reviews and ratings boost customer confidence. So, 92% of consumers now read online reviews. So, it's just the natural part of the purchasing experience right now when you're doing anything online right now. You want to know that other people have gone through this before, and that you can trust what you're doing is actually going to... You can trust the company that you're making a transaction with to actually fulfill on their end of the bargain. So 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, because someone is going out of their way to leave a review on a company. They want other people to know that their experience was either positive or negative or could have been a little bit better, somewhere in between.
Customers are likely to spend 30% more on a business with excellent reviews. So if you're collecting feedback from your customers about their purchasing experience or about the products, that could add a true amount of value for new potential customers. And 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading one to three of the reviews. So, yeah, it's great if you have 10,000 reviews, but if you do have fresh content in there, that can help you in so many different ways that it'll only benefit your company when additional customers have fresh content to read through.
So here's some examples of some other companies and the Staples example of how they worked on used reviews to their advantage. So it just proves that it's great for B2C and B2B in any situation, if you're making a purchasing decision as a company or as a consumer, this example, it improved a click-through rate on the email because it allowed people to actually see the reviews in here and understand what was going on. It could generate more sales from the web in general and from Google shopping. And it could offer more traffic and engagement from social media. So the thing to think about here is, we have a couple of different examples here of a Trustpilot widget on a website, in Google shopping, and on their Facebook page. So any way you can incorporate these ratings and reviews and this user-generated content across any of the channels that you're working on is something that could greatly benefit your business or your marketing experience in any way.
Here's some more examples of a couple of different other customers. Revel Systems put the review widget on their webpage. And when you click into it, next to a form, they noticed a 16% increase in overall conversions for that form. And the reason for that is a customer doesn't actually have to leave the website to go do research on the company. When you have a trusted third party collecting reviews on your behalf or displaying this third party social proof on your website, the customer can actually do everything within your site and within your ecosystem to ensure that they have the information they need to make an informed decision.
So this can increase the time on site. It can increase your overall conversions. Like it did with Revel and Vivint. And you could also place it in the sales conversion funnel as well. So you can see Vivint and ID Wholesaler, they put it near where their purchasing products were. So, the suggestion is here, the best practice is here, you want to put social proof anywhere where there needs to be a conversion point, whether it's to collect consumer data or to make a purchase of an actual product. And that's what these companies did here. And they saw very large increases in overall conversions and revenue on the whole.
So we have a number of other case studies and testimonials that speak to this. I don't want to say it's a phenomenon, I think it's something that's been going on for a while. And I think it's just clear towards what the experiences are on the internet. I mean, it used to be word of mouth and now it's still word of mouth, but it's just displaying it a different way. So case studies are huge and it shows other examples of what you can do when you're using social proof to your advantage. So it gives you the most in-depth type of social proof, it gives you examples, it gives you stats. It talks about what the scenario is and what worked and what didn't work. And it's great to use when you have a solid customer story.
So I would definitely suggest to anyone who's working with any type of customers with their business to use case studies and testimonials. Because again, if you could get a number of different verticals talking about what worked for them, you could try to repeat those processes. And by identifying a good customer advocate, you will not only benefit yourself, but you will also benefit that customer by providing them with whatever exposure you're able to give them as well.
Leveraging third-party validation
Influencer opinions are really great as well. Obviously I think this is something that we've seen with the influence of social media over the last few years. It really gives you experts who really know what they're talking about and what they've experienced. The example we have here is from National Geographic Travel. Obviously National Geographic is a bit more of an expert about travel than maybe your standard vacationer or adventure. But you can see this in fashion as well, where there's plenty of influencers now on Instagram, on Facebook, in other verticals and other social networks talking about different verticals and different things like that, like fashion or travel or anything like that. So this is definitely something you might want to consider as well, if you have an influencer you want to work with, and you want to provide suggestions about your product or service, I think that could definitely help you.
The other thing you could do is talk about badges, awards, and seals, seals of approval. Anything like that, to provide more proof and more evidence that you've been verified in any type of way. You'll see an increase in conversion, you'll build more trust, and you'll add more credibility and transparency to whatever experiences you're trying to portray. So you could see a couple examples here of Verisign trusted, or the Trustpilot widget, it's a highly recommended company because it's got an excellent five star rating. Anything that could help push the ball along and help keep customers informed and on your website is only going to add benefit to you.
The other thing you could talk about is, what we could talk about is just live or dynamic data to... I think this is really exciting for a lot of people, if they consider to see the example we have here is from TripAdvisor, right? And if they see live data using the wisdom of the crowd, the number of reviews and total and the very good rating, I think that's really exciting. And in addition to that, you create a sense of urgency. Time-sensitive deals, number of visitors viewing the product, buyers in the past 24 hours, that creates a sense of urgency on the customer side and I think that could be really exciting for a lot of people.
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