July 31, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
Your products are flying off the digital shelf. Five-star ratings and positive reviews are flowing onto your product detail pages (PDPs) faster than you can even read them.
That’s great. Research shows that shoppers rely heavily on Customer-Generated Content (CGC) during their path to purchase. And displaying all of that material on your product pages gives your customers a ton of product information, along with solid word-of-mouth marketing from a highly trusted source—other shoppers.
But are you taking full advantage of the persuasive power that customer reviews and testimonials offer?
Your shoppers are handing you some ad copy that might be better than anything an agency could ever pump out. Make it count.
Here are four ways you can use Customer-Generated Content outside of your product pages:
1. Digital Ads
You probably only have a handful of seconds to attract the attention of an internet user with a digital display ad. One way to counter that problem is by boiling your Customer-Generated Content down to its essentials.
An average star rating paired with a review count for your product can convey a ton of easily digested information at a glance. A good model for this approach is the Google Product Listing Ad (PLA), a search ad format that shows searchers a product image, a price, and a short description.
In the example above, a Google search for “Carhartt medium pants” returns a list of Product Listing Ads that feature average star ratings and review counts.
Brands and retailers should make sure average star ratings and review counts (the number of reviews a product has collected) are being automatically shared with Google for inclusion in their PLAs.
For digital display ad formats with more real estate, online sellers should consider including a quote pulled from a positive review. But be a judicious editor; slapping a wall of text into your ad is an easy way to lose the attention of online browsers.
2. Email Marketing
Customer testimonials can work really well as part of an email marketing strategy, especially in abandoned cart emails.
Every eCommerce site understands that sometimes browsers need a little nudge to become buyers, and abandoned cart emails are a useful way to re-engage with shoppers.
Direct to consumer (DTC) bedding brand Brooklinen is a great example of an eCommerce company that uses an engaging abandoned cart email technique that features customer testimonials at its core.
Brooklinen sandwiches its customer testimonials between two calls-to-action (CTAs), both of which take the shopper back to their abandoned cart.
Brooklinen doesn’t bother trying to match the product reviews featured in the email with the SKUs of items in the shopper’s cart. Instead it uses more general reviews to convey a sense of customer satisfaction and draws on humor to engage readers.
The reviews are smartly intended to match Brooklinen’s brand and overall tone in the hopes they’ll provide the nudge needed to get shoppers to convert.
Footwear brand Adidas takes a slightly different approach with its emails by including more targeted content. In the example below, the company draws on the email recipient’s browsing history to showcase a product they recently viewed.
Adidas also includes a quote pulled from a customer review, along with a star rating—but it uses content specific to the product. It also pairs that material with customer-generated photos, a technique that probably works best in the footwear and apparel verticals
3. Social Media
Social media can help improve customer engagement and drive clicks to your website when paired with a customer testimonial.
Makeup company Morphe is a great example of an eCommerce site leveraging the power of social media. It actually draws images from its shoppers’ Instagram posts, then pairs the customer-generated photos with a star rating and short review.
This way shoppers can see a real-world application of Morphe’s makeup, right next to a bit of social proof. The customer testimonial is also buy button-adjacent to make the path to purchase as frictionless as possible.
Morphe’s approach is a good reminder that, while traditional staged product photos are still a necessary element of any product detail page, augmenting them with customer-submitted images can add a splash of dazzle. They can also help shoppers get a better sense of product attributes like size, color, and even styling.
In a world where digital increasingly dominates, it’s easy to overlook old-school media. But there’s some strong evidence that catalogs can be an effective component of your marketing mix.
Just last year Amazon rolled out a printed holiday toy catalog that it mailed to millions of its customers. Amazon is very likely drawing on its troves of customer data to integrate its catalogs with its digital marketing strategy.
But even if you don’t have access to the type of customer data that Amazon does, you can still use Customer-Generated Content to support your direct mail efforts.
For example, woodworking and hardware retailer Rockler mines its Ratings & Reviews to power its “Customer Favorites Sale,” a promotion that features inventory with high star ratings and stellar reviews.
These ratings and reviews are featured as customer testimonials in the print catalog promoting the sale. Product listings are often accompanied by a pull quote from a review, along with a star rating.
Rockler’s customer testimonials are carefully chosen. They go beyond the generic endorsement of an item, instead highlighting a product’s ease of use or some aspect of its functionality. It’s a good lesson to learn for retailers looking to maximize the impact of their customer testimonials.
How TurnTo Can Help
TurnTo’s platform collects more high-quality Customer-Generated Content than any other solution in the market. This shopper-supplied material can aid your digital word-of-mouth marketing strategy, but can also be repurposed in places aside from your product detail pages.
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