E-Mail Thursday – Customer Reviews



Consumers today place an increasing value on reviews from their peers when deciding on what they should purchase.

As you can see from this chart from Marketing Sherpa, over a 3rd of people surveyed “strongly prefer sites with reviews”. In retail industries, Bazaarvoice (a leading reviews company) has reported a 20-100% increase in its clients’ conversion rates through the use of customer reviews.

Incorporating this user-generated content into promotional emails is one key way in which you can bring the power of Web 2.0 into your email marketing program.

The goal of your email marketing message is to be relevant and persuasive – both of which are accomplished by leveraging customer reviews. But how do you get your customers to provide them?

One very simple and effective way to solicit customer reviews by sending a triggered email message. A triggered message is an email that is triggered by an event that you define. Usually you set the trigger criteria to send a message a certain number of days after someone has made their purchase. Allow enough time for your product to be delivered and used by your customer before you have the triggered email sent. The timeliness of your triggered message is often enough of a motivation for people to provide their review.

Let’s say that you want to get a bunch of reviews right away. You can send an email message to all of your past customers – assuming that they have opted in to your email marketing program of course – and ask them to submit a review. It’s a common practice to offer some sort of incentive so that you get a good response. The incentives I’ve seen run the gamut of a discount toward their next purchase, to being able to qualify for a “pwer reviewer”, to a sweepstakes. Deciding whether or not to provide an incentive ultimately depends on how many reviews you are looking to gather.

Now that you have a bunch of customer and product reviews, how do you best use them in your email marketing program?

The simplest way is to include customer testimonials – whether it’s about your website or a specific product – within your email message. Always be sure to include a name and location to lend credibility to the review.

Another way is to include links within your email message to a customer review page on your website. The more positive reviews they see, the more compelling those reviews become.

One clever use of consumer reviews is to generate a “customer favorites” email message. As you can see from this example from Nike, they used this customer feedback – in the form of reviews rather than sales data – to create a “bestsellers” list. They then incorporated these reviews to further promote the products featured.

The bottom line is that you can get creative with these reviews. Think of them as a goldmine to help boost your email conversion rates.